Beauty, Craft, Productivity

Can you project pan your life?

I’ve spent so long trying to write this post.

Recently I’ve had this overwhelming feeling of having so much ‘stuff’. Whether it be beauty products, crafting supplies or even just clothes. I’ve lived in my current home for almost seven years now and it definitely makes you complacent to accumulating things. Prior to that I’d probably moved once every 18 months at least (yay uni) and when you move often you don’t have the chance to build up loads of things before you need to start packing again.

While having the stability is obviously awesome, I don’t like how it’s allowed me to just keep adding to my possessions. In recent months I’ve therefore been a lot more measured in my purchases and really asking myself if I’ve needed it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been treating myself to some impulse purchases, but I’ve definitely stopped myself from buying a hell of a lot more than I used to.

Buying less is just solving one part of the problem, what about all the things you already own?

I don’t like the idea of just getting rid of stuff. Particularly if it means going in the bin. I also don’t want to donate things to charity to placate my conscience when really it should have gone in the trash/recycled. I know Marie Kondo is having a moment (or was in 2018) but suddenly getting rid of half my belongings does the opposite to sparking joy.

This is where project panning comes in.

It’s something that I came across on Reddit initially. One of the subreddits I follow is Makeup Rehab, where beauty addicts congregate and help each other not buy the latest releases or whatever it is they’re dying to buy that week.

Because I read that subreddit, Reddit started pushing Pan Porn onto me. That is basically a page of people celebrating using up their beauty products. There I found the notions of ‘project panning’ – making a concerted effort to actually make your way through your stash and ‘hate panning’ – using up a product even though you really hate it.

So the seed was sowed in my mind. I didn’t want to just donate or bin things, as that felt incredibly wasteful.

Instead I started going through categories of belongings, with four possible outcomes for anything I didn’t want to keep.

  1. Selling
  2. Donating
  3. Binning
  4. Panning

I developed a little process of deciding how what stayed and what went

I heard lots of stories about the ridiculous amounts of things that people were able to get rid of after reading The Magic Art of Tidying Up.* And while that might be right for some people, I didn’t think I needed to be that extreme.

I just went through each category of possessions and decided what my opinion was of it.

  1. Was it still appropriate for me (did it fit, did it match my skin type or break me out?)
    1. No: went to bin, charity or sell pile depending on the product.
    2. Yes: next question…
  2. Did I still like it?
    1. No: pan (if I had a use for it), sell or donate
    2. Yes: keep
    3. Meh: keep and pan

Nothing went in the bin that was still of use. If it wasn’t suitable to sell or go to charity, it went into the pan pile as long as it passed question one.

Once I followed the above, I started on one of three courses of action with things I no longer wanted.


I tried to keep and use up as much as possible but there are some things that I knew I just wouldn’t ever get round to using. A perfect example of this would be planners in configurations that I won’t go back to (like Travellers Notebooks). Or, the many millions of washi tape that I’ve accumulated that I just won’t be able to get through.

This is what I generally did for my paper crafting and stationery supplies. I went through them and any I knew I wouldn’t use went into a pile to sell. Because I’m in quite a few planning groups I had lots of places I could sell them in.

Donating and binning

The donation pile was for furniture, DVDs and clothes. Absolutely no reason to bin those and would have been horrifically wasteful so they went in bags to the British Heart Foundation.

Binning was reserved for beauty products. Everything that I no longer needed or wanted was open and so wouldn’t have been good to pass onto anyone.


This is pretty simple. You have some things you own that you think would be wasteful to bin, or donate or not worth your time to sell. Instead, you actively try and use it up.

Lots of eyeshadows in your collection? Start wearing it daily. Tons of planner stickers? Go and add a few extra to your layouts or planning each week. Masses of washi? Make every bit of post you send look beautiful with lots of washi all over the envelope.

I never realised until I started this process how satisfying it is to use up something knowing that it’s just one less thing you have to store and you won’t be replacing it. 

Surely panning costs you more in the long run?

This depends on whether it is something you intend on replacing. The majority of the things I’ve been using up aren’t intended to be repurchased. For me it’s all about reducing the amount of belongings I have.

If you are using up products quicker than intended that you’ll need to replace though you may end up repurchasing sooner than you should have done. However, panning really shows you how long it truly takes to use something up. Having that clarity when debating a future purchase is SO valuable. I will never buy another blush until I can see 50% of the pan of the last one in my collection based on how long it’s taking me to work through powder products at the moment. That will probably be some time in 2023 (not even exaggerating).

Also, for some people there may be a space factor to take into account. I know I don’t have any more space in my apartment for things so anything I can do to reduce my possession count is awesome.

The less extreme Marie Kondo

This definitely isn’t a method to cut down your possessions immediately and if you’re moving to another country or a small flat in the next couple of months, maybe go out and buy Marie Kondo. However if, like me, you’ve just become aware of how much stuff you have then having a go at the above might just help.

And the first time you finish a product you’ve been really trying to? The feeling of accomplishment will be pretty damn awesome.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little ramble about panning. This is a different style of post for me so I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Would you like more posts like this?

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