The bathroom is the centre of self care. It’s where most folks keep their medications, as well as lotions and potions to look and feel better. It’s also the smallest room in the house, and for that reason it can be the easiest to declutter. It also doesn’t attract the junk that other rooms can. Things like seasonal decorations, books, paperwork and gifts for “some day”. There are usually just “bathroomy” type things in there. So it’s a good place for beginner declutterers to get started.
Before we start on how to declutter the bathroom to create your ideal space, let’s talk a little about…
Prevention. One thing I see a lot of in my work as a professional organizer, is too many half-used or still-in-boxes products. Most makeup items have a short lifespan. After a while it becomes ineffective and may even carry bacteria. That’s true for sunscreen as well. Don’t be afraid to throw out old products, even if there’s still some in the tube. It’s safer in the long run. Consider buying a smaller one next time. Stick with one brand that works for you. Finish one item before starting another, and keep your stockpile low. There are always special offers available for when you truly need to restock.
The good old one-in-one-out rule will help with prevention every time. One of my clients was looking for the “perfect” tanning lotion. We found over 30 partly used tanning lotions in her bathroom cupboard. How many did she actually decide to keep? Just one of course, the “perfect” one she settled on. If she had tossed out one for every new one she’d brought in, that collection wouldn’t have gotten out of control.
Ok, so now let’s get busy.
Got 10 minutes? No problem, you can make a difference in just a short time. Quick, grab a rubbish bin or bag. Now open the top drawer in the bathroom. Sort through the contents, making quick decisions about what deserves to stay and what doesn’t. Not sure? Give it the sniff test. Before you put the “stayers” back in the drawer, give it a wipe, first with a dry cloth or paper towel to capture the stray hairs and dust, and then with a wet cloth to create a clean space that makes you smile. You may even like to remove the drawer and tip it upside down to be thorough.
Next time you have just 10 minutes to declutter and organize, you can go through the same process for another drawer or shelf in the bathroom. Even 10 minutes is enough time to make a difference in your home.
Got an hour? Fabulous! Get comfortable and have your supplies nearby. Turn on the radio or listen to a podcast to keep you company. Now simply repeat the instructions above for all the contents of all the drawers and cupboards.
It can be tempting to leave the room to put things away, but please resist that temptation. Leaving the room will just distract you, and send you off in different directions. That’s why I wanted you to get comfortable. To avoid those distractions, keep a notepad and pen handy to jot down any thoughts or to do tasks for handling later.
Got all day? Even better. Start slowly with a cup of tea and a notepad. Jot down your thoughts and dreams about your ideal bathroom space. For now, don’t dwell on whether it’s possible, whether you have the funds for a renovation, how to make it happen, and so on. Just dream a little. Now go ahead and follow the instructions above. Remember to rest a little along the way. You have all day and I don’t want you flagging before the end.
Ok, now your drawers and cupboards are cleared out and only what belongs in them is staying. Are like items grouped together yet? If not, do that next. Group all your makeup together. Your soaps-in-waiting. Your shaving items, etc. Could they do with a basket or plastic tub to keep them accessible, upright, and visible? Do you have something around the house that fits the bill? Notice that I am not sending you shopping? In my experience, there is usually a basket, plastic container or even a shoe box that will do for now. In a week or two you can evaluate how those containers are working for you. But there’s no point spending money on something that a) you already have in the house and b) may not be the right solution after all.
Now go back to your list or doodlings about your dream bathroom. Some of your dreams may have already come true. Just by creating space, by creating a clean haven, or by being able to find what you need when you need it, a lot of the feelings you were looking for may now be there. But maybe there’s a little more work to do. What still needs to happen to make it feel ideal? Make a list of all the things that need attention – the leaky tap, the spot of mould, the tired bath towels, the furry toothbrushes. What can you do, or delegate to be done, to make those changes happen?
Finally, leave 30 minutes at the end of your bathroom decluttering adventure for a long soak in the tub, complete with whatever makes you feel special – a lighted candle, a glass of bubbles or cup of tea, a trashy magazine or inspiring novel, some light music or just golden silence. And enjoy!