Simplifying the Bathroom

Bathrooms hide so much clutter! Here's a great how-to for simplifying the bathroom cabinets and counter. Time to get rid of all those extra bottles and unused makeup!

This post is part of the Monday series on simplifying that inspired my book, Your Simple Home Handbook. The series began with 10 Reasons to Start Simplifying Now.

I want a pretty washroom. I don’t miss the shared, dorm-room bathrooms of my college years, with all the inventory of a Walgreens spilling out of the shower and strewn around the floors and counter.

Besides the shower, there are two zones in the bathroom that tend to collect the most clutter: the bathroom counter, and under the bathroom counter. First, let’s look at

Zone 1: The bathroom counter

I only want to keep two types of things on my bathroom counter: items that I use every single day, and items that are decorative.

My every day items are things like my hairbrush, contact solution, frequently-used lip balms, and my oil cleansing bottle. I keep most of these items in a basket by the sink.

Decorative items include sea shells, vases, jewelry boxes, and perfumes, which I’ve arranged on the counter to be practical and pretty.

Simplify your bathroom counter by first clearing everything off of it. Wipe the counter down. Now, only put back your most frequent flier items, or items that are both practical and pretty, like a fancy lotion bottle that you don’t want to hide away.

Oraganizing in the Bathroom -

Items that you don’t want to put back on the counter can be sorted and kept out of sight.

Now take a look at

Zone 2: Under the bathroom counter

Everyone’s under-the-counter situation may be a little different. Under my counter, I have a free-standing organizer drawer that contains (simplified) make up, hair accessories, extra contacts, sample-sized soaps and lotions, etc. In the bathroom cabinets I have extra shampoo and soap, travel accessory bags, and some oils and clay for making homemade beauty products.

I sorted these areas individually, but my process with both was the same. If you want to take a similar approach, here’s what you do:

Take everything out from under the counter or  in the cabinets. Sort everything into three categories.

1. Items you use frequently
Examples: make up, hair accessories, nail care

2. Items you will definitely use, but you’re storing temporarily
Examples: replacement bars of soap or shampoo, almond oil, cocoa butter, and other supplies for making homemade products

3. Items that need to be purged
Examples: care products to consolidate, old make up to throw away, unused lotions to donate

Wipe out the cabinet or drawer you’ve pulled things from, and put back everything in Category 1. Organize the items in clusters. Mess invites more mess, so keeping items corralled keeps them organized. Find a small box or dish to put hairbands or clips in; put extra bottles and soaps in a plastic basket. When your containers become crowded, you’ll know it’s time to simplify again.

Simplifying the Bathroom -

Take a hard look at the items from Category 2. If you’re going to use them, keep them, but don’t feel bad about purging them if you’re not. I haven’t used my hair straightener in years. That’s something to get rid of, even if it means I won’t own one now!

Put back Category 2 items by grouping them, lining them up, or corralling in baskets.

Purge Category 3. Try not to put anything back from this category. If there’s an almost-empty bottle of a product you know you can use, set it out in a prominent spot so you can remember to use it up in the next few days.

I was keeping a lot of things that I never used but thought that I should. Don’t keep anything out of guilt! If you don’t like the scent of a product or if you’re not a fan of the ingredients, get rid of it! Even if the bottle is almost full! Give it away or donate it if you can, or if it’s old, just throw it away.

As with any area of your home that you simplify, it can be difficult to part with items that you feel ought to hold value for you. But if you’re not using it and it’s cluttering your life–does it really have value?

[question]What’s the state of your bathroom counter right now–cluttered? or calm?[/question]

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Do you want lots more simple living ideas? Check out my brand new book! Your Simple Home Handbook is a 100+ page guide to decluttering your home and simplifying your stuff. Work through 30 different areas of your home–at your own pace–and enjoy the benefits of a space that breathesClick here to learn about my book!


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