A Simple Approach to Living With Less

A Bathroom a Minimalist Can Love

Today’s target is the bathroom. It’s amazing how much clutter can hide in even the smallest of bathrooms. My husband and I are currently sharing a bathroom with our three kids and my grandmother. The mess can really pile up when that many people are sharing the same space.

We’ve already covered how to cut down on crowded linen closets and medicine cabinets. If you really want a bathroom you can love, we need to tackle the rest of the mess clogging up the cabinets and drawers in your bathroom.

Know your trouble areas. Start by identifying the areas that you typically do your best to ignore. Is it the cabinet under your sink where you can’t fit one more bottle of lotion? Or is it the junk drawer that’s collecting everything from old nail polish to dozens of bottles of travel shampoo? My advice is to start with the toughest spot first. It will feel great to jump this hurdle and give you the motivation to finish the rest of the bathroom.

Prioritize first. Start by pulling out the things you actually use on a regular basis. Make sure they are in the most easily accessible areas. It will definitely make it easier to get ready in the morning. Be honest about what you don’t use. Don’t over think it. Just toss what you don’t use and move on.

Keep any extra stocked items together. If you like to keep extra toothbrushes, bars of soap, or bottles of shampoo on hand keep them in the same area. That way you can go right to that spot to find what you need and so can the other people that might be sharing the bathroom with you.

Consolidate duplicate items. Try to avoid the crowding of extra items by combining them. It won’t hurt to combine two half empty bottles of conditioner together. I found eight open bottles of sunscreen when I went through our bathroom. That’s just crazy!

Place small items in a contained area. It’s easy to lose small items like nail clippers, tweezers, and hair clips among all the other items floating around. Use a small drawer organizer near the front of a drawer to keep small things from sliding out of sight. You can also use a small plastic bin for a shelf or under the sink if you don’t have drawers.

Throw out anything you haven’t touched in six months. This goes for old nail polish that’s separated and disgusting and the bottle of perfume you got as a gift that’s covered in dust. Don’t hang onto things for that elusive “just in case I need it” day because it’s not coming. Plus, if you found your old hot rollers or crimping iron in the back of a cabinet, you can probably let those go now too.

You don’t need all those tiny bottles. Two of the biggest junk producers in a bathroom are travel items and free samples. Only keep a free sample if you’re going to use it right away. Otherwise, resist the urge and throw it out. If you use travel bottles of shampoo consider buying the travel size containers that you can refill with your regular shampoo. If you insist on keeping a few of these items keep them together and not for longer than six months.

Kids need their own spaces too. If you’re working in a bathroom that your kids also use, remember to make things convenient for them as well. Make sure they can access the extra toilet paper and give them a designated spot for their toothbrushes and hairbrush. They’ll appreciate knowing where things go and you’ll be less likely to need to tidy up after them.

Give everything a home. It will be a lot less frustrating trying to find what you need. It will also be easier to see what you need to go buy. It’s no fun to run out of toilet paper or shampoo because no one realized you were running low.

So, what goodies did you find? Other than lots of trash, I got rid of my old curling iron, over half of those bottles of sunscreen, and a super tiny sample bottle of some hair serum that I had moved to two different houses. I decided that I probably wasn’t gonna use it after all.

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Article originally published on 10/01/2010

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Comments

  1. Catherine says:

    This is really helpful – it’s true. All those containers of bath salts, body creams and scrubs that people lovingly gave me thinking I’d “one day” have the time to sit and soak are never going to see daylight. Thanks for the nudge.

  2. I’ve also found it helpful to have a container for each person (I think they were sold as CD boxes) on the counter, and all daily use stuff is kept there. Anything else is kept below the sink.

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