Declutter Your Bathroom

Looking for tips on how to declutter your bathroom?  Look no further! 

Bathrooms are busy places.  They accommodate a variety of grooming tasks, often for multiple users.  Ample storage space is required to house all the associated grooming tools.   

Unfortunately, due to the compact nature of many bathrooms, storage space is often limited making it difficult to find a place for everything.  This is particularly true for bathrooms shared by two or more people.  The inevitable result is clutter. 

While much of the stuff that inhabits the bathroom is necessary, chances are there is much that is unwanted, unneeded, unused or simply out of place there as well.   The first step to declutter your bathroom is to determine which is which.

Getting Started

A good approach to declutter your bathroom is to clear it out and start from scratch, purging as you go.  Purging is essential; it frees up much needed space, making room for the really important stuff.

Before you start, gather your supplies so that the work can proceed uninterrupted.  You’ll want a container for items you intend to donate, a container for items that belong somewhere else, and a bin or bag for trash.  Label each container with a sticky note or marker (depending on the type of container) so you don’t get them mixed up. 

Now you’re ready to declutter your bathroom!

Sort Like Items

Remember that one of the tried and true principles of organization is to store like items together.  With this in mind, designate a surface for sorting items into categories as you remove them from the cupboards, drawers, baskets, and shelves. 

Possible categories for sorting bathroom paraphernalia include:

  • Cosmetics
  • Nail care items
  • Skin care items
  • Hair accessories
  • Shaving supplies

If you share a bathroom you may want to designate one drawer, shelf, basket, or cupboard for each user, depending on the space available.  In such cases, start by separating items according to their owner.  Then within each individual’s allotted space items can be sorted by type.

When to Share and When Not to Share

Some bathroom items are personal and should only be used by a single individual while others can be shared. 

Items which should not be shared (due to the risk of spreading infection) include cosmetics, hair brushes, and toothbrushes. 

Many other toiletries can be shared without cause for concern.  Keep this in mind as you declutter your bathroom.  Does every member of the family really need their own type of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, lotion, or facial cleanser?  In some cases the answer is yes, but in many cases the answer is no.  Save space and money by settling on a communal product that meets everyone’s needs whenever possible.

Guidelines for Purging

Apply the three key questions when determining what to keep, what to give away and what to throw away.  The three key questions are:

Do I like it?

Do I need it?

Do I use it?

If the answer to any one of these questions is no, consider parting with that item.  If the answer to more than one of these questions is no, send that item packing!    

As you declutter your bathroom, carefully assess which, if any, items do not belong in the bathroom.  Some items may obviously be out of place and already have a home elsewhere.  Place those items in the appropriate bin to be put away at the end of your decluttering session. 

Other items may currently reside in the bathroom but be better suited for storage elsewhere.  Consider the following when searching out candidates for relocation:

  • If you are in the habit of maintaining a surplus supply of various toiletries (toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc.), look for a logical place to store the extras outside the bathroom in order to free up space.  A linen closet or bedroom closet can work equally well, especially one that is located close to the bathroom.
  • While it may seem natural to store all health care related items in the bathroom, it’s best to only store those items which will be used exclusively in the bathroom (unless you are blessed with ample bathroom storage).  Things like humidifiers, foot baths, hot water bottles, heating pads, and first-aid supplies can be stored in a closet elsewhere to free up precious bathroom real estate. 
  • Items which are only used occasionally may also be stored outside the bathroom in order to free up space.  Examples might include hot rollers, hair clippers, or a wax warmer.
  • Despite its name, the medicine cabinet is not the best place to store medications which typically require cool, dry conditions.  Bathrooms, as you know, tend to be hot and humid for at least a portion of each day.  If possible, store your medications, to include vitamins and other dietary supplements, outside the bathroom.  Wherever you store them, be sure to keep them out of the reach of small children.
  • I once worked with a lady who kept all her linens (bed sheets, extra blankets and pillows, etc.) in her bathroom closet because she did not have a linen closet.  If you are without a linen closet, resist the urge to eat up bathroom storage with bedroom linens.  Store bed linens in individual bedrooms on closet shelves, in under bed containers, or in dresser drawers. 

Enough is Enough

There are so many great personal care products on the market today it can be tempting to try all of them in a search for the perfect one.  When it comes time to declutter your bathroom, however, you need to seriously evaluate what you use and what you don’t.  Let’s face it, no one really needs six different kinds of hand lotion, no matter how good they smell.  Separate out your favorites and place the others in either the ‘items to donate’ box or the trash.   If you really can’t bear to part with your stash, consider the following. 

  • Personal care products keep for a long time, but they do not last forever.  Eventually they start to break down and need to be disposed of.  Look for products that are discolored, separating, or have an unusual odor.  Discard these.
  • Choose one lotion, shampoo, conditioner, etc. to keep in the bathroom and place the extras on a closet shelf outside the bathroom.  When you use up the product in the bathroom choose a new one to take its place.
  • Make a list of how many of each type of product you have on hand.  Stick it to the inside of your medicine cabinet or bathroom cupboard as a reminder.  Make a pact with yourself that you will not buy more of a particular product until you are down to the last one.  Your wallet and your bathroom counter will thank you.
  • Consider giving extra lotions, bath oils, body wash, or nice smelling hand soaps as gifts to friends, neighbors, colleagues or your children’s teachers. 

Clean Up

A visibly clean space feels less cluttered.  As you declutter  your bathroom, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to deep clean closets, cupboards and drawers where bits of cotton, cosmetic dust, and stray hairs tend to collect.  Wipe each shelf and drawer out with a clean, damp cloth before returning the contents.  Do the same with any storage containers as well.  Empty the container, wash it out, and then return the contents.  

Don't forget to Declutter Your Medicine Cabinet while you're at it.

This is also a good time to clean hair and make-up brushes which collect all sorts of dust and debris over time.  For more on this topic, click on the following links:

Declutter Hair Accessories

Declutter Your Makeup

The effort you put forth to declutter your bathroom will yield gratifying results.  Your bathroom will look cleaner, your daily routines will be smoother, and you'll enjoy a sense of accomplishment every time you step into your clutter free space.   Congratulations!  I'm proud of the work you did.  Now that you've cleared away the clutter, you’re ready to Organize Your Bathroom!  

Click here for tips on Bathroom Storage.

Click here to view my DIY Bathroom Wall Storage solution.

If you would like help tackling your bathroom organization project,

click the link below.

Click here to return to Step-by-Step Declutter.

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