Bathroom mess stressing you out? Then follow these easy tips on how to declutter your bathroom.
You walk into the bathroom and see three near-empty shampoo bottles in the shower, several slivers of soap, and enough body washes for each member of your family… times two.
And even though you can see the trio of glittery eyeshadow and some caked-up mascara that first saw daylight in the 80s, you still can’t find your eyeliner.
You know you need to do something, but you have no idea how to even get started. Luckily for you, tackling the bathroom is one of my favorite decluttering jobs!
So let’s get started.
Step 1 in decluttering your bathroom: Plan
Like all things, preparation is key. It’s super important to look at the big picture and think about how you use your bathroom spaces. So even if you’re tempted, don’t skip this step.
Determine the spaces that you have available for storage in your ensuite or bathroom. What products are you keeping in them? How does it work for you at the moment? Don’t forget to look at what is by the bath or shower. Take some pictures of the state of things for your before and after shots!
Decide what would be your ideal allocation of space. For example, we have four large drawers in the ensuite. One drawer is for my husband, two are for myself (that’s fair, right?), though there is enough space in the second to also store spare rolls of toilet paper. In the fourth drawer, we keep top-ups of things like shampoo and conditioner, all medicines, and products like sunscreen.
Now decide how things will work within each one of these spaces. For example, I have the following in my main drawer.
- Make up
- Skin care
- Hair care
- Oral care
Step 2 in decluttering your bathroom: Sort
Now you’ve got your plan, you’re ready to start sorting. However, there’s one thing to keep in mind. When it comes to decluttering, we’ve all seen things like “fifteen minutes to clutter-free freedom” but the truth is, a thorough and complete job does take longer than that.
So if time is limited, don’t, whatever you do, Marie Kondo it and pull everything out from every space in the bathroom and put it on the floor. If you don’t get it all sorted in one go, you’ll feel even more overwhelmed by the mess. Begin with one small section at a time- nothing you can’t stop after 15 minutes, just in case.
Gather up the things you’re going to need. These include:
- Your written notes from Step 1.
- A sponge / cloth and a spray cleaner
- A basket (or similar) for items you will give away
- Plastic bags for rubbish
Open the first drawer or cupboard. Pick the one that you use the most every day.
Take everything out of the cupboard / drawer and put it on the floor.
Wipe out the cupboard / drawer.
Start to sort your items as follows:
- Items that you are going to keep in this space. They should fit at least one, preferably two of the following categories:
- items you use
- items you need
- items you like (really like. Not just my mother-in-law bought me this perfume and it smells okay, and I feel bad about getting rid of it).
- Items that, according to your list, do not belong in this space. Put these in the basket (include here items that will go into another space in this room as well as ones that need to go somewhere else in the house).
- Items that are okay but you don’t like or use. Put these in the give-away basket.
- Expired items. Throw these straight in the rubbish.
Note: If you have a lot of toiletries, and have never done a sort out before, you are going to find some parts of this really hard. So here are some further guidelines:
If you are one of those people who take toiletries from hotels etc, stop this habit. Unless you have actually used these items in the last six months, put them in your rubbish bag OR the give-away basket, where they can go to a shelter or food bank.
If you have a lot of spares, keep them all together in one space where you see them often. Make a decision how many you can have at one time, and don’t let yourself buy any more until you go under that number. If you have an extreme amount (eg. 20 toothbrushes!) consider putting some in your give-away basket.
If you have a lot of makeup, some of which has been around since the dawn of time, look to discard along the following guidelines:
- Opened mascara: 3 month
- Opened liquid foundation, bronzer etc: 6 months
- Opened powder products including blusher and eyeshadow: 2 years
- Opened lipsticks: 2 years
- Opened nailpolish: 2 years or when it gets gluggy
- Opened skincare: check for expiry dates, or search for the product online- pictures of the product often have a number like “30 months” on the base which is how long you can use it after opening it.
- Unopened products: If you’ve had them for more than a year and haven’t opened them, go back and apply the “need, use, and like” test again, and throw away what doesn’t meet any of these criteria. If you don’t know when you bought it, write today’s date on the back for next time.
Everything you decide to keep needs to be wiped down.
Before you finish this step, consolidate opened bottles of the same product (such as shampoo) into one bottle.
Step 3 in decluttering your bathroom: Return
Now you’ve finished sorting, you’re heading for the finish line!
Wipe down the drawers then return your “keep” items to them. Group them by your predetermined categories. Check your house to see if you have any existing containers you can use to store them in (you could even use something like ice cream containers). Once you have actually finished, I suggest treating yourself by buying some fit-for-purpose containers.
Take the basket with things that belong somewhere else – and take them to where they belong.
Sort the “give away” basket into two sections: to donate now, or to put in a box in the cupboard for re-gifting. Know yourself when you do this– if you know you won’t actually get around to donating your extras, just put them in the rubbish. Otherwise, all you are doing is shifting your mess from one place to another.
Put the rubbish in the bin.
To sum up
Decluttering your bathroom is one of those chores that give you a great sense of accomplishment. As well as making yourself smile with pleasure when you open the drawer and see all that pristine organisation, you’ll find it a lot easier to spot things you need or are close to running out of.
To make it easier for you to implement these steps, I’ve created a free downloadable checklist for you. Just sign up at the link below!