I am a big believer in visual motivation–if storage looks pretty, you will want to maintain it, see it, and put things away in it.
Before we begin our larger effort to reorganize and declutter your bathroom, let’s talk about purging. There is a time tested way to do this. It involves setting aside a block of time and gathering three boxes or bags.
Come on now, put on your favorite album, podcast, or radio show, and get three containers: one for garbage, one for recycling, and one larger container for items you’ll keep.
Clutter-Free in 10 Steps
1. Throw away old or unusable items. If you have two containers of the same lotion, cleanser, or other product pour the rest of the less full bottle into the other. Wash out the empty bottles and recycle.
2. Limit yourself to two sets of shampoo and conditioner, and no more than a four pack of soap in your bathroom cupboard.
3. Discard unused, unsuitable, or old cosmetics, expired medicines, old toothbrushes, hair brushes, and hair accessories.
4. Remove toiletries from extra cardboard or extra plastic packaging to save on space, then recycle.
5. Only keep three hair styling items in the bathroom tops! For example, you can store one dryer, one flatiron, and one set of rollers in divided bento boxes with lids. Remember to carefully wind the cords!
6. Discard or give away beauty products that do not work for you.
7. Personal hygiene items should be put away if possible. If you have a drawer or medicine cabinet, always put away your toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, hairbrush, and feminine items.
8. If you do not have a storage spot for your hygiene items, organize them into one spot, such as a small tray. Do not use the tray as a catchall. Instead, use a few attractive containers for each every day item. One tray might have toothpaste, toothbrushes, a comb, some make up, and a bottle of perfume for example.
9. You can store cotton balls and Q-tips in small bottles, although I generally recommend putting these away.
10. Cleaning supplies should be put away in the linen cabinet or under the sink. If you have no small kids or pets, you can put cleaning supplies away in either a designated box or an area separate from your personal items.
In addition to purging and reducing bathroom clutter, compartmentalizing what you use on a regular basis is key!
Boxes, Bins, and Baskets
Containers stop things from falling out of your storage space when you take something out.
For example, it’s a great idea to keep hair appliances in a plastic or wicker bin, rather than outside of a bin where they might get tangled with other items.
An added benefit to this method of organization is that it’s cheap! Dollar store containers are inexpensive and very popular.
The big sort into labelled boxes or containers is a way to push you to purge again. I love double purges like this! Take the box you have removed from your bathroom and go through it again to put away extra items, non-everyday items, or seasonal items into bins.
For optimal organization, you can buy bins with labels or use chalk adhesive labels, decorated cloths pins with labels, or pretty labels with string.
Boxes and bins are also a great way to store towels because no one wants stacks of washcloths tumbling out of their closet onto the floor! Boxes also mean that everything can really have its place.
Towels can be stored neatly either rolled or folded up on a wall rack, under the sink, rolled in a wicker basket, or in the linen closet.
Double hanging systems work well too! Keep a minimum number of towels in your bathroom and transfer extra towels to your linen closet or wall shelves in your laundry room.
If you have a linen closet or a large to medium cabinet, get everything you do not use every day out of the bathroom. As Jen at iheartorganization.com, the guru of all organization, has demonstrated, this is pretty much a foolproof method, and has totally caught on (this method has been featured in every house, home publication, and blog!).
If you do not have a linen closet, you can add storage to your bathroom in the form of dressers and cabinets. This idea is for those of you who have more floorspace. A dresser is a great method of organization because it takes up floorspace that might otherwise be cluttered with unnecessary items like shoes and package reams of toilet paper!
A dresser also gives the bathroom a tidy and decorated appeal. Use it to store extra towels, hygiene items, and other toiletries. As with the closet, you should use containers to divide categories, making things easy to find and put away.
I also highly recommend small bathroom floor cabinets (linen cabinets) as they are narrow, often very attractive, and inexpensive. They can often store a great deal, including toilet paper and hygiene items, and they usually come with a drawer!
Under the Sink
Use the same principle under the sink as you did with the linen closet: conquer, label, and divide.
Labeling items under the sink is also helpful if you happen to have a husband who claims he cannot find the Q-Tips! Reuse household items like jam jars to store toiletries.
If you are lucky enough to have a drawer in your sink vanity or in a small bathroom cabinet, use it for small items like hair accessories, tweezers, make-up, and other items. You can use a standard kitchen drawer divider or make your own from cereal boxes and wrapping paper.
I love the pretty bowls and trays you can find at almost any Chinese variety store such as Pearl River where there is a host of beautifully made small dinnerware items like trays, cups, and dishes that make pretty, functional containers for drawers.
Bathroom maintenance and organization is not just a one time project, but is something you should do regularly. Take a look at the list below to stay on top of the cleanliness and usability of your space.
- Clean out your bathroom once a month and purge items.
- Put all items away after use every morning and night.
- Always rinse out your shower or bath and always hang all towels.
- If you share your bathroom with kids, or if your children have their own bathroom, install low hanging hooks for robes and towels and designate a plastic, washable draining storage box for toys. Add a stool near your sink and hang a full length towel next to it (small kids tend to pull down hand towels!).