How’s your bathroom organization? I receive lots of inquiries asking for help on how to make bathroom spaces more functional. Bathroom products can be some of the hardest things to get organized for a variety of reasons. A friend/family member just recently sent me some photos of the progress she had made on her bathroom products. She told me her counter had been “a total cluster” and her sink wasn’t accessible at all. I’m so proud of what a great job she’s done organizing! This is a very common problem, no matter how big your bathroom is. In this post, I’ll show some photos of how she got her bathroom space more functional, and I’ll share some tips on how to make your bathroom more functional, or perhaps even “spa-like”!
Step 1: Declutter all the old stuff you don’t need or want. First, throw out (or donate) the obvious stuff that you don’t want. Due to the nature of bathroom products, you’re most likely going to have to just trash what you don’t want. Some thrift stores or homeless shelters may take unopened products, but make sure to check with them before making the trip to donate them. Your local Buy Nothing page on Facebook may be another great place to pawn off the stuff you don’t want before it makes its way to the landfill. If you have a large quantity of unopened (and pricey) products that you don’t want, you may be able to sell them on Facebook or Mercari. Selling your stuff is a time consuming and labor intensive process, so in most cases, you are better off just giving it away or throwing it out if it’s been used.
Step 2: Sort your stuff into categories such as: shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, body lotion, face products, bath bombs, makeup (separate into sub categories: lipstick, eyeliner, blush, etc), perfume, medication, supplements, first-aid, etc. You may also have some empty containers to refill for trips, or other travel bags. Sort appliances and gadgets (hair dryer, curling iron, other electric things) together, and sort other tools such as exfoliating loofas and brushes together. You may also have bath toys for kids or decorations that need sorting and decluttering. Use whatever containers you have to temporarily containerize like items. Do another purge of your excess. Check out this resource from the FDA to learn more about the shelf life of different products.
Since our country doesn’t have great laws or regulations on personal care products (although the laws are in the process of getting changed for the better!) manufactures are responsible for making their products safe. This leaves a lot of gray area, so use your best judgement as to whether or not something is still good. Dipping fingers or applicators into products will add bacteria and fungi, so products that you dip into will probably not last as long as the ones you squeeze out, depending on the level of preservatives. Preservatives will break down over time and emulsions (mixed ingredients) can separate. Temperature and humidity will also impact the lifetime of a product. Throw out dry mascara, don’t share makeup, and be wary of products with lots of harmful chemicals. You can check how safe a product’s ingredients are via the INCI Decoder website.
Step 3: Now that you’ve already sorted your products and have done two passes on whether you want your stuff anymore, ask yourself:
-Do I really want this?
-Do I like this?
-Do I need this?
-Does this work well for me?
-Do I have space for this?
-Is this in good condition?
-Will I realistically use this?
If your answer is “no” to any of these questions, you are probably better off letting it go.
It’s important to repeat this in the decluttering process because personal care products are notoriously hard to let go of for some people since they want to avoid the guilt of wasting things. I know it can be hard, but if you’re not going to use it, let it go, and move on.
Step 4: Now that you’ve decluttered all the stuff you don’t want, it’s time to assess what really belongs in the bathroom, and what belongs elsewhere. For people with very small bathrooms, you may need to only store the basic everyday things in the bathroom, and keep the extras somewhere else.
Step 5: Since you’ve probably decluttered a lot of products, do you need to replenish anything? Make sure to account for the space the new products will take up before you get to the next step. If you’re in the market for any Beautycounter products, you can buy them through me here.
Step 6: Define homes for things. If you have plenty of built in storage, you can just go ahead and decide where things go. But if you need more storage, you could consider switching out your medicine cabinet for a larger one, putting in a shelving system above the toilet, adding a shelf somewhere else, or buying an organizer that can go under the bathroom sink. There are shelves that can fit around the plumbing under the sink, or you could get drawers that fit under the sink. Depending how large your bathroom is, you may be able to add another cabinet or rolling cart.
Step 7: Containerize! Since you have things sorted, you can easily visualize what sized containers you’ll need for everything. If you’ve got lots of different things going into a drawer, you may want to use drawer dividers or organizing containers to separate categories. Make sure to give your everyday products the best real estate so that you can get to them easily and put the things you don’t use as much farther back in the cabinet.
Step 8: Put on the final touches. How does everything look? Do you want to add any décor to help set the mood or remind you of how beautiful you are? Putting up some artwork, refreshing the shower curtain, or replacing the towels and bath mat will go a long way towards revamping your bathroom.
By Jean Prominski, Certified Professional Organizer
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