Unless you are undertaking a bathroom renovation or moving house, the bathroom can be the last place in your home to get organised in a spring clean or decluttering project. This essential room which we use everyday can, over time, become congested with 'stuff' from all over the house. Just carrying out simple tasks like brushing your teeth can be a challenge.
Beginning and ending your day in an organised bathroom provides a place of calm in our often chaotic lives.
Regardless of the size of your bathroom, decluttering can be done in a short time, in a few simple steps. In our kitchen decluttering blog posts we have recommended starting with a clear benchtop surface. Unfortunately in the bathroom often the stuff on the vanity benchtop is there because the drawers and cabinets are too full to squeeze it in. So for this room, if you are struggling with space place an old towel on the floor to provide a clean surface to unload the contents of the cabinets onto. Have a bin on hand plus a box for items to donation and another for things which belong in other parts of the house.
Step one - bathroom vanity declutter
The vanity cabinet is often the home to everything from the hair dryer and back up shampoo supplies to clean towels and toilet paper. It can also harbour many items which don't really need to live here like old cosmetics and unused toiletries.
Remove all items from the cabinet onto your clear bench or clean towel. Wipe out the shelves and sides of the cabinet. This is a good time to check for any water damage in the vanity cabinet. Even a small leak can cause the cabinet to discolour, swell and disintegrate very quickly. See to any water issues promptly to avoid major damage.
Sort through the items on the bench/towel one at a time. Throw away:
- half used toiletries which haven't been used in the last 3 months - Chances are you haven't used them for a reason - you didn't love the smell, colour or texture?
- used cosmetics - make-up can grow nasty bacteria if kept for too long once being used, get rid of them.
- old perfume - perfumes and colognes can lose their freshness and fragrance after a few years.
- anything over a used by date.
Sort through the small appliances such as hair dryers, straighteners and electric razors. Only keep the items you use. Don't fall into the trap of holding onto things 'just in case'. If you haven't used that crimper since the '80's and you're keeping it 'just in case' you get invited to an '80's themed party, now is the time to move on and let it go. It ruined your hair when you were 12, don't make that mistake again. Donate anything which still works and is in good repair.
Place the items you're keeping back into the vanity cabinet ensuring you store like items together. Using caddies or containers to keep everything together is a great idea for the bathroom cabinet as little bits don't get lost down the back. Make sure the things you use the most get put to the front of the cabinet for easy access.
Carry this process through the drawers also. Remember when placing items back in put the things you use the most in the top draw.
Step two - Decluttering the medicine cabinet
The medicine cabinet can become a graveyard of old creams, pills and ointments. Most of which are one off prescriptions that will never be used again. Clearing the medicine cabinet clutter is simple. You only need one bag or box for all the outgoing medicines.
Remove all items from the cabinet and wipe over shelves and sides. Firstly get rid of
- anything which is past the 'used by' date - using medicines or drugs after they have expired is not advised.
- any medication which has not been stored as recommended. Asprin is particularly susceptible and loses it's effectiveness if it becomes damp or comes in contact with moisture.
- medications with only small quantities left
- medicine which isn't likely to be used again
Replace medicines and first aid supplies in a logical order. Keep like items together ensuring you store dangerous medications out of reach of small children or secured in a lockable container or cabinet.
Most chemists or pharmacies will take old, unneeded or damaged medications and dispose of them safely.
Step three - Clear off visible surfaces
Now you have cleared the vanity cabinet, drawers and medicine cabinet of all clutter it's time to move all the stuff taking up space on the benchtop, sides of the bath, window ledge and shower caddy. Make decisions based on how often you use things, only items which need to be within arms reach and get used everyday need to remain out.
Once your surfaces are clear give the room a go over with the bathroom cleaner and enjoy your newly decluttered bathroom. Well done.