July 2021

cluttered bathroom

This is How to Transform a Cluttered Bathroom into an Organized Sanctuary

Regardless of who’s in the house, it’s so easy for a cluttered bathroom to take up residence in our house!

Too much stuff in this fundamental room happens for three reasons: It’s a high traffic destination. It’s a magnet for rarely used personal product odds and ends. But above all, it’s a repository of hope as evidenced by all the lotions, potions, medications and makeup we accumulate over time, to look and feel good. Indeed, this happens to us all!

Yet who wants to start or end their day in a relatively small space jammed with what we truly don’t use? When what we do need is hidden by oodles of random personal toiletries? Um, no one really!

So this is exactly why it makes sense to periodically sort through and declutter makeup and skincare products. Once you have weeded out the excess stuff, you can then arrange the remaining true essentials in a way that works with the amount of space you have.

Even the smallest bathroom can be cleverly outfitted in a way that streamlines your personal routine. Having only what you need and use makes looking your best a breeze! Who would argue with that!

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional organizer. And I know folks love learning new ways to cleverly store their stuff. But the first step to getting there is to release what doesn’t belong, get used or fit in the bathroom! 

Then, once all the excess has been removed, it’s easy enough to figure out what storage hacks will elevate your bathroom into an efficient yet tranquil space. (P.S., I’ve included a video loaded with organizing hacks at the end of this post in the resource section.)

Are you ready to say goodby to your cluttered bathroom? Let’s do this!

monstera | pexels

Today's post is all about the process of converting A cluttered bathroom into an organized, functional yet attractive area.

how to organize bathroom toiletries
cottonbro | pexels

Step 1: Craft A Plan of Attack

In order to get this done, it’s important to divide and conquer!

Regardless of the size of your bathroom, it’s unlikely you’ll complete this project in one pass. It’s incredible how much stuff we can pack into our bathroom drawers and shelves! 

So start by stepping back and dividing your cluttered bathroom into manageable sections that you will clear in separate sessions. If you have mostly cabinets, work on a drawer (or two) at a time. If you are blessed with an in-bathroom closet, address the shelves individually. A medicine cabinet can be done in one swoop. You get the idea!

In this way, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed when you chunk out the work. Remember: you didn’t fill up your bathroom in one day so you likely won’t clear it out in one day, either! Certainly, work as long as you like. But you’re bound to get bogged down in an all-day marathon. 

Instead of rushing, make thoughtful but practical choices. You bought everything for a reason. Even if the reason is no longer valid, it can still be challenging to accept and to readily let things go.

This is why the key to completion is prioritizing your decluttering project. And 30-60 minutes a session seems to be a sweet spot for making progress without running into decision fatigue. Figure out the best time of day for you to do this and get it on your calendar. When do you feel most energized? That’s an excellent time to tackle your cluttered bathroom!

 Also, try pairing your session right before or right after another regular activity you perform without fail. Like showering in the morning or loading the dishwasher after dinner. Maybe follow your decluttering session with a mini reward like a social media scroll or that cuppa cappuccino. This “habit-stacking” approach increased the chances that you will get this done. 

In fact, my own personal formula includes an old-school paper calendar. I record what I did and add a star on that day. This may conjure up those years when you did something similar with your young children … but hey, it works for me, too! I love seeing lots of stars on my calendar! 

If a deeper dive into creating your decluttering plan would be helpful, check out this post: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win! Because the more defined your approach is, the more likely you will execute and see results.

bathroom organization categories
karolina grabowska | pexels

Step 2: Create a staging area with sorting bins

Ready to make efficient decluttering decisions?

Prepare for what you’ll do with the stuff you handle in each area. Nothing fancy is needed. Boxes or trash bags or even laundry baskets will do!

Next, I recommend using 4 categories with the following designations: Keep [in the bathroom]; Toss [in the trash]; Donate [to charity]; and Relocate [somewhere else in the house].

Now where to position these bins depends upon your home configuration and capacity. If impractical to have in the bathroom, place them in a room less frequently used. This is just a temporary setup so the dining room or spare bedroom are both possibilities. Ultimately, the bins will be emptied when your decluttering is complete.

Cluttered Bathroom Bin Notes

1. Keep Bin

Keep items refer to things you need and use regularly. Think shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hair brush, etc. I’ll go deeper with this category in the next step below. For now, leave just 1-2 of each Keep item where you use them now and place all the rest in the bin.

While you can certainly retain all Keep items in the bathroom, you may discover far more identical items than you realized were in there. It can be enlightening when you collect all similar items in one place to get a visual on just how many you have. Imagine uncovering 10 combs, a dozen lotion bottles or 23 washcloths … you probably agree you don’t need to keep quite that many!

2. Toss Bin

For this bin, we’re talking about items that are broken, expired, or missing parts. In regards to expiration dates for makeup and skincare, I’ve seen a range of dates from 6-18 months, depending on the product. But why not keep it simple: replace everything at the same time, once a year … boom!

I strongly suggest that your Toss items go directly into a trash bag. Then throw that bag into your garbage can at the end of each session.

The one exception here is expired or unused prescription medication. The only way to safely dispose of this is at an official site that accepts the medication. But per usual, all you need to do is Google, “where to dispose of prescription drugs near me”. Typically, it will be a pharmacy or hospital. 

Otherwise, when it comes to Toss items, there’s no good reason to hang on to any of this stuff one moment longer. So ensure it all leaves your home immediately and permanently.

3. Donate Bin

Now when it comes to Donate items, this refers to all standard or sample sized personal products or cosmetics that are unopened/unused. Think of the stuff you have that are for “some day” or “just in case”. If you haven’t used them yet … when will you?

These items are always welcome at homeless shelters. And even faded or worn towels can be repurposed at animal rescue organizations. 

4. Relocate Bin

Lastly, the Relocate bin is for the supply of things that don’t belong or don’t fit in your bathroom. Keeping a reasonable stock of what you regularly use makes sense. You avoid unexpectedly running out of essentials and you don’t have to make frequent trips to the store.

However, put the emphasis on “reasonable” … your home is not meant to be a warehouse, is it? If you have an inordinate amount of anything, consider placing it in the Donate bin, instead.

how to declutter bathroom counter
pixabay | pexels

Step 3: Assess and Decide

And now the moment of truth! What stays and what goes?

We’ve got our parameters defined in Step 2 so start sorting! Your first instincts will serve you well. You know what you currently rely upon and reach for. Keep those things.

Then, when you feel conflicted and on the fence, realize that it’s usually because you know the item has worth and letting it go feels like you’re devaluing it. Or spending the money all over again.

But it’s already been paid for! (And note: even free items or gifts can make you pause because they have some value, too, right?)

Now the only question is this: Who will make use of it … you or someone else? Because if it’s not something you will realistically use in the near future, allow someone else to derive the value of it. After all, no one benefits from it sitting idle in a cluttered bathroom!

If you’re still feeling a little fuzzy on making decisions, head over here for a more in-depth clutter definition: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity? Then prepare to see your stuff with new eyes and sort with determination!

how to organize skincare
sora shimazaki | pexels

Step 4: Identify Your Absolute Essentials

As you sort, pay attention to the things you use faithfully.

Makeup

When to comes to makeup, it’s common to have lots of impulse buys in the drawer. After all, it’s easy to succumb to the promises we read in ads or the images of flawless models. The daily lists of “best makeup” or “top-rated skincare products” along with 5-star reviews constantly prod us to buy!

But now, let’s be ruthless: how often will we swipe on all the assorted eye shadow palettes? Do we need 8 different eyeliners? Or 3 toners? What about 5 different blushes or bronzers? Perhaps we do … if we’re celebrities!

Now look, I know some women love their makeup and enjoy a wide stash to play with. Everyone has their own personal beauty philosophy. However, it’s undeniable that “less is more” particularly when we are of a certain age. So I’m going to leave it here: Only you know if you truly need and use what’s in your bathroom. So you decide. Just be honest with yourself.

Skincare & Devices

Also, are you generally satisfied with your current skincare supply … until you spy a new one to add to your arsenal? Again, the “hope in a jar” marketing tactic is a powerful twitch to break, isn’t it!

Take a hard look at your daily regimen. If the products are giving you the results you want, stick with those until you’ve used them up. If you happen to see other possibilities, keep a list for future reference when it’s time to replace what you have. Or only check out the latest lists when you’re truly ready for something new.

Now sift through your appliances like hair dryers, curling irons, hair clips, razors, manicure tools, etc. Once again, ask yourself how many of these you rely upon regularly and how many you need.

Savvy Tip

If you’re reluctant to let go of your sample products, use them when you travel. They are an approved TSA size and then you get a chance to try them out. See if they’re contenders to replace any current products when the time comes. You can use ziplock bags to sort the samples into ready-to-go kits. Then just grab a bag when it’s time to go!

how to minimize makeup collection
anna shvets | pexels

Step 5: Store Your Secondaries & Duplicates

At this point, there will be a few more decisions entailed. First, do you need all of them?  Second, will you use all of them? Third, do you have the space to keep all of them?

For example, it may come to light that you have a lifetime supply of toilet paper. This may be a result of the recent pandemic! Obviously, this is a perennially useful item to retain. But if your storage space is at a premium consider diverting some of your stash to the Donate box.

If there isn’t room for your Relocate items in your bathroom, find a closet or cabinet where you can keep these extra items. Make a list of what you’ve got and keep it in the kitchen or wherever you do your grocery list. This will avoid buying more than what you need and also prevent running out of things unexpectedly. 

donate beauty products
ketut subiyanto | pexels

Step 6: Donate Your Unused Items

Lastly, wondering exactly where to take your donations? Does it feel like yet one more thing you have to do?

To be honest, it’s very simple to donate! All you have to do is Google “animal rescue near me” or “homeless shelter/women’s shelter near me” to find your local charitable options. Confirm if you need to drop off or if a pickup option is available. Place the filled bins in your car trunk or garage to avoid any second-guessing and to free up your staging area.

For even more ideas, this post shares how easy it truly is to locate your own donation options: Donating Old Clothes & Recycling Textiles | Repurposing for A Better Planet! … do check it out so that you, the less financially fortunate and our planet all win!

And now, your bathroom should feel significantly clearer and tidier. Before rearranging and adding your organizational items, take time to clean the surfaces, shelves and drawers. Then draw a bubble bath, pour a glass of wine or cup of hot tea, and sink in for a relaxing soak …you earned it!

The Wrap with Mary V
content pixie | pexels

The Wrap: This Post Shared a Detailed Process to Revamp a Cluttered Bathroom into a fabulously ordered space!

A cluttered bathroom happens when we succumb to all the marketing tactics to buy the next miracle product that helps us look and feel fabulous. It’s also easy to accumulate all kinds of odds and ends when there’s room to stash them … or is there? Start decluttering today and appreciate the space between what you truly need and use now!

Once you’ve released what doesn’t belong or fit in your bathroom, now you can organize and find exactly what you need when you need it. Enjoy!

This is How to Transform a Cluttered Bathroom into an Organized Sanctuary Read More »

downsizing tips

Downsizing Tips: 5 Big Things to Release & 5 Awesome Alternatives for a Smaller Space

Large rooms can readily accommodate big items. And jumbo homes have many rooms for lots of big things. But when you’re transitioning to something smaller, downsizing tips for what not to keep are super important!

After all, moving in itself can be so stressful. Why add to the angst when you arrive at your new space and find out your things won’t fit?

I’ve had clients who were determined to keep certain hefty pieces of furniture or just too many components in general. The disappointment was heavy at the new place when alternative arrangements had to be made for the oversized and excess stuff.

As a matter of fact, do you know which household items are most commonly offered free of charge to professional moving crews? Pool tables, couches and pianos are on that short list!

OK, maybe you already knew the pool table was not an option. But there are numerous other sizable items worth swapping out for something smaller. Everything might almost fit but wouldn’t a little breathing room be desirable, too?

With thoughtful space planning and some creativity, you can set up your new digs with comfort and style … and with just the right amount of stuff!

Now on to five big things that shouldn’t make the list for the moving truck. 

downsizing tips
image by sarah trummer from pexels

Today's post is all about 5 downsizing tips to ensure your smaller space is filled with just the right sized items !

tips for downsizing to a smaller house
image by alex qian from pexels

Downsizing Tips | 1. Release Blocky Coffee Tables

A large central coffee table is a standard fixture in most living rooms. 

But is it practical when downsizing? I’ve witnessed many a client, anxious to hang on to their massive coffee table, only to be disappointed with how it demands major real estate in their tiny new space. 

And maneuvering around it can be a challenge, especially when using an assistive device such as a walker or wheelchair. So pay attention to safety and mobility.

However, even if you’re perfectly ambulatory now, consider replacing this traditional piece with a couple of smaller tables or tables that nest under each other. You gain flexibility when you can  re-position them where needed. 

Other downsizing tips include substituting a couple of antique trunks. Or buy an ottoman (or two) with lids that open to reveal stashed belongings. 

Now you’ve tripled the utility as you can use them for footrests, additional seating and storage, as well!

tips for downsizing possessions
image by lisa from pexels

Downsizing Tips | 2. Release Boxy Nightstands

Once upon a time, bedroom furniture was only purchased in suites consisting of a bed frame, nightstands, dresser and mirror. 

But when you’re scaling down your living space, consider offloading your standard nightstands. For example, narrow bookcases might serve double duty for your alarm clock, tissue box, hand lotion and your bedtime reading collection.

I had one client use her pet’s kennel as a nightstand! Her fur baby was nearby all night. A small plank laid on top provided a solid surface for the items needed next to the bed. And voilá … another workhorse solution to the rescue!

Another alternative answer would be to install floating shelves on either side of the bed.

This creates a feeling of airiness yet affords the storage surface needed for everyday items. These could be made of wood or glass.

Or how about this: painted, stained or au natural wooden crates mounted on either side? Again, the floating concept creates multipurpose space as you could stow your slippers or a basket of magazines or your knitting supplies underneath.

Wall mounted reading lights above the bed (or suspended pendant lights) are yet one more clever way to reduce what used to sit on your traditional nightstands.

So think about th things you reach for when you’re settling into your night routine.

This helps determine the size and shape of what creative nightstand will work best. Remove the rest. Because having less stuff occupy your bedroom will allow for a more soothing night’s sleep.

downsizing tips and tricks

Downsizing Tips | 3. Release Bulky Single-Use Kitchen Appliances

How often do you make waffles these days? 

Are you regularly assembling cookies, cakes and pies? Stretching pasta?  There is a plethora of kitchen gadgets that perform only one function but how many of these should make the cut for space in your new place?

It makes sense to consider what meal prep you care to do these days. Or will actually do. Be realistic about how often you will reach for your stand mixer, toaster, deep fryer or popcorn popper.

How many sets of dishes, mixing bowls, kitchen gadgets and serveware accessories will be practical? 

Think about what your cooking style is now and replace a few different appliances with multi-tasking ones such as an Instant Pot, which provides several methods of cooking in one appliance!

Unless cooking and entertaining is your passion … and you will continue to do so on a larger scale … streamlining what will be in your new kitchen is important, too. 

tips for downsizing to an apartment

Downsizing Tips | 4. Release Brawny Couches & Chairs

Lazy Boy furniture has been scaling down their seating arrangements.

The furniture manufacturers have jumped on board with catering to the crowd seeking smaller scale pieces.

Remember that if you’re downsizing from the big house, you’re likely not needing to haul the huge sectionals and recliners with you. They command way too much space. Plus, they throw off the visual balance of your room.

Instead, why not substitute the massive sofa with a pair of small love seats? Or 4 small swivel club chairs? 

These actually lend themselves to a natural conversation area. And they can be positioned in front of a fireplace or by the window, whatever your new focal point will be. Style them with colorful pillows and a cozy throw. Your friends will love visiting in your right-sized living room!

downsizing tips for empty nesters
image by pixabay from pexels

Downsizing Tips | 5. Release Beefy Media Centers

Have you noticed that even hotels have ditched the entertainment armoires?

Flat screen TVs rule! Wall mounting them has truly opened up real estate in multi-purpose rooms. 

When you surround the TV with your own wall art, you create a visual gallery, as well. Your TV no longer dominates the room as the main event.

You can still place a very slim cabinet underneath. Or try a narrow table with small wicker cubes or trunks to house any additional media items such as CDs or movies, or board games. 

This approach is more modern and fresh. And once again, you’ll avoid having any one large item overpower your smaller room.

downsizing tips for seniors
image by pixabay from pexels

Bonus Tip: Plan, Plan, Plan!

Even if you haven’t defined your exact next destination, it’s still invaluable to start decluttering today!

When you know a downsizing move is in your future, think about your current rooms that will not exist in the new home. Start rehoming items in there, whether by donation, gifting or tossing if no longer serviceable. Then these empty rooms can serve as sorting and staging space for your future move.

Give thought to how you want to spend your time in the new home.

If your activities will be changing, there’s another clue for what to keep and what to release. Fewer people in the home usually leads to needing less of many things. And a new focus generally means the paraphernalia from a former hobby or interest will no longer be useful.

Once you have landed on your new home, sketch the layout and then play with the space.

This will ensure your furnishings will fit properly. If they don’t, now you can plan for what smaller scale furniture you will acquire. If you have a hard time visualizing, certainly, you can wait until you arrive. Get a feel for the place and then start shopping.

Or, invest in interior design help. A professional can listen to your vision and bring it to fruition with suggested pieces within your defined budget.

Less can be more when you accept that change will be a part of this downsizing decision.

Of all the downsizing tips shared here, letting go of what you no longer need, use or love is essential for a smooth and successful move!

Feeling unsure with where to start decluttering? This post will get you on track: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

And read this post which underlines the importance of how we view change: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis! Because change is inevitable but how we handle it is up to us. Shall we face it with anticipation and grace or resistance and fear? That’s up to us!

The Wrap with Mary V
image by content pixie from pexels

The Wrap: Today's downsizing tips focused on 5 big things to replace when a smaller space is in our future!

Reconsider moving oversized stuff to your new smaller space.

Avoid the cost of transporting things that won’t truly fit.

Instead, opt for smaller scale furnishings and multipurpose appliances.

Score extra points with serene space between your things!

Related Topics & Resources to Explore

Downsizing Tips: 5 Big Things to Release & 5 Awesome Alternatives for a Smaller Space Read More »

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