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!
Today's post is all about the process of converting A cluttered bathroom into an organized, functional yet attractive area.
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!
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.
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 hesitate to release them).
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!
Step 4: Identify Your Absolute Essentials
As you sort, pay attention to the things you use faithfully.
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.
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!
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.
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, there’s a link at the end of this post which share all kinds of easy donation options … do check it out!
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: 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!
Related Topics and Resources to Explore