Sorting

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! 

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 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!

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, 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 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!

Decluttering Clothes to Create Clarity in Your Closet

Curating a wardrobe that reflects your current taste and lifestyle requires decluttering clothes which no longer warrant a place in your closet. When you’re over 50, there’s likely been a change with how you spend your time. Which means what you’re wearing has also pivoted, too.

So if you find yourself pawing through blouses, slacks and shoes to assemble your day’s outfit, this series is for you! Imagine the serenity of readily seeing only what you need, use, and love in your closet!

I’m timing this series with the annual Spring ritual of swapping out Winter clothing for warmer weather (or the opposite, if you live below the equator). Unless you are blessed with a roomy walk-in closet, many store their off-season clothing in another closet or room. So pause before packing away things you didn’t wear yet again. It’s is the perfect time to curate a wardrobe that fits, flatters, and feels good now!

First things first, before decluttering your clothes!

 

Begin with why, create a plan, and then get going

Grab a notebook or create a Word doc which captures what you personally want to achieve. Maybe your top goal is to downsize your wardrobe. Or perhaps it’s to add in clothing that truly aligns with your daily routine. You may have a few things on your list.

Whatever it is, this will be your personal reminder to refer back to, when your motivation slows down or hesitation sets in.

-Decide when you will devote a block of time to focus on your closet. If you can do a daily session, great! Is it 30 minutes a day? Will it be an hour, 4 times a week? Or will you be a weekend warrior, armed with strong coffee?

Just land on what fits in your schedule and suits your energy level …  and commit to it. 

And now, on to my 5 rules for decluttering clothes that need to go!

This post kicks off a series about decluttering clothes to discover your new midlife style!

how to declutter clothes
image by snack toronto from pexels

Rule #1: Release Costly Items Never (if ever) worn

How often do we cling to things that we regret buying? Oh, they may be perfectly beautiful yet they don’t fit quite right, they aren’t truly your style after all or they were an impulse buy. You know exactly which items these are in your closet! But then your second thought is remembering how much you spent … and so they stay. 

Go ahead and set them aside for now. If you’re up for recouping some of those dollars, label the box, “Sell”. But if you don’t have the time or inclination, label the box, “Donate”. I will share the best current options for both in an upcoming blog post!

Be willing to let these items go. The money has been spent so it’s not actually costing you anything to release this stuff. But they are costing you in terms of occupying valuable space in your closet.

Focus instead on the fact that you’re finding a better home where they will get the use and love they deserve. And now you’ve made room for what truly reflects you. What do you think about that? 

how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes
image by keith lobo from pexels

Rule #2: Release "it" colors or styles that aren't you

Are you smiling now? Good! I’m simply making the point that while we want to look current, sometimes the so-called “must have” looks are simply not our friends.

Who dreams up these “rules” anyway? What if we created our own rules? Think about it this way: there’s a reason we reach for certain styles or colors time after time. Certainly, it’s possible we get ourselves into a rut. Maybe we’re playing it safe. Or we might truly benefit from a little styling advice! Don’t worry: I’ve got blog posts coming up addressing all of this!

Meanwhile, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Go ahead and weed out what you don’t like or wear. Why hang on to idle clothing? You can sort into the two categories mentioned earlier: “Sell” and “Donate”.

There, doesn’t that feel good to release what doesn’t truly flatter or make your heart flutter? I thought so!

how to downsize your wardrobe

Rule #3: Reduce your stockpile of special occasion items

Here we are delving into identifying what reflects the cadence of our current lifestyle. It’s not uncommon that our roles change after 50. And so it follows that our clothing choices should, too.

While the definition of a special occasion will vary from one person to the next, think about the situations calling for an outfit other than your everyday wear. How often does that happen? Ensure that the quantity of said items jives with the frequency of such situations.

Also, pay attention to the color, fabric and design of your special occasion clothing. If black is not your best hue, then perhaps your “little black dress” needs to be blue! Or red. You know what your personal power color is.

And if the material feels confining, stiff, or itchy and it’s always a relief to take it off, that should go, too! The goal is for you to define what creates confidence and comfort every time you put it on. Those are the timeless items  to keep. Release the rest. 

Additionally, corporate (business) attire may not fit under the  “special occasion” label, but don’t overlook releasing this or any other type of clothing if you don’t mingle in a certain arena any more. Most of us don’t have sufficient warehouse room for all the “some day”, “you never know”, or “just in case” clothing!

how do you declutter too many clothes
image by maria orlova from pexels

Rule #4: Release multiple sizes from the fluctuating scale

This is a touchy subject but bear with me, please. Who hasn’t experienced a change in their shape and weight, as the years go by? Despite our best efforts, there will be a natural shift despite exercise and dietary adjustments.

We can still look fabulous! But clinging to sizes that are unrealistic or require deprivation than we are unwilling to endure? Let those go! Life is too short to berate yourself on the basis of size.

However, only you can decide what to keep, based on your personal goals and determination. Is it de-motivating to see sizes too small in your closet? My suggestion is to remove those items and store them in a box labeled with the size and the current date.

If they still don’t fit by a future date, i.e., the next season, re-evaluate your situation. And if it no longer matters to you, don’t even open the box … just let it go! Make room for what truly fits now.

5 rules for decluttering clothes
image by skylar kang from pexels

Rule #5: Reduce the sentimental volume

 

The 70’s called to get your groove back on! Whatever makes your heart swell, keep it. How wonderful to have your heart smile when you open your closet door and see a reminder of a happy memory.

The key is to limit these items to a discreet number. If you have too many items for viewing only, this will pose a practical problem. How will you have closet capacity for what you actually wear?

Whatever the size of your closet, an artistically arranged set up with a few sentimental items will allow for a pop of joy every time you open the door.

Can you have a dedicated shelf for these things? Would a wall display or a free standing rack in your bedroom be the way to go? Sort for what is most meaningful.

Does each thing have equal value? Likely not, so quickly release anything you feel iffy or “meh” about. Don’t ruminate too long … or decluttering your clothes will grind to a halt!

The Wrap with Mary V
image by content pixie from pexels

The Wrap: This post was about decluttering clothes in order to curate a midlife style that fits, flatters and feels good!

When we’re entering a new season … weather-wise or decade-wise … it’s an ideal time to re-evaluate our wardrobe. 

It’s extremely tricky to recommend styling ideas since we all have such individual taste! And my bottom line is always going to be, “If you love it, then wear it!” Seriously. Don’t be concerned with what anyone else thinks.

Oh, we will be judged. It’s what we do (c’mon, admit it!) and so does everyone else. But do you anyway! 

Your turn!

So I’m curious:

  • Does your clothing reflect your personal lifestyle and taste? Or does it mirror what the “fashion police” decrees?
  • Is your closet chockfull of items from a former role or era? Will you realistically reach for these things again?
  • What truly holds you back from letting certain things go? How do you do it anyway?

Share your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!  

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