“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Less hectic mornings may seem like a pipe dream, but decluttering and organizing your bathroom can help make the getting-ready process less chaotic by making morning necessities easy to find and put away.
1. Toss items that aren’t good anymore.
Do you have anything that expired long ago or looks dried out or otherwise deteriorated? If so, these items need to go now.
Some recently expired products will still be good, especially if they’ve never been opened, so if it’s something you’ll use soon, you may choose to keep it.
Even “expired” medications may be safe to take. For instance, my pharmacy puts one year from the date the prescription was filled as the expiration date for every prescription medication, even when the drug manufacturer gives a longer time before expiration. You should, of course, check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking expired medications.
Pay special attention to gifts you’ve received. A lot of people hold on to presents like soaps and bath oils that they felt were “too pretty to use” and find that, after these gifts have spent years contributing to bathroom clutter, they’ve now gone bad.
2. Get rid of things you’ll never use.
Do you have any items that are still good but you know you’ll never use them? If so, give them to friends or family or donate them to charity (a lot of homeless shelters are looking for toiletries).
If you can’t find anyone who wants them, you’ll still need to get rid of them to help avoid bathroom clutter, but make sure you dispose of medications, cleaning products and other hazardous materials safely.
3. Discard stuff you have too much of.
Now go through what’s left and make a note of things you don’t need to buy for a while because you already have way too many of them. Unless they’re going to go bad before you’ll use them, you don’t need to get rid of any of them – just make a note of anything you don’t need to buy and keep it with your shopping list. And don’t buy any more. Even if there’s a great sale. Really.
You do need to get rid of non-consumable bathroom clutter. You can argue that you need a new toothbrush every few months so you’ll use the 5 you have fairly quickly, but this isn’t true for items that you don’t replace very often. If you have one spare comb, brush, electric razor, etc., that’s plenty. The rest should go.
If anything may go bad soon, put it where you’ll see it and remember to use it up. If it might spoil before you’ll get around to using it, try to find someone else who will use it.
4. Mindfully choose new products.
With things cleaned out a bit, you might notice some products you’re about to run out of. Before you add them to your shopping list, take a few moments to think about whether these products really fulfill a need for you. If not, don’t buy more.
That seems obvious, but we often buy things out of habit rather than need or out of emotion rather than logic. Does this product make your life better? Or does it just sit in the medicine cabinet?
If you feel the product is important, think about whether you can replace multiple products with one. For instance, do you need separate shampoo and conditioner, or will a combination product work for your hair? How about using a moisturizing foundation with sunscreen or a combination mouthwash and fluoride rinse?
If you use cosmetics, consider having only a small selection. You might find you’re just as happy using the same shade of lipstick every day or having only two nail polish colors to choose from.
Also check into whether you might be able to switch to a product that’s better for the environment, costs less or is easy to make at home. Possibilities include safety razors instead of disposable razors, menstrual cups rather than tampons, and homemade saline rinse instead of antihistamines.
5. Declutter your bathroom towels.
Are any of your towels in such bad shape it’s time for them to become pet blankets or cleaning rags? If so, give them to your pet or store them with your cleaning supplies.
Now, how many towels are left per person that uses that bathroom? In our house, we have two sets per person, so we have a set to use while the other is in the laundry. If you have more, put the extras on a high shelf and stop using them for now. You can use those to “shop” from later as the towels you’re currently using wear out.
If you have way too many towels (you know who you are), keep only a few extra sets per person. Give the rest to friends or family or donate them to charity.
Do you have any tips for organizing the bathroom to help make for less hectic mornings?
PS The photo is Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, which we visited this past weekend. Gorgeous place – visit if you can.