If it looks or feels like you’ve got too much stuff in your bathroom, you’re probably right. It may be the smallest room in your house, but the bathroom is often home to the largest amount of clutter per square foot.
The good news is that within an hour or two, you can de-junk your bathroom and transform it into a lovelier, more peaceful place. And there’s a bonus: Decluttering your bathroom will also make it easier to keep clean! Here’s how to get started.
Let Go of Space Wasters
Anything you aren’t using is just taking up valuable space in your bathroom. Whether it’s that half-empty bottle of shampoo you didn’t like (and have already replaced) or that bottle of sticky nail polish, it’s time to let go of the space wasters.
One by one, open every drawer and every door in search of items that can be trashed or recycled. Start with the easy stuff: expired prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and vitamins and other drugstore items such as sunscreen lotion. Remember that if it’s out of date, it won’t be effective. Also, be sure to safely dispose of your old medications, medicine take-back programs are a good option for responsible disposal.
Empty your makeup kit and put back only the items you use regularly. Toss anything that’s older than a few years or doesn’t look or smell like it did when it was new. Do the same with other personal toiletries. Rule of thumb: If you don’t love it or use it, lose it.
You may be able to move duplicate items or things such as travel-size bottles of shampoo, body lotion and soap to a guest bathroom—but do so only if they are needed there. Otherwise, add them to the “let it go” pile.
Expand Storage Space
The problem with many bathrooms is that there’s so little space and so much to store.
One way to create more storage space in bathroom vanities is to adjust the height of the shelves to better accommodate the contents. If shelves are not adjustable, look for bathroom organizing solutions that make more efficient use of cabinet space such as stackable, clear plastic lidded bins or pull-out wire baskets or shelving.
If you’re ready for a complete overhaul—or you lack any storage in your current vanity—consider purchasing a new vanity with additional shelves or cabinets. A new vanity can be installed within an afternoon and creates instant organization.
To add even more storage to your bathroom, think vertical. Install some shelving on one wall or purchase a freestanding tower shelving unit. Don’t forget to utilize the back of the door! Hang an over-the-door rack with pegs or a shoe organizer with pockets for storing rolled up magazines, extra rolls of toilet paper, or daily toiletries.
Also, reconsider what is currently being stored in your bathroom. If storage space is lacking, things like a first aid kit, extra brush heads for your electric toothbrushes or clean towels can be moved to a linen or bedroom closet.
Organize for Efficiency
A well-organized bathroom can make the difference between calm and chaos when you’re trying to get to school or work on time.
Clear countertops, leaving only the bare essentials such as hand soap. If you wish to keep anything else on the counter, place it on a tray or in a basket.
Organize drawers by category: hair care, makeup, bath supplies and personal grooming. Or, if your bathroom is a shared space, assign drawers to household members or have everyone keep their daily essentials in plastic totes that can be stored under the sink.
After decluttering your medicine cabinet, organize items by type, such as pain relievers and oral care. Group prescription medicines by user. Pro tip: Labeling shelves will help keep things organized.
For maximum efficiency, store frequently used items where they can be easily accessed. For example, store an extra roll of toilet paper where it can be reached from the toilet. Infrequently used items such as hot or cold therapy packs can be stored at the back of bathroom vanities.
Simple Everyday Strategies
Once you get things organized, there are a few simple things you can do to keep bathroom clutter in check. The first and most important is to get in the habit of always putting things back where they belong.
Do you get dressed or undressed in the bathroom? Put a hamper in there for your dirty laundry and towels, or hang a laundry bag from the back of the door.
Don’t open a new product until the old one is used up. “Shop” from your own stock before buying new items, and try to buy only what’s needed, when it’s needed.
By using these tips, you can ensure your bathroom becomes a beautiful, calming space you can enjoy being in every day.
Donna Smallin Kuper is a nationally recognized home organizational expert who writes about staying organized for The Home Depot. Donna’s tips on sprucing up your bathroom are designed to create maximum efficiency and relaxation in this most important of your house’s rooms. To view vanities that could help in your efficiency efforts, you can visit the Home Depot website here.