De-Cluttering the Bathroom

Isn't it amazing how the smallest room in most homes, the bathroom, can become the most cluttered?

Most of my clients have multiple bathrooms including a master bath, a guest bath and often a separate bath that is designated to the kids or spouse. (I hear that one of the secrets to a happy household is separate bathrooms.)

Ladies, I must say that we normally cause most of the clutter in a master bath. With our razors, soaps, gels, lotions, body sprays, and makeup that make us smell fabulous and look pretty, we can quickly clutter up a shower stall and vanity top.

Following are some of the ways to minimize bathroom clutter:

  • Bottles of Shampoo and Conditioner: If you have several bottles in your shower caddy, either use them up, give them away, or throw them out. Are you saving them because they were expensive and you don't want to use them up? Did they just not provide the results you expected? Remember that hair conditioner can also be used as shaving lotion and shampoo can be used to clean your makeup brushes and hair brushes.
  • Old towels and wash cloths: Life is too short to use scratchy, dingy towels on your squeaky-clean body. Almost everyone has too many mismatched towels on hand. Consider re-purposing your old towels as car/pet towels or donate them to your local animal shelter. Most households only need two-three towels per family member.
  • Blowdryers, diffusers, and curling irons: The first question to ask is, "Do I use this?" If not, donate it. I would make one exception, however. You may want to keep one travel size blowdryer on hand for overnight guests.
  • Makeup: If the makeup is old and expired, throw it out. Pink eye is not pretty, people. Most women have a core set of makeup for everyday use with a few extras thrown in for dramatic evening flair. Gather all of your non-core makeup in one bag or basket and then be relentless as you decide what to keep and what to toss. If it's the wrong color, made you break out, or is no longer age-appropriate (should you still be using party glitter once you're over 40? I'm just saying...), then toss it.
  • Medicine cabinet: Go through your medicine cabinet and throw out expired meds. A couple of years ago I cleaned out a client's medicine cabinet that contained Chloraseptic throat spray that expired in the 80s. Yikes! And to entertain your nosy friends, put some kind of zany picture on the inside of your medicine cabinet door. It will make them laugh, but they won't be able to comment about it without divulging that they were snooping.
  • Under-sink cabinet. Occasionally pull everything out from under your bathroom sink to determine whether it still deserves to stay. If you can afford to have pullout drawers installed in this area, they are wonderful! If not, you can always use a couple of plastic sweater boxes or shoe boxes as makeshift drawers.
I have only one bathroom in my little fifties ranch house which I, of course, share with my husband. And this tiny bathroom does not have a sink cabinet. Needless to say, we have learned to really streamline our personal toiletries. I installed a small wall cabinet for my toiletries and my husband uses the medicine cabinet for his. I fit all of my makeup into two little cosmetic bags. To be happy and functional in our shared little bathroom, less is definitely better.

Container Store / Oprah Special Offer

In partnership with "Oprah's Clean Up Your Messy House Tour", The Container Store is offering
20% off
storewide sale through March 1, 2009.

This discount can be used on everything in the store, including The Container Store's awesome elfa shelving solutions.

Go to to get the coupon for in-store purchases or you can order online and use the promo code CLUTTERCREW.

Also happening at The Container Store is their annual Tax Time Sale where you can find discounts on really cute folders like the ones above.

I always encourage my organizing clients to stock up on translucent plastic file tote boxes this time of year because you can find them on sale at The Container Store or almost any office supply store.

Tip: Post-tax time is the perfect time of year to evaluate your file drawers and pull out those files that can be thrown out, shredded, or stored outside of your active work area in such places as an attic, garage, or basement. Just don't forget to label the plastic file boxes before you move them to their new, out-of-the-way home.

I don't recommend storing old files in cardboard banker boxes because the boxes can begin to fall apart in humid environments, are easy for rodents and bugs to get into, and they don't stack as securely as plastic bins.