In most homes, bathrooms are the smallest spaces. They are also the most cluttered. So, I’ve taken a poll. I’ve talked with several people about bathroom clutter, why it happens, and what the worst culprits are. This post is the result of lots of laughter and discussion. We’ve all been guilty of one or more of these at one time or another.
Here’s a little hint: If you have an under-the-sink cabinet, AND a medicine chest – AND you have one of those rolling carts from Bed, Bath & Beyond crammed full of things, then you might have too much stuff.
Is it time to let go? Only you can decide. See if you are prone to any of these…
1 – Mostly-Used hair gunk
Mostly-used hair gunk. Mostly-used toothpaste. Mostly-used soap, shower gel, and all tubes that you’ve twisted to the point they could be in a Salvador Dali painting – these can go into the trash or recycling. If you have shampoos precariously standing on their heads waiting for that last drop to fall — and if those bottles all go tumbling into the tub with that annoying plastic clockety-clock sound every time you step into the shower — then it’s time to let go. Hanging on so you can save that extra 12 cents is most likely taking up too much energy.
2 – Soap
Here’s a math problem:
Let’s be optimistic and say you’re going to live to be 112. Now, take that number, and write it on a piece of paper. Write your current age under that number. Now subtract.
If the final number is less than the number of bars of soap that are in your bathroom, then you will most likely never use all of those soaps.
Organization Tip: Soaps are a great gift item and great to give away to facilities that need them. If you like to have some around, then store no more than three extra bars in one space under the sink.
3 – Gifts with Purchase
I rarely go to the mall. But every time I do, some cosmetic counter lady is making an announcement about a free remarkable Gift with any purchase of $24. We all rush to the counter to get the gift! “Hooray!” we think. “Free stuff for me!”
But is it really a gift?
Perhaps here’s what the announcement should say:
“Ladies…. [Brand Name] is offering a free gift with any purchase this month only at [Department Store Name]. That means that you can get YET ANOTHER little zippy flowered tote that will sit under your sink from now until the day you die. In this zippy bag, we’ve included a free sample of our new fragrance called [Dysfunctional Emotional State]. One spritz will give you an instant headache! You’ll put it under your sink next to the zippy bag in hopes that you’ll remember to give it to some poor unsuspecting in-law. You also get YOUR CHOICE of lipstick! Choose between “Does this Make Me Look Like a Hooker?” Deep Pink, or “Didn’t I Wear this in My 8th Grade Class Photo?” Frosty Pink. You’ll carry this lipstick in your purse for a while, but then it will end up in your medicine chest. It will roll out into the sink every time your husband (or lover) opens it. He (or she) will swear loudly and slam it back into the medicine chest. This’ll do wonders for your romantic life…”
Note: If you haven’t used a Gift with Purchase since you got your Gift with Purchase, then you probably won’t ever use your Gift with Purchase. Hanging onto it won’t make you regret the purchase any less. Hanging onto it is a punishment. The next time you are about to get a Gift with Purchase, ask yourself, “Will I actually use any of this?”
Organization Tip: If you like having sample sizes of toiletries or cosmetics for travel, and you know you will actually and truly use these items, create a box and label it “Travel.” That way, each time you’re packing for a trip, you can grab what you need. Be sure to go through this box at least once a year and purge.
4 – Single earrings
If there are single earrings, barrettes, or hairpins in your medicine chest or on any flat surface leaving rust stains or turning blue, it’s time to put them away or let them go.
Organization Tip: If you must hang on to these things, put single items back into a jewelry case where they can wait among their supportive metal friends for their missing partners to return. They need that. Create a box for hair pins, etc. Label it. Put them away once a week.
5 – Old prescriptions, medicines, etc.
I know someone who kept powerful pain-killers around for over ten years “in case something happened again.” (His words.) I also know someone who kept extra patches around (years after she had quit) just in case she started smoking again and needed to quit again. (Besides, she said, the patches were expensive.)
Okay, children, let’s talk Law of Attraction. If you hang on to these things, you’re telling the universe (and your subconscious) that you fully expect “something” to happen again. And that there will be no resources when it happens. AND that you’ll be so broke that you’ll have to use an expired product with zero effectiveness. Not good messages for the universe.
Organization Tip: If you don’t have it now, then don’t keep products around that remind you that you ever did have it. If you need to keep things around like Caladryl for poison ivy, or Aloe Gel for sunburn – then create a box and label it “Medicines and First Aid.” Purge that box once a year.
6 – Kitty Litter
I love cats. I have three of them. I am all about the cats. But bathrooms with kitty litter all over the place make some people want to upchuck. I totally understand that lots of us live in small places and we have to put the litter boxes somewhere, but keeping it clean makes your life cleaner, and it makes your cat happier. (Cats are known to get stressed out at dirty litter boxes.)
Organization Tip: Keep a dustpan and brush under the sink or near the litter box. Make it part of your morning routine to do some litter clean up on the floor and in the box. Create a schedule for changing the litter. Seriously, dude. It gets gross in there.
7 – Too many cleaning products
We don’t need half of the stuff that marketers convince us that we need. Again, you can take extra items to a charity or an organization that can actually use the items in their facilities. (Toilet brushes behind the toilet can get pretty gross, too. Store them somewhere else. Or change them often!)
8 – Sea shells and beads and little smelly candles
If bathrooms are the smallest spaces in our homes, why do we feel the need to put lots of small decorating thingees into them that create even more clutter? Shells are great. Especially the way Pier 1 arranges them on the glass trays with sand and beads. However, most of us can’t pull this off in our bathrooms. They’re already too small. And if you have to push shells and beads and candles out of the way just so you can wash your face, you’re making your life more difficult.
Organization Tip: Get rid of shells and beads, and dust the surfaces where they used to be. Have a designated candle box for luxurious bath moments. However, if the candles get dusty or gross or weird in any way, then replace them with thoughts of abundance and love.
9 – Old Magazines and Damp Wrinkled Books
Stacks of Oprah magazines from 2002. Wrinkled copies of Women Who Do Too Much and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. When was the last time anyone read these items? If have books or magazines in a basket on the floor, or if they’re laying on top of a shelf, try removing them (and the baskets) and see if that space doesn’t allow you to breathe a little bit. If you like to have a book in the bathroom, then pick one book. Change it every now and then so that the dampness doesn’t ruin it.
Finally, to motivate you, here’s a quote from Bruce Lee, who, I imagine, had very little clutter…
“One does not accumulate but eliminate.
It is not daily increase but daily decrease.
The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”