So many romantic descriptions of the room we get clean in. It's supposed to be "spa like", clean and crisp with plush white towels, clean surfaces and jars filled with cotton balls. But what does this high traffic space look like in real life? How well is it functioning day to day and is the clutter in the space stopping it from being the bathroom of your dreams. It is astonishing that the smallest of spaces in a home is packed with items that get in our way daily.
I had 2 large bathroom vanities in our previous home. We had lived in the home for a number of years and never paid any attention to what was going in, or for that matter, coming out of, these spaces. When we were preparing to stage the home the dreaded bathroom purge was enormous and sad in its waste. How many large bottles of moisturizer, each one barley used. How many toothbrushes from the dentist, when we use a rechargeable toothbrush. How many mini bottles from hotel stays. The hair care and skin care, doubles, triples and ones that had been opened so long ago that they needed to be discarded. It's crazy!
To start your own great bathroom purge, make sure you have space to dump out all your bathroom storage into and group into categories. If you have multiple bathrooms I suggest you do them all in the same day since there can be great overlap in the inventory found in each bathroom. Don't forget to take all the bottles out of the showers and bath tubs when you are sorting. Make piles for each category. Don't decide on what to keep and what to discard yet. Just make your piles and keep moving. Once you have empty showers, vanities and medicine cabinets it's time to go through each pile. Look for excessive multiples. I had one client who had so many toothbrushes and dental floss. All still brand new and in their original packages. These were taken to a women's shelter along with unopened toiletries from hotels. Minimal amounts of this category are good to keep for guests and you own personal use but be cautious as the amount of these can multiply without realizing it.
Be aware of the dates and length of time you have had an item opened for and discard according to the recommendations on the package. Go through each category and be honest with how you feel about the products. Were they ones you got "just because" and really will never use. Is it one your used and you didn't like its performance, let it go, you will never use it up. Look for expired medications and discard appropriately. Do not throw them in the trash. Check with your pharmacy on their requirements for disposal and get them out of space. With cold and flu season soon upon us it's good to have your arsenal up to date and stocked up.
Now that you have your piles curated down to your favourites and most loved products it's time to plan and layout your space. Items used daily should be in the easiest accessible places like top drawers or on the eye level shelves of your medicine cabinet. If you need to have items on your counter top, keep them to a minimum and place them on a tray. The tray works to contain the items and I find it makes it easier to remove them from the counter when it's time to clean the bathroom. Most vanities are designed with a large open space under the sink. Based on what you are back stocking or storing you may need to purchase or utilize something you already own to maximize this space for your inventory. Take your items into account and measure your space carefully if you are purchasing and I suggest bringing in a couple of options to make sure you choose wisely.
Your bathroom should be your spa like sanctuary. We start and finish our days there and it should be one that works with not just our current lifestyle but performs more to our ideal lifestyle. As with all organizing projects we can learn a lot about ourselves and how to avoid falling back into our clutter filled past. If we had too many toothbrushes, say "no thank you" on you next dental visit. If you had too many bottles of barely used moisturizer, keep using the one you like best and replace it only when its empty. If your shower was overrun with hair care, try to narrow down products that work for you and avoid trying new ones until the others are used up. Rebounding into old ways is unlikely, if not impossible, if you take your space and apply the strategies I've laid out. Need help? I'm always ready to roll up my sleeves, either in person or virtually, to help you achieve spa like-fluffy towel-relaxing bathroom of your dreams.