Bathroom clutter

esgaMarch 7, 2006

Why is it so hard to prune down the stuff that's in the bathroom? I currently have 3 soaps around the sink (on one multilevel soap dish); a gazillion skin care products which are hard to organize; luckily my makeup goes in 2 decorative boxes which I can maintain neatly. The 4 drawers are full of stuff, but I only ever use 2 of the drawers - I can hardly tell you what's in the other 2. And of those I use, one is such a mess that it contains a few items at the front that I use a lot, and who knows what's at the back/underneath?

Medicines are fairly well organized, but if I get sick I alsways seem to find duplicates of stuff I don't need and none of what I do need (flu or allergy medicine if I have a cold, for example, but no cough syrup).

I do try to give away the decorative or scented soaps as soon as people give them to me - ditto lotions and bath salts. I am very picky about what I will use on my skin. But there always seems to be way too much stuff, and it's just me!

What do the rest of you do to keep bathrooms under control?

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I throw stuff in the garbage.

And then it accumulates anyway.

I try to have only ONE place I keep cough syrups. The little cups have to go in the DW anyway, so they go in the kitchen, NOT in the bathroom.

And I have containers. I keep my Band-Aids and gauze&tape in a couple of Sterilite plastic boxes (thanks, swap buddy!), and all stuff related to cuts go there. I keep all tooth-related things (extra dental floss, the emergency 'my crown fell off' kit, fresh heads for the electric toothbrushes, etc.) must go there. So by corralling like stuff together, and putting them in a container, I keep stuff from growing TOO much.

And I try not to buy some new skincare product to try out.

Of course, DD is entering the age of zits, I've brought home some products for her to try out; they're sort of out of hand.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 12:26PM
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I use storage bins that I keep in the cabinets and pull out when I am in the bathroom. I have all my skin care stuff (including deodorant & tooth paste) in one , my hair products and brushes in another and my makeup in a third. When I am groomed for the day the bins go back into the cabinets, so the only things on top of the cabinet are a pump hand soap, a pump moisturizer (I wash my hands alot) and toothbrushes. The only things in my medicine cabinet are grooming aids like tweezers, eyelash curler, razors and so forth.

Every couple of months, I go through the drawers and toss, or give away, stuff I haven't used. I only buy new things when I am almost out of the old.

I keep my medicines in the kitchen cabinets in a decorative tin storage bin.

Living in a little house will force you to be clever about your space.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 3:13PM
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Your bathrooms sound bigger than ours. I noticed you have lots of "plural" things. Multiple soaps and boxes of makeup? Time to toss!

Pretend you're going on a trip for a week. Pack what you need. Now throw out EVERYTHING that's left in the bathroom. No, I'm NOT kidding! If you're not taking all gazillion skin care products on a week-long trip, you're not likely to use them at home either.

Check the expiration dates on the drugs, and make a shopping list of what you need to keep on hand.

We don't have a medicine cabinet in the bathroom, so daily meds are kept in the kitchen cupboard. There are two small baskets in the top of the hall closet. One has "sick" stuff (thermometer, cough syrup, cold & allergy pills, etc.) and the other has "injured" stuff (bandaids, neosporin, gauze pads, etc.).

Now go pack "for a trip" and start tossing! LOL Wish I was there to see the smile on your face when your bathroom clutter disappears before your eyes!!!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 6:15PM
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Julie has a GREAT idea. It's exactly when I've had to pack for business trips that I realize what are my "essentials". That makes it easier to purge. Most of my grooming products are non-negotiable and are standbys. I won't even try new ones. I'll buy my standbys in bulk when on sale, but I've stopped myself from buying "new" products because they're on sale. Where I got into serious trouble was with skin lotions, shower gels and makeup. Yikes! Can we say product addiction? I went through everything last fall and really really purged a lot. Gave everything to a SIL. I still have too much stuff. I know, because some drawers don't get opened for weeks. What I kept forgetting is how long a bottle of product will last. I'd buy something because it was on sale, "forgetting" that I already had a half full bottle of another brand at home. These are the rules I now use to keep bathroom clutter at bay:
-don't set foot in a drugstore unless I need something very specific that I don't have (make a beeline for said item and keep blinders on)
-be realistic: a 500 ml bottle of lotion will last quite a few months - don't even think of buying another until I'm down to the last inch of product
-don't believe in "miracle" products: that new shampoo or lotion will NOT solve all my beauty problems and if I MUST try it, I force myself to finish the current one first
-as soon as I realize a product doesn't work for me, I give it away
-I keep asking myself how many eye shadows/lipsticks/foundations do I really NEED?? More than 3 of any makeup product is just product addiction and I should be spending my money elsewhere (saving it, perhaps?)
The other great idea mentioned here is the container one - don't buy more product than can fit the assigned storage space (obvious, perhaps, but it's interesting to see how quickly products can multiply and new storage sites can be found to store them).

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 9:17PM
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With each house I've acquired more space in the bathroom, and yet I never really see that space. I have quite a bit of space in this bathroom, and yet every space is filled and I cannot find anything. When I had a smaller bathroom, I was forced to get rid of stuff on a regular basis. I've noticed that in this house, with the extra space, I have not been good about purging. And so all of my cabinets are stuffed. Time to toss!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 2:34AM
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Julie, I really like your idea of two baskets, one for sickness and one for injuries. I'm contemplating reorganizing my linen closet (we have NO storage in the bathroom beyond a positively miniature medicine cabinet) and that might work if I expand to four baskets or plastic containers (medicine, stuff for injuries, soap/toothpaste/shampoo, personal products). At the moment I have a large cardboard box on the lowest shelf that houses a tumble of extra shampoo, toothpaste, soap, lightbulbs, medicine, goodness knows what else might be in there. I have to dig to find anything.

Since my DS is home sick and I'm not going anywhere, I think that might be my project for today.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 8:43AM
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All of our bathrooms are plain jane tub, toilet and sink.

Medicine--taken by mouth, then it goes in a kitchen cabinet. Goes on the body, then we have a drawer in the bathroom for those items.

Soaps, etc. I guess we just use very few. I keep all of the toilet paper in the bathroom, so the main area under the sink is filled with that.

My DD has a small basket of her stuff which she puts back under the counter when finished. My makeup is in a big ziplock. I don't use it much. The counter has toothpaste and brushes. My moisturizer and a bottle of hand soap. And one nice candle I light during baths.

I had to go double check, but that's it.

Just go weed the stuff out and remember that shelters really like getting personal care products.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 7:39PM
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I use very small, rectangular plastic baskets and I really like how it works. Need a bandaid? Top of the closet, left basket. Benadryl? Right basket. LOL

Funny thing is I originally put them in the top of the hall closet so the kids couldn't reach them. The baskets are still there, and the kids are taller than me!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 6:01AM
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Julie, I will be getting some of those baskets next time I'm out shopping. I did empty the catch-all box in the linen closet yesterday and found some surprising things, including a roll of wallpaper, an ancient curling iron, and a bag of Pull-Ups (my youngest is almost 7!). I was quite pleased with what I tossed, and what's left is actually useful stuff. Now it just needs to be organized.

Thanks for the inspiration!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 8:30AM
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I have one of those 3-tier wire mesh baskets hanging in my bath/shower which holds shampoo, conditioner, razor, Skintimate, pumice, etc. with an "s" hook to hang the net scrubber. It's a big help.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 6:46PM
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Don't you just love throwing out "surprises" you find stuck in odd places? LOL

Cleaning out my son's closet before he left for college we found a baby big on the top shelf, and my wedding shoes I thought I had tossed years earlier.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 3:21PM
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How do you get this to work for a teenage girl? Please????? Somebody tell me???

When DS went to college this fall, we told DD she could have the bathroom they once shared. She used to keep all her toiletries in her room so he wouldn't use/share/damage them. So we painted, stenciled, decorated the walls, bought new lighting, matching counter accessories, beautiful towels: something I don't even have in MY bathroom.

She had always moaned about her sloppy brother spilling his toothpaste on the counter. Then we knew we HAD a counter. Now she has FILLED every square inch of the counter, plus baskets, shelves, etc. The floor is so full with toiletry overflow plus towels and tangled rugs, you can't even walk in there. If her friends come over she locks that door and tells them to use our bathroom!

She has room to store and the tools to do it. She always says she needs to "see" what she has. I don't buy these products: I think they spawn by themselves. (I pay for the basics only. All the girls seem to buy these things as gifts for each other when somebody has a birthday) When she is in a rush and there's no square inch left open to put the hair straightener, dryer, makeup caddy, whatever she needs to get ready, she'll run to our bathroom or the powder room and do it there. Then I have to put it away before I can wash my face, etc. We're now renovating the tiny 5 x 5 powder room and I'm planning on much LESS storage. What we have is almost all filled with her stuff anyway.

I'm not a neatnik but it drives me nuts when I think of the time and money I spent making "her" bathroom beautiful! It came out so well she had a party to show her friends. Now they can't even go in there.

Thanks for letting me vent. That felt good.

But now does anyone have any suggestions?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 8:41PM
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Maybe the bathroom is such an overwhelming mess that she does not know where or how to start. She knows it's bad or she wouldn't close the door when friends come.

Realizing that teenagers are not always the most cooperative people, tell her you would like to work with her on the weekend to organize the bathroom. She may say "no" in which case she can do it without you. If she has excess beauty products, they could be stored or donated. Get some baskets or bins to organize if you need them. Really, she should not leave in the morning until towels are picked up off the floor and bath is tidied. Takes 2 minutes, max.

Then you can make a regular weekend chore for her to clean and do any further organizing the bath needs. She goes nowhere on the weekend until it is done. This really isn't asking a lot, but I assume the rest of your house doesn't look like her bath, she needs to keep it up to the standard of your home.

If she is using allowance money from parents to buy more beauty products, this should come to a fast halt.

I know this is all easier said than done, but it's a goal!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 11:03PM
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Linnea, I'm not looking forward to the girl teen years around here.

Personally, I would just make it a natural consequence. Tell her that she may NOT allow/tell/send her friends to your bathroom because she chooses not to keep her nicely decorated bathroom in good shape.

The same applies to herself. She has her own bathroom and yours should be off limits.

Explain (nicely of course) that her friends in your bathroom is an invasion of your privacy and she wouldn't want you sending your friends to her bathroom.

A couple of times of enforcing this and she'll either clean up her own mess or get use to dealing with it.

In our house, we call that taking up more than your fair share of space. She's lucky to even have her own bathroom.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 11:08PM
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We have one small bathroom. When we remodeled it, we added a closet instead of the wooden cabinet that was there. It has worked so much better! But, we still don't have room for junk to accumulate. We have a pedestal sink, so basically nothing except the soap dispenser will fit on top. That is one thing I love about a pedestal sink - no room for "stuff" to get out of hand.

I keep all my makeup in a makeup bag. I put it all back when I'm done & put it back in the closet. My hair things (dryer, spray gel, etc) are stored in one of those divided plastic totes. I do the same thing as with my makeup.

Some small stuff is stored in the medicine cabinet. In the closet, I have several labelled clear plastic shoe boxes to keep like things together - Dental, Shaving, First Aid, etc.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 7:58AM
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When I was in college, I shared a bathroom with eight or nine other girls. We had a "suite" dorm in those days, four bedrooms with a central living room and one large bathroom. We each purchased a bucket, kept our personal beauty supplies in it, and carried our buckets into the bathroom as needed. Now it's me, DH, and two teenage daughters. We three "girls" each have our own shampoo,conditioner, facial cleanser,deodorants, etc. I think I will buy three buckets. They can even be kept in the bathroom. It's gotta be better than leaving everything out on the vanity.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 11:01PM
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