Ah the bathroom, a place of such routine and regular use and often so overstuffed with crap and no organisation whatsoever. I'm going to work on the assumption your bathroom is much like mine - small with little storage.
We have a very small inbuilt 'medicine cabinet' over the sink and this slim line Ikea freestanding unit and that's it for storage in our bathroom. By my very nature I like to stock up when I find a bargain or when an item we particularly like goes into the sale or on offer, so we tend to need to fight for space. We have no room for toilet roll nor proper space for cleaning products so we try not to stock up on those too often - no more than 2 of any item bought when on offer. I'm of the firm opinion that buying too much when an item is on offer may save you a financial headache but may create a home life headache. How many times have you fought with your partner or housemate about the lack of space or how messy a room is? And how often would those problems have been solved if you'd stocked up less when things were on offer?
Let's set ourselves a challenge shall we? - Make a mess in your bathroom tonight. Get every single thing out of the cupboards. Every.Single.Thing - go on, do it.
Evaluate each item with the following questions
- Is it within a useable date?
- Is it half used and dried up?
- Do I like this product? Have I used it previously and broken out in spots or a rash?
- Why was it stowed away unloved in the back of the cupboard?
- Will I use it within the next 6 months?
Now, which items do you really want to keep? Be blunt, be honest with yourself.
Anything half opened or used throw away. Anything else (unopened and in date) that you don't want to keep, think about donating to a refuge or homeless shelter.
Before you can even think about fancy organisation systems you need to think about getting rid of some stuff and about the way you use it. If you completed the task set in this post about recognising your patterns and routines you should now be armed with the information to work out how you use your bathroom and maybe even an idea of what needs to be where.
Now you've dejunked your bathroom, sit down and read your notes from 'recognising your patterns' task and start to group together your products. Obviously everyone has different routines and patterns so the examples I give will be my own - hopefully you'll get the idea or just some food for thought.
Let's think about one routine most women perform daily
Removing make up and taking hair down
- Do you take your make up off over the sink? Why are your cotton pads at the opposite side of the room from your make up remover?
- Do you use a hair tie or hair band to keep your hair out of the way? Why not side a hair tie over the bottle of make up remover?
- Do you take your hair down and remove grips and bands, plonking on the side of the sink? Why not pop a little dish into your over the sink cabinet or on a shelf to collect them in one place - you can then return them to their home once a week.
The cupboard above our sink isn't ideal but it is what the landlord put there so we just have to get on with it. Here are a few ideas I employ
1. I keep a hairspray lid filled with cotton buds there for touching up any make up mistakes I spot or for cleaning ears. Others are kept elsewhere - where they are found most useful.
2. Small dish (came with a candle) - I keep hair ties here so I can tie my hair back when I wash my face.
3. Stash of cotton pads - I keep the big pack stowed away in the larger cupboard but it is much easier for me to keep two cotton pads per day above the sink for ease of use and speed.
4. Small ceramic dish (picked up in charity shop) - this is where I pop my kirby grips when I take them out. I return them to my dressing table once a week.
5. All items on this shelf are all essentials and easy to grab at.
6. Small cup (charity shop!) containing small, easy to misplace essentials like tweezers, toe nail ciphers, scissors and Mr Thrifty's comb. I also keep a baby toothbrush there for cleaning my jewellery.
How about small items with several uses?
Cotton buds if you will. I use them for several purposes so stashing them in one place means several trips back and forth. I keep a large packet of them stowed away in a cupboard but I have a small stash in the medicine cupboard over the sink, some more grouped together with my nail polish and nail polish remover and I even keep a few together with a baby toothbrush for cleaning my engagement ring or precious earrings.
You may have seen from this post (or the several billion photos on my Instagram feed) we have a new dog. We're pretty stringent about keeping Thrifty Towers free of muddy paws so we like to keep a towel by the front door to clean him off but sometimes that isn't enough and the little scamp will need a quick wash to get clean again.
Most of his paraphernalia is kept in the living room but obviously putting a dog in a sink and then dashing back and forth is a disaster waiting to happen. We therefore keep a tiny little pot of treats (the only way to get through doggie bath time, his shampoo, a small cup for pouring water on him and a towel in a basket in the bathroom so we can pull it out with ease.
Which tasks do you perform in the bathroom that don't fit the norm? Do you do your hand washing in there? Could you group together everything you need for the task and keep it in one place? Even if you have to keep it in another room or stowed away under the kitchen sink you can scoop it all up in one go and know you're all set.
How many items do you really need in the shower?
Is your shower a muddle of products, does it slow you down of a morning? Evaluate each item in your shower. Be honest with yourself, if you're drowning in a sea of disorganised clutter please just have a word with yourself. You're one person, not a branch of Boots - if you have more than 2 shampoos in your shower, you're probably a bit of a dick - I know I am. *cough, cough, wink*
Cheap items to use to keep organised
All this grouping together means you need things to group the items together in. Worry ye not, this need not cost you too much.
- Investigate lids. This sounds daft huh? But have a look at the lids for various items and have a think what you can keep in them - read a post I did about this very topic last year.
- Boxes. If you have a bathroom which doesn't get too steamy and ideal thing to use are gift boxes and beauty boxes. You can use both the lid and box to group items together nicely. Stow away shampoos in one, shower gels in another and place them on a shelf so you're able to pull them out as mini drawers.
- Plastic baskets. I've been able to pick up packs of 3 baskets from pound shops. They're easy to keep clean and often fab for stacking.
- B&M have some great over-the-door door hooks for £2.99, I picked one up recently and it has been very handy in keeping the towels, dressing gowns and bathmats off the floor and nicely dry.
P.P.S. Have you checked out the Pinterest board I created dedicated to organising.