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Creating order even in the smallest bathrooms
By Decluttering Coach Ulrike Cao of Skillfully Sorted
The struggle is real, especially if you are sharing a bathroom with other people. It can become a dumping ground for laundry, used toilet rolls and open toothpaste tubes.
Are you ready to get your bathroom looking its best?
Then follow these easy steps.
Take stock of the categories
Bathrooms tend to be home to many different items, including:
soaps and shower gels
cleaning products and toilet paper
personal grooming electrical items and supplies
Move all categories of items that don’t belong in the bathroom out of the bathroom. And if you share a bathroom with others, now is a good time to consult and get them on board to sort out their bathroom belongings.
Go through each category and rid yourself of all the outdated or unwanted things. If you are hanging on to any half-used lipsticks, moisturisers, tanning creams, rusty bobby-pins or other items that you don’t currently use, thank them for their service and bid them a fond farewell. If they are only second favourites now, they will never rise and shine again.
And honestly, that stockpile of hotel soaps we’re all keeping ‘just in case of guests’ needs to go. They’ll find better use donated to a charity than taking up space in your bathroom. Instead, treat yourself to a nice dispenser with a gorgeous shower gel that any houseguests would also happily use.
Find a place for everything
When it comes to storage locations, your bathroom offers some options. You can use the bath tub ledge or shelves for open storage and easy access, and vanities or small bathroom furniture for those things you’d rather have tucked away.
Shampoo and shower gels often come in decorative bottles that look great on display, but if you want to achieve a more uniform look, you can decant them into dispensers. At Skilfully Sorted, we like the simplehuman square soap pump dispenser for its solid build and wide opening, which makes it a breeze to refill. We use it for shower gel, shampoo, conditioners, hand soap and even dishwashing liquid.
Keep like items together and find a designated space for everything. Boxes of different sizes make good caddies to contain small items and group everyone’s personal grooming devices and cosmetics in one place. As always, shop your own home first, you’ll likely have many suitable boxes available already, then look for any that fit your specific needs.
Everything that you don’t want on display (like, hairdryer, flat iron, shavers, personal hygiene items and spare toilet paper rolls) should find a space behind closed doors in a vanity or cupboard. But even if tucked away, every item should have a designated space, and boxes will make it easy to put things back after use.
I usually prefer simple boxes of different shapes and sizes over specialty storage, but if you find it difficult to store your bulky bathroom electrics, there are some great options to make storing hair dryers and straighteners easy.
Depending on the storage space you have available in your bathroom, and the humidity level in your bathroom, some things might be better off outside of the bathroom:
Laundry basket – consider putting laundry baskets close to the wardrobe, rather than in the bathroom
Spare towels – these can go with your linen or in a spare drawer in the wardrobe to keep them fresh
Medications – if your bathroom is humid, medications are better off safely stored in a dry, cool room (unless directed otherwise), and locked away from curious little hands
Back stock – toilet paper, bathroom cleaner, hand wash or shampoo refills – these could find a dedicated home in the pantry or linen cupboard.
I regularly encounter bathrooms that are better stocked than the local drugstore, so let’s talk about bulk buying for a minute.
There are legitimate reasons to stock up – I know of some people who buy a certain recycled and charity-connected toilet paper, which only comes in lots of 52. Once a year, I buy a year’s worth of my favourite shower gel brand when it is on 25% discount plus free delivery. Then there are people living so remote that they only get to the shops once a month. But in most cases, too much stock comes from not having an overview of what is in the cupboard already, and how long it takes to go through an item.
Toothpaste, toilet paper, cleaner, personal hygiene products – how much of these do you really need at home? If you get to the shops regularly, try to work your way down to one of each, and get into a rhythm where you write things on a list as they get close to being used up. Replace only then, and soon you’ll get the hang of how often (or rather rarely) you really need to buy certain things, plus you reduce the need for extra storage space.
And that’s it, everything you need for an organised bathroom:
find a dedicated space for everything
check your existing storage furniture and boxes and buy exactly what you need to keep things in place
keep the back stock low and start a new shopping list routine to never run out of anything.
Ulrike Cao, owner of Skilfully Sorted and Professional Member of the IOPO (Institute of Professional Organisers). www.iopo.com.au
Ulrike is a Brisbane-based home organising consultant and tidying coach who specialises in the KonMari Method™ of tidying. She has trained with Marie Kondo in Chicago in 2017 and is passionate about helping her clients experience the transformative effect that a tidy and organised home can have on their time, stress levels and sense of self.