By Amy Kennedy, Professional Home Organiser from The Organising Bee
Sharing a bathroom with multiple people can be tricky at the best of times. This definitely applies for young children and teenagers within the same family.
Simplifying the organisation and storage systems within a shared bathroom, can make it easier for your children to comfortably share the space and are more likely to keep it tidy without adult support.
Amy Kennedy, Professional Home Organiser from The Organising Bee explores different ways to maintain an organised bathroom when shared by children of different ages.
GIVE EACH CHILD THEIR OWN UNIQUE COLOUR
Colour code the key items used by each child – towels, hand towels, face washers, toothbrushes, hairbrushes etc. By ensuring that everything owned by child #1 is blue, everything owned by child #2 is green, and everything owned by child #3 is teal, for example, can make it easier for each child using the bathroom. They can immediately identify which item belongs to them and provides ownership and security in the knowledge that their siblings are less likely to use their things.
Plus, a big benefit as a parent is that you can easily determine which child is not hanging up their towel or putting their toothbrush in the toothbrush holder avoiding unnecessary conflict.
If your children already have items which are all the same colour, you can easily add a coloured name label or even wrap coloured washi or electrical tape around the handle of a toothbrush or hairbrush. You can also extend this colour coding into other areas, such as lunch boxes, drink bottles, swimming googles… anything really.
CREATE A DEDICATED STORAGE SPACE FOR EACH CHILD’S ITEMS
Rather than co-mingling all of your children’s items together within the vanity, consider separating each child’s personal grooming items into their own zone or section. The older your child gets the more important this is to maintain the overall organisation of the bathroom and their independence. It also reduces the chances of little sister’s sticky fingers getting into big sister’s make-up or personal hygiene supplies. Depending on the amount of space available, you could nominate each child their own drawer or have a separate basket which you can store within the vanity cupboard or on a separate shelving unit. Whatever option you choose, it is important to ensure that it is super simple for the child to access and if using a basket, they can easily remove it from the cupboard without your assistance. For this reason, I recommend against stacking baskets on top of each other. Look for plastic containers that easy to keep clean and can withstand moisture, like the SmartStore or Sterilite Basket ranges.
Consider nominating a dedicated space in the bathroom to hang each child’s towel and encourage your children to hang their towel in that space each time. Communication and persistence are key – eventually your children will remember where their own towel lives. If you don’t already have enough towel rails installed in your bathroom, a portable option like the 5 Tier Bamboo Ladder can be highly convenient.
INSTALL SEPARATE HOOKS FOR EACH CHILD’S BELONGINGS
Dedicated hooks for each child to hang their own face washer, hand towels and shower cap (if they use them) and anything else that they use regularly is highly convenient for most children. Place hooks, like the Umbra Flex Gel-Lock Double Hook (1-3 hooks per child) as close as possible to where the child will be using them at a height in which each child can reach – discreetly on the side of the vanity, near the bath or in the shower.
If you’ve got young children and teenagers sharing the bathroom, a way to make the bathroom feel less like an infant’s play space (which may be important for a teenage girl who likes to invite her friends around to get ready before heading out), you could consider storing the toys in plastic baskets with adequate drainage holes (like the Howards Rectangular Plastic Basket) that can neatly slide under a wall hung vanity or be placed within the bath when not in use. This is a neat way to ensure that the bathroom maintains a grown-up and mature feel, meeting the needs of both an older teenager and an infant.
HAVE A BIN AND LAUNDRY BASKET ACCESSIBLE IN THE BATHROOM
You want to make things as simple as possible for your children to keep tidy, and dirty clothing is usually one of the biggest culprits in the bathroom. By keeping a laundry basket in the bathroom provides your children the option to put dirty clothes directly in the washing basket when removing them. If you have space, a large laundry trolley like the Howards Large Laundry Trolley Cart – 3 Dividers can be convenient for the children and parents, come laundry sorting time. If short on space, the Banyan Bamboo Storage Ladder provides options to collect dirty laundry and to hang towels.
In the same vein, placing a rubbish or recycling bin in a highly convenient place within the bathroom, like on the vanity counter top or floor close to the shower increases the chances that your children are going to use it. Anything that helps to encourage putting empty packaging in a bin and stops empty shampoo bottles being left on the shower floor is a big plus.
PRE-PLAN A SCHEDULE OR ROSTER FOR BATHING & PERSONAL GROOMING
If you have multiple children needing to use the bathroom and they are all fighting for the space, it is definitely worth considering a schedule or roster for when each child has dedicated time to bath and groom. A simple way to approach it is for the teenagers and or pre-teens to shower in the morning before getting ready for school or later in the evening when younger children or infants are asleep. Infants and younger children could bathe late afternoon or early evening depending on your preference and families schedule.
If you have any questions, or simply want to clarify a point, please feel free to contact Amy directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Kennedy is a Professional Home Organiser and founder of The Organising Bee based in Canberra. Amy is a practical and fun-loving professional organiser who gets a buzz from supporting others to organise their home and life. She has supported hundreds of families within the Canberra region to ease the pressures of everyday life by reclaiming their space and time. The Organising Bee has been awarded the Best of Houzz Award for Service for the past 4 years (2017-2020) and is a Professional Member of the Institute of Professional Organisers (IOPO) and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).