Bathroom Decluttering And Safety Go Hand In Hand

Written by Neat Freak

Our bathrooms are quite often the smallest room in the house, the most cluttered, and possibly the most dangerous.  The challenge to find space in your bathrooms begins with deciding what should and should not be stored in the bathroom to begin with.  If you are trying to find a few creative ideas that will help you squeeze more things into your tiny bathroom, you may want to start by evaluating the items that are currently in there.    What’s in your medicine cabinet?  What’s in the drawers?  What’s on the shelves?  What’s under the sink?

medicine-cabinet

Medicine Cabinet – Let’s start with the medicine cabinet.  The name “medicine” cabinet would suggest that you store medicine in there.  Unfortunately, most people do.  However, any medicine you or your family ingest, whether prescription or not, should never be stored in a bathroom.  The humidity does terrible things to your pills, and may actually cause them to deteriorate and become less effective, or possibly not effective at all.  This goes for your vitamins, too.

Begin by removing everything from your medicine cabinet and putting it all in a box.  Wipe down the inside thoroughly with hot, soapy water and a clean cloth, then dry.  Now, look at each item that you have removed to determine if it is an item that is suitable to be stored in the bathroom.  You may use your medicine cabinet to store tools like fingernail clippers and files, scissors, and tweezers.  Go ahead and put toothpaste in there along with your floss.  Ointments, creams, lotions, and bandaids can be stored there, as well.

Once you’ve replaced the items in your medicine cabinet that are safe to store there, you should be left with a box of your medicines and vitamins.  Examine each container of prescription and non-prescription items, including over-the-counter pain relievers, and check for expiration dates.  Discard anything which has exceeded that date by flushing the contents down the toilet and disposing of the container.  If you can’t find an expiration date and can’t remember when you bought it, get rid of it.

You will need to find a place in another less humid room to store your medicines.  Most people find the top shelf of a kitchen pantry a good place, or that seldom used cabinet above the refrigerator for less often used medicines. If you have medicines or vitamins that you take every day, a sealed see-thru container next to your coffee cups is often a good place to keep them because you’ll usually not forget your coffee, and your medicines won’t be forgotten either.  Some folks find their underwear drawer the most likely place to store their medicines for obvious reasons.  Think it through a bit before you decide.

drawer

Drawers – If you have a couple drawers in your vanity, you have a great place to do some creative storage solving.  Adding organizer trays, whether designed specifically for bathrooms, or for kitchen drawers, will increase your storage capacity and keep your items clutter free. You won’t lose track of items that are constantly rolling into the back of the drawer.  Arrange your smaller items in groups of often used in front and less often used in the back.

You may find that your collection of make-up, along with the tools you use, would be perfectly at home in a drawer with dividers and organizers placed strategically.  However, don’t just start putting all your make-up away in your newly designed drawer space.  Now’s the time to sort through all your make-up and make sure that you are not keeping anything past its safe point.  Mascara is an especially nasty thing to keep too long.  It can become contaminated and should be discarded after using for three months.  Lipstick, too, should not be kept for long periods of time.  All your make-up brushes should be cleaned in a mild solution of ammonia and warm water.  Let the brushes soak for at least an hour, rinse, and dry well with paper towels.  You can give them a little blast of cool air from your blow dryer, stand them upright in a cup, and continue to let them dry overnight before using.

Your hair styling tools may also find the perfect home in a drawer in your bathroom.  Smaller items like hair clips, barretts, and ponytail bands, can be stored in the drawer in little containers.  I’ve found the cap from a can of hair spray is about the perfect size for those tiny objects, so have collected several of them just to sort those items.  Your family’s combs and brushes can lay alongside and be ready whenever anyone needs to get ready for the day.  Don’t forget to clean your combs and brushes often with soap and warm water.  Fill your bathroom sink with warm water and splash in some of your own shampoo.  Soak your combs and brushes overnight, then dry thoroughly.  Now your hair brushes are just as squeaky clean as your hair!

basket

Shelves – Whether you have built in shelves or stand alone shelves, normally that shelving is open to view. When you’re short on storage space, using your shelves for knick knacks and decorative items might not be a good option.  Consider purchasing some pretty baskets to put on your shelves to store extra soap, shampoo, and other personal items.  Using attractive baskets and boxes to hide your necessary clutter gives you a chance to make your bathroom clutter-free and pretty at the same time.  Your open shelves are also a great place to stack your nicer towels and washcloths.

If you do have room for candles, by all means put some on display if your bathroom is used by adults only.  However, you may still want to consider the safety factor.  Having a candle in a glass container may not be advisable.  If the candle gets knocked over, it could shatter and create a lot of pieces of broken glass on the floor.  As we all know, we never find all the broken pieces of glass when we are cleaning it up… we find it later when we step on it.

sink

Under The Sink – Cleaning supplies are often stored under the sink.  If you have small children in the house, this is obviously not a good idea.  Even with those installed lock things that are supposed to child-proof your cupboards, I wouldn’t trust them to protect against something as deadly as drain opener or toilet bowl cleaner.  Remove any and all cleaning solutions from under your sink and store them in your utility room with your other cleaners, preferably in a cupboard under a real lock and key.

After you’ve safely stored your cleaning supplies, go back into your bathroom and look at the space under your sink.  Give the space a thorough cleaning with hot, soapy water.  Dry it completely and start thinking about what you can store in that big space.

The most obvious use for this space under your sink is to store your paper products like toilet paper, tissue, feminine products, paper towels, and anything that is bulky but necessary to keep handy.  You may want to store your towels and washcloths under the sink, especially, if like most of us, you have a stack of towels that are not all that attractive.

There are countless organizing tools that you can add to your bathroom to help with the clutter.  Hooks that go over the door, bath toy bins, toothbrush holders, soup holders, curling iron holders, over-the-toilet shelves, and the list goes on.  When you focus on decluttering your bathroom with safety in mind, some of these items make sense, and some don’t.  If you have a baby or toddler in the house, you’ll need to pay special attention to every detail of your bathroom storage.  That way, when you are sharing the bathroom with your little one, you can relax and enjoy the moment.  Even have a laugh or two when your youngster crawls out from under the sink wearing all the bath towels!

When you’re done organizing your bathroom, come back and see what other tips and ideas we’ve come up with to help you get that clutter under control.

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