HHC Week Two: The Bathrooms

Okay y'all are awesome. So many people sent me screen shots of their decluttered home screens last week and man it was so inspiring to see y'all toss that digital clutter! I've been hard at work going through my own spaces and getting ready for the rest of the Happy Home Challenge and it's making such a huge positive impact on my daily life, that I can't wait for the rest of these coming weeks. If you didn't get the memo via social media, I decided to bring these to Mondays. It just made better sense for so many reasons, so here we are! Week Two and it's a good one, because we're headed into the bathroom.

Maybe the weirdest sentence I've typed on this blog... mm.. actually, maybe not.

For being some of the smallest rooms in our homes, bathrooms sure are expected to do a lot and store a lot, amiright? And especially for us, none of the bathrooms in our house are even slightly abound with storage, despite their frequent use. I mean... we get up and it's one of the first places we spend our time. And if the bathroom is a mess, cluttered, hard to navigate, then it can make you run late, and set a negative tone for the rest of your day. Then we come back home, get ready for bed, and invite that same clutter and mess into what is supposed to be a relaxed and peaceful time of day. 

SO... let's get this party started. 

Step One: Clean It Out

First, you have to clean it out. Simplify. And while I may sound a bit preachy, let's just get really real because this is what I started with just a few days ago.

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Our master bathroom is really small and has limited storage, so I had gotten into this really bad habit of storing stuff elsewhere. "Extra" hair and skin products, hot rollers, etc, were all in random bins and baskets in my closet. I had stuff stashed in my night stand. Not to mention the products I had cluttering up the medicine cabinet and drawers in the vanity. It was a darn mess. And I quickly realized I don't need this stuff. And even more.. I don't want it either. I wasn't using it.

I've found I stick to a pretty predictable routine every day. I don't experiment with makeup, I do my hair one of three ways, and keeping my routines quick and easy is ideal for me. So the set of hot rollers I used once - gone. The 2 extra hair brushes, the hair clips I don't use..The 20 lipsticks I don't wear - gone, gone, gone. I tend to go really simple for my day to day makeup and may wear a bit more eyeshadow or my favorite red lipstick for a date night but that's about it. So I kept my favorite palette and fav lip, and got rid of the rest. I don't want my valuable space being taken up by products just waiting to expire. I get my nails done regularly at the salon and haven't painted them myself in over two years because I hate it and it never turns out well. So I got rid of the polishes I'd been hoarding. 

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The key here, y'all - be honest with yourself and your habits. I always thought I loved beauty products but the truth is, I love feeling put together and pretty. I don't love the products or trying new things all the time. Pairing down and simplifying my products simplifies my routine and means I only use my favorite things every day. And isn't that how you want to start your morning? Surrounded by your favorite things that make you feel your best? 

Here are a couple guidelines I followed when cleaning out my own bathroom: 

  • If it has a dispenser that doesn't touch your face, it can be given away (like a pump or a spray). So it doesn't have to just go into the trash (unless it's expired!). I ended up listing some brushes and mostly unused bottles of things on a local buy/sell/trade board and made some cash doing it that way! 
  • If you haven't used it in the past two weeksish then toss it. You're not using it, and not likely to any time soon.
  • Take inventory of duplicate products that you know you'll use and put it in your phone so you don't re-buy since you already have it on hand.
  • Toss expired product. I like this chart for quick reference. When in doubt, throw it out.
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And maybe the most common hang up... the guilt. The guilt of having spent the money on something and then throwing it away. Here's the thing. You already spent that money, and you're not using it. So that money is already gone. Now you have something taking up useful space in your home, inviting clutter into your space and your head space, so it's not doing you any more favors. Get rid of the junk, make a pact to be more mindful of the products you're buying, and move on. Give yourself some grace, and just get it done. It may be eye opening for some, but the most important thing is that you make this a better space for you and your family. Don't keep clutter out of guilt, or for the sake of what "may" happen. Be honest about your habits, be ruthless, and you'll see a positive change. I promise. Getting rid of the unnecessary leaves room for what matters. 

Step Two: Put It Back

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And this is where the organizing can happen. I will advise you to not do what marketing and impulse tells you to do and go and buy more bins. Trust me - I LOVE bins. I have them all over my house. But you do not need to go out and spend money to be organized and have a lovely looking and well-functioning space. Here are my best tips for organizing the bathroom:

  • Leave breathing room in your shelves and drawers!
  • Corral small items in bins so they don't get lost and go unused.
  • Put items you often use at the same time together to streamline your routine.
  • Get rid of frustrating, busy, ugly packaging. I love glass jars for little things and they don't have to cost a thing. Keep your jam jars, candle jars... those are free and perfect for organizing small bits!
  • Keep everything where you can find it and see it. It's easy to forget things when they're out of sight, so keep things in plain sight so you'll use them. If you don't have the space, consider pairing down further. 
  • Conceal as much as possible. I'm not personally a fan of things sitting on counters. It tends to just invite more and more and more to sit out on the counter. Conceal as much as possible in your hidden storage. Give others a designated spot like a tray so it doesn't expand beyond that. 

And this goes beyond just your master bathroom. Do this in your kid bathrooms, guest bathrooms. It's amazing how much can lurk in those smallest rooms of the house, but they do. 

And finally...

Step Three: Make It Happy

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This isn't just called the Organized Home Challenge. The whole point is clearing out your spaces and making your home exactly where you want to be. My favorite ways to make a bathroom happy:

  • Keeping only products I love that make me feel like my best self
  • Fun pops of color. In the middle of purging, I decided to paint our medicine cabinets a deep charcoal color and now they make me happy every time I open them.
  • Something living in every room. Vases with foliage, a succulent, even a more leafy plant if you have the room and light.
  • Good lighting. You don't have to go buy a new light fixture, but bright bulbs with the right color temperature (we like 3000K for bathrooms!) are good for makeup application, waking up in the morning, and for making a space feel cleaner.
  • Good smells. Bathrooms can often get a bad rap for their smells. A small spray bottle with homemade linen spray is a great way to combat that. Combine in a small spray bottle water, and a few drops lemon and lavender essential oils. Lemon is antimicrobial which is good for your towels and rugs, and lavender is a great stress reducer - awesome for hectic mornings and before bed.
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Okay - now go forth and conquer! I believe in you! If you tackle your bathroom this week, don't forget to post, tag me, and tag #happyhomechallenge so we can all cheer each other on!