Monday, May 23, 2016

Whole House Purge: The Bathroom

I love a good house purge any time of the year but especially January (starting the year fresh) and as soon as the weather turns warm.  There is just something about packing away Christmas decorations and opening windows that make me want to get rid of half my belongings.  My sisters and I have our next garage sale planned for early June so that means this is the time to go through all the closets, cupboards, and drawers, looking for anything that survived (one of) the last purge.  And I thought I was pretty strict about what we kept before our last garage sale!

My "get rid of" pile is once again taking over the basement. I find it strangely exciting to get rid of that many things and marvel in my newly cleaned spaces.  This week is going to be a series of posts, each focusing on a different room of the house, on things you can do to clean-up and purge.  Also, focusing on what we've gotten rid of but I know this is SOOOOO different for anyone.  What I can gladly part with you might never dream of giving up and vice versa. 

First up: The Bathroom (and bathroom linens)

This does not have to be done at the same time as cleaning your bathroom(s) but it doesn't hurt to have everything clean all at the same time.  If you are (un)lucky like us, you have one bathroom and this is a quick one to check off the list.  The only time having one bathroom is a plus is when it's time to clean it.

1) Empty everything (can be done in pieces if you don't have somewhere to easily put everything at once) and CLEAN.  This sounds pointless but TRUST ME.  I've done a lot of cleaning and purging and always do a better job when I completely start from scratch.   Spray and wipe every surface. 

2) Group similar things together like hand towels, bath towels, medicines, extra toiletries, etc.

3) Figure out what you can get rid of.  Easy targets:
  • expired medicine (prescription or OTC)
  • sample size of anything you don't actually use (or set aside and use those up!  We went through a 6-8 week period a few years ago when we only used hotel shampoo, conditioner, bars of soap, and lotion.  We now keep a few of each on hand for traveling and use up everything else as we get it.  Or don't take them if you won't use them).
  • Make-up you tried and don't like or that you haven't used in years (There are many checklists for how long you should keep make-up.  Besides mascara, which I replace every 6 months, I will keep anything until it is used up UNLESS I don't like or use it.  Such as, all too recently I got rid of the gold eye shadow we used for my FRESHMAN year color guard.  I don't want to admit how long I had that...but you might be able to do the math.)
  • Extra towels - hand, bath, or wash cloths.  Figure out how many you use, add a few for guests, and only keep that many!  (see below)
  • Stretched out hair bands and ties
  • Anything that would be better kept in other rooms - piled up magazines, toys, clothes, etc. (I don't know what people keep in their bathrooms, we don't have room for anything extra!)

On the subject of towels.  It is very easy to get too many.  I don't know how many bath towels I've gotten rid of over the years but it's a lot (and I've had good luck selling these at garage sales!).  We now keep 2 each for Matt and I along with a set of guest towels.  Luke has 3 bath towels.  If you frequently have guests you might need more but we rarely have people spend the night (no guest room) and so two is plenty.  Same with wash cloths.  We use poofies in the shower so only keep about 6 wash cloths for guests or random face cleaning or whatever.  We have many more baby wash cloths but someday, hopefully, we will have multiple kids using those.  Hand towels can also easily multiply.  I have 10 (after getting rid of at least that many over that years), 7 seasonal (Christmas and summer mostly) and 3 to rotate through the rest of the year.  Probably still too many and when we have multiple bathrooms I won't have 10 for each, but for now it's nice having a little flexibility. 

We also cut down on bathroom "stuff" by Matt & I using the same body wash and the same shampoo & conditioner.  I also have a bottle of cheaper conditioner for shaving (cheaper than shaving cream).  Luke has one bottle of bubble bath/body wash/shampoo.  A few face things and we still don't have many bottles in the shower.  (But of many reasons a master bath is pretty high on my "must list" for our next house.  I would love not having bath toys in my shower.)  It's SO. MUCH. EASIER. than when we used to keep separate body washes. Curly and straight hair shampoos.  Weekend and weekday body washes (Ok, that was almost all me.).  We both know what we use, only need to store a minimum of bottles and it's less to think about when shopping.  I love simplifying.

4) Put things back in a way that makes sense.  All hand towels should go together.  All my make-up and face cleaning things are together.  All medications are grouped together as we best have space for.  All our extra toiletries, medications, make-up, etc. are together.  Besides giving everything a good clean, this is where emptying everything out really helps.  It's a lot easier to figure out what best goes where when you are starting from scratch.  And don't necessarily put everything back where it was.  Likely, it happened in ours, you start with a system, then things get changed and you just start putting things where they fit.  Then things start to get out of order.

5) Dispose, donate, put away, etc. everything that you decided should no longer go in the bathroom.  This means garage sale pile or donate extras, dispose of medications, put away the extra clothes.

6) Repeat as necessary for each bathroom.  While I'm enjoying one of the VERY SMALL benefits of only having one (small) bathroom.  Seriously, I have to take these little joys when I can.  We've all been yelled at more than once that someone needs the toilet that is currently occupied.  And when you have a potty training kid you know you have to finish up your business fast. 

Hopefully you've freed up some space and can now marvel in that.  I know when I've organized something really well when it stays organized and I don't need to redo it for months or years.  And when I keep going back to the room to visit my newly organized space and be amazed at how much better it looks. I definitely do that.   

    No comments: