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Spring Cleaning Method: Baths

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We have a skylight in our bathroom that is a bellweather for the change of season. As the days get longer the skylight floods the room with natural light and invites me in to begin my day. Having everything I need at hand in a light-filled room is a mood-booster when I have a long day ahead of me, so the approach of Spring is a good reminder to spruce up the organization in the bath. 

Bathrooms are relatively easy to organize due to a number of factors; they aren’t filled with sentimental items, they are smaller than other rooms in the home and they contain fairly consistent product categories. This week I’m giving a simple primer for a simple Spring Clean in your primary bath that will streamline your morning routine and give you a few precious extra minutes to spend elsewhere in your day. 

category cull

Everyone has a slightly different bathroom routine but the kinds of products we use tends to be pretty consistent. The first step in your bathroom spruce-up is to gather your various products together and categorize them according to how you use them. I like to think about them in terms of the part of the body they are used for; hair, face, body, teeth, first aid/pharmacy. Separate the consumables (lotions, creams, oils) from the tools (hair dryer, water pic, etc.) 

Next separate the categories into micro categories. For instance ‘Face’ can include skin care and makeup, which have different uses. First aid vs. Pharmacy items can be separated. You don’t have to reduce every category to the smallest denominator but where you have a large category the micro-sort will prove useful. 

When you have everything sorted, quickly go through and toss any items that are past their expiration. This is especially important for anything in the pharmacy category but skincare products and makeup (especially mascara, replace every 6 mos) that are past their prime can go as well. Then be honest about things you purchased that you haven’t used and likely never will. Let them go as well. 

prime placement

Now you are ready to begin your organization. The first and most important placement should be for the products and tools that you use on a daily basis. You are going to skim those items off the top of their respective categories and give them the best real estate you have. They should get prime placement in the most accessible drawer, eye-level medicine cabinet shelf or potentially on the countertop. The clearer your countertop the more serene your bath space will feel but it isn’t always possible so be picky but also realistic. If you have to use your countertop I recommend a small tray to lend some elevation to whatever is sitting on your counter. 

The faster you can get to the things you use most often the quicker your routine will go in the morning. It’s okay that they are separated from the other items in their category, what’s most important is that the things you use most often are right there where you need them. 

savvy storage

So what about everything else? Now you are free to assess your available space remaining and what storage options will work best for your categories. I like small acrylic bins or trays in the bath for segmenting each category appropriately. There are also some specialty organizers for beauty products that can be useful if you are a beauty maven with a lot of product to house. 

My favorite solution to add more storage space in a bath is a vertical over-the-door rack like this one from Elfa. It has a ton of capacity and can be really useful for housing backstock of bulkier items like bath gel or epsom salt. If the back of your bathroom door is currently reserved for robes or towels I suggest adding hooks elsewhere on the walls to make room for the rack. 

This is the process I use consistently with clients; it’s fairly straightforward and works in both large and small baths.  Once you’ve done your own bath the process can be easily replicated in the other baths throughout the home, with some extra care taken in the guest bath to provide small bins with travel size products in each of the primary categories. A streamlined and organized bath is a pleasure to spend time in, and I highly recommend a skylight to complete the look! 

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