- Rebecca Jo Rushdy
11 tips to declutter your bathroom quickly, according to organization experts
Woman & Home (Jan 2023):
Carrying out a thorough bathroom declutter is an achievable, satisfying task that feels essential for maintaining a sense of calm.
It might be one of the smallest rooms in your home, but your bathroom can easily fill with stuff, which can make it feel cramped and untidy – not what you want from a space that should be relaxing.
Just like decluttering your home, having a tidy bathroom can reap many benefits because we demand a lot of this compact space so it's important to make it efficient and calming to be in.
And while a bathroom cleanup is about organizing a small space, decluttering a bathroom has its own unique challenges – not least what to do with all those bottles and excess towels. A plan to declutter with precision is key for preventing this compact space from feeling overwhelmed.
DECLUTTER A BATHROOM – 11 PROFESSIONAL TIPS
If you know you've got a lot to organize, there's no need to feel daunted by the thought of decluttering. We've chatted with organization experts to find out how to clean and declutter your bathroom with ease.
Here are their top tips and tricks to tackle your bathroom declutter fast and effectively.
1. ASSESS THE SITUATION
Before you start organizing, you need to know what you're dealing with. When decluttering your bathroom, start by taking everything out, so you can see exactly what you’ve got – the same process if you were organizing kitchen cabinets or organizing a pantry.
"Bring it all out into the bedroom space on a sheet, in case of spillages," suggests Jasmine Sleigh of professional decluttering service Change Your Space. Then you can clean the bathroom, and decide what deserves to go back in.
If you’re finding the number of supplies a little overwhelming, Jasmine has a top tip: "Group types of toiletries together, so you can see all the shampoo supplies in one place, for example."
This is a good way of identifying over-stock, working out if you can prioritize using up the last of some bottles, or whether you can be ruthless with unused toiletries.
2. PURGE, PURGE, PURGE
Once you can see everything you have, it’s time to purge. First of all, decide what you use on a daily basis and put it to one side, explains Jane Lee, professional organizer, and declutterer at Jane Lee Interiors. Then, start to examine the rest of your supplies.
"Are there towels that always live at the bottom of the pile? Make-up that’s out of date or never used? Numerous hair brushes when you use the same one or two?" Make piles for items that should be thrown out, donated, or recycled.
"Be brutal and realistic," says Craig Hoareau, Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) member and managing director of A Tidy Mind London. "You will not be using those hotel sample bottles you collected on your travels and they certainly do not belong in your limited bathroom storage space."
Also, take a look at partially used supplies and ask yourself whether you’re ever really going to use them. "It’s hard to stomach just throwing them out," says Craig, "but at the same time, don’t treat your home like a landfill". Either you finish using them, give them away to friends, post them on a free sharing app or websites such as Facebook Marketplace or Olio or they go in the bin, he says.
3. DEAL WITH MEDICINES
It’s easy to accumulate medicines you no longer need, especially if you’ve been living in the same house for a while, so don’t neglect these as part of your bathroom declutter.
“You may have been on different medicines in the past and forgot to throw them out just in case, and they’ve made their way to the back of the medicine cabinet, pushing all the clutter forward,” says Tor Rydder, organizing expert and founder of Organizing.TV. “Go through your cupboards and dispose of anything that is expired or isn’t needed anymore.” Don’t forget that prescription medicines can be taken to the pharmacy for safe disposal.
While you’re at it, you might want to rethink whether you actually need medicines in your bathroom at all. “Many people keep first aid supplies or medicines in the bathroom, but they could also be stored in the kitchen,” notes productivity coach Juliet Landau-Pope, who looks for better solutions to help organize your life in general.
4. CONSIDER DUPLICATES
If you’re a bulk buyer, then bathroom supplies can easily pile up, causing more clutter in your space. “Consider whether you have the room to store excess items – if you don’t, it may not be worth it,” says Kate Ibbotson, founder of A Tidy Mind. ”Consider keeping only what you need in the bathroom and storing excess items in another room.”
Victoria Nicholson of The Spark Joy Collective agrees, “Unless you live somewhere remote, there’s no need to stockpile toiletries. Shops pay for storage space so you don’t have to.” Also, remember that ditching the clutter now will make your life easier in the future. “The less you have in your bathroom – the easier it is to clean!” says Victoria.
5. CLEAN UP, QUICKLY
Once you’ve removed everything you’ll want to carry out a quick bathroom cleaning routine before you start putting things back.
Mimi Bogelund of The Spark Joy Collective has a quick tip for getting things sparkling: “Let cleaning products do the work for you and start with spraying the sink, bath, shower, and toilet,” she says. “Leave for five minutes, then scrub, rinse, and if you need to, dry with a clean microfiber cloth.”
Also take a look at your cleaning products as part of your bathroom declutter: “Cleaning products and how they smell can either make you dread cleaning or at least not mind doing it,” says Mimi. “It made all the difference when I found a fragrance I really like.” Your preferred fragrance will help to make your house smell good as well as leave it sparkling clean.
6. GET THE RIGHT STORAGE
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to bathroom storage, but it’s likely that there’s space within your bathroom that you’re not utilizing – a common bathroom design mistake to make.
"Think about the vertical space and whether you can wall mount shelves or cupboards to store toiletries,” says Katherine Blackler, founder of SortMySpace. "Shallow cupboards are often the best to display just one or two rows of bottles clearly on each shelf. But if you already have fitted cupboards and they’re deeper, using boxes like Muji’s PP Vanity Case stackable range to create categories will make life easier."
What to do with all those bottles or products you use on a daily basis? "We love to use trays on countertops," says the chief stylist and floristry manager at Alexander James Interiors. "It makes surfaces easier to clean and can add a stylish, practical element to any room."
Another option for your daily items is a bin or caddy you can pull out on the counter for use and then store away, says Mary Jo Contello, of Organized by MJ. "Alternatively, a great item for small bathrooms without storage is an over-the-door storage system or a cart on wheels."
7. DON'T FORGET THE DOOR
You might have some extra space on or around your door that could help you if you’re short on storage. "Adding hanging storage to the back of a bathroom door can allow you even more storage space in an area that's often overlooked," says Poppy Duffree, founder and director of Organised Interiors.
"There’s often usable space above the bathroom door to mount an additional shelf to store spare toilet rolls, any extra bulk buy containers, or less frequently used products," adds Katherine. Hooks are another great way to utilize dead space on the back of your bathroom door.
8. ORGANIZE THE INSIDE
Shoving everything in a drawer or cupboard isn’t going to help you on your way to a zen, calm, and decluttered bathroom. So you may want to reorganize the inside of your storage, as well.
"Attach a magnetic strip to the inside of your bathroom cupboards," advises Lily Cameron, cleaning supervisor at Fantastic Services. "It’ll save you a lot of space and provide you with a place to store your tweezers, bobby pins, nail clippers, and nail filer. Placing your metal grooming supplies on it won’t only declutter the bathroom space but also give you better access to them.
Drawers can also be tidied up with some simple drawer dividers, the same as you would use to help organize kitchen drawers. "Use wooden or acrylic drawer dividers for different product groupings to create a home for items," says Craig.
9. LEARN THE ART OF FOLDING
Have you considered that the way you fold could be adding to the clutter in your bathroom? Lucy Ackroyd, head of design at Christy believes that folding and storing towels neatly can have a big impact on your space.
"If you have shelf space available, fold your towels into rectangles and stack them neatly with the folds facing outwards to create a spa-like look," Lucy suggests. "If you don’t have storage space in your bathroom, wicker baskets are a perfect solution. Not only are they super affordable, but they’re also aesthetically pleasing – a great way to add a touch of nature to a room."
"The best way to store towels in baskets is by folding them into thirds and then rolling them up. To be extra organized, and if you like everything in its own place, you can buy specific baskets for different-sized towels. A small basket next to your sink, for example, would be the perfect place to store your facecloths."
10. LABEL EVERYTHING
Once you’ve got everything where you want it, labeling it correctly can help you stay clutter-free. "Labelling not only makes it easier to find things but also makes it easier to know where they go back," says Craig.
Labels can also help keep things tidy if you’ve got multiple people using the bathroom, too. "There will be no excuse for things not being put back where they belong," says Craig.
11. ADOPT A 'ONE IN ONE OUT' POLICY
To keep on top of the clutter, Tor suggests a one-in, one-out policy for any room in the home that needs to be decluttered. "This policy is simple," he says, "when you buy something that you already own (a new shirt, new towels, new utensils, and so on) throw out the old one."
It's these simple daily habits that can keep your house clean and tidy long after you've carried out a bathroom declutter process.
In terms of the bathroom specifically, think about how many towels you need for your bathroom, and donate any excess, he says. Old towels can often be donated to animal rescue charities.
WHERE SHOULD TOILETRIES BE PLACED IN A BATHROOM?
Put the most frequently used toiletries in an easy to reach place
Consider using trays or separate caddys for morning and evening skincare products
Place toiletries in baskets, trays or caddys to make them easier to lift up and clean under
Keep spare items together so you know what you've got
clean decluttered bathroom with toiletries arranged on a tray
A tray is a great way to organize toiletries
HOW DO I ORGANIZE MY BATHROOM WITH A LOT OF STUFF?
Use boxes with lids to cut out visual clutter
Be ruthless in considering what you need to keep
Keep any spares in another room or out of reach, but labelled
Label everything so you know what you have
Place any almost used up items in your bag, to use while you're out and about
HOW SHOULD YOU ORGANIZE A SMALL CLUTTERED BATHROOM?
Consider adding in storage solutions
Use drawer dividers to keep drawers tidy
Roll your towels so they can be easily accessed
Only keep items you use every day in your bathroom
If you share a bathroom, buy toiletries you can all use instead of having multiples
Published in Woman & Home, written by Rosie Hilder, Jan 2023