Be gone, bulging cupboards and burgeoning bath toys! This quick, seven-step decluttering list will help you reclaim your bathroom. Pronto.
1. Too many towels
Tattered and faded bath towels that are past their prime could be taking up valuable space in your bathroom. So try to do a regular edit and keep just a couple of towels for each family member, plus one or two sets of guest towels. Relegate tatty old towels to the garage or shed where they can be recycled and used for odd jobs, or reinvent them as pet bedding.
2. Children’s bath toys
A busy family bathroom can be a tricky space to keep tidy, particularly if you have lots of bath times to negotiate with little ones. If your wet zone is overflowing with toys, however, it could be time to stem the flow and limit the number of bath toys allowed at any one time. A small box or drawer will keep them in one place, and anything that does not fit in the drawer, or is not the flavour of the month, can live elsewhere.
3. Travel-size toiletries
Small bottles of toiletries, samples and hotel freebies are tempting to collect and bring home, but they can take up drawer space at a rapid rate, and the amount of plastic and packaging involved for small quantities is wasteful and unnecessary. One set of refillable travel-size bottles is useful; any more is clutter. So if you’re hoarding numerous small containers, it’s time to have a clear-out.
4. Cleaning products
If the cupboard under your bathroom basin is stuffed with cleaning products and cloths, it could be time to edit them down to free up some space. While it can be useful to have a couple of everyday products close to hand, such as a surface cleaner, everything else could probably live in a utility cupboard or under the kitchen sink and just be brought into the bathroom when needed. This will avoid bulky duplicate cleaning bottles from cluttering up your cupboards.
5. Old make-up
If you have a bathroom drawer full of lipsticks, powders, pencils and make-up brushes of indeterminate age, it might be time to do an audit and get rid of anything that’s been hanging around for a bit too long. Not only do these items take up valuable storage space, old make-up can harbour bacteria. Quick rule of thumb? If you haven’t used it in recent memory, it probably needs to go.The damp environment in a bathroom also means this room isn’t necessarily the best place to store make-up. So if you have a dressing table or small worktop space in the bedroom, that might be better suited to housing your freshly pared-down make-up collection.
6. Excess packaging and products
Are your shelves stuffed with half-used products, duplicates and spare shampoo bottles? Have a good look at the items in your bathroom cupboards and ask yourself whether you really need everything, or if the contents of the bottles are likely to go off before you get a chance to use them up. Switching to products with minimal packaging and resisting the urge to stockpile will not only cut down on clutter in your cupboards, it will reduce your carbon footprint, too. To make a start, look for solid shampoo bars, and try solid soap instead of plastic bottles of shower gel.
Tip: Solid shampoo bars often leave less residue and soap scum than bottled shampoo, so can make cleaning your shower recess easier.
7. Out-of-date medicines
A first-aid kit is an essential piece of household equipment that’s often stored in the bathroom, but do you know exactly what’s in yours? More importantly, has anything expired? Have a look through your medicine cabinet or first-aid box and clear out anything that’s been open for a while, such as tubes of antiseptic, and check the ‘best before’ date on everything else. Out-of-date medicines all need to be safely disposed of and everything else needs to be stored up high, out of reach of children, and ideally in a locked cupboard or box.