Friday, June 20, 2008

Organizing A Bathroom

Organizing a bathroom can be a particularly difficult challenge due to the small space and lack of storage. Many of us have experienced how disarray in the bathroom can sabotage the morning with frustration and wasted time looking for personal care items. We all know how a bad morning casts a pall on the rest of the day.

But organization can rescue you! Get out the boxes and let the fun begin. You’ll need a “throw-away” box, a “charity” box and a “keep” box. Empty out those drawers, shelves and cabinets.

Chances are your charity box will not contain as many items as it would have had we been organizing your closet. But here are a couple ideas for filling it: tattered towels and unopened, unexpired cosmetics. The Animal Protection Association and the Humane Society can use the towels to keep their four-legged guests comfortable. Women’s shelters can use cosmetics for their residents who often arrive with just the clothes they are wearing.

We have to chat about medicine and cosmetics. They are often kept way too long for reasons of frugality. Frugality is a virtue; however, ingesting drugs and using makeup beyond their expiration dates is a little like Russian roulette. Someone is going to get hurt. Dispose of expired medicine by filling the pill bottle with water and using tape to secure the cap. Remove the label if it is a prescription, and throw away the bottle. Do not flush drugs.

Cosmetics expire as well; in fact, some have very short life spans based on when they are opened. Mascara will only last two or three months. Even if you only used the mascara once during that time period, get rid of it. Once a tube of mascara is opened, its dark, moist interior becomes an incubator for growing germs. Sunscreen and anti-aging creams and lotions start losing their potency as soon as they are opened so discard these items a year after opening. The separation you see in nail polish and oil-free foundation occurs about one year after opening and is the signal to toss it. You can keep lipstick a whopping two years. Give your brain a break by using an indelible pen to write the expiration date on the bottle/case of the item when you open it.

Now let’s take a look at the cosmetic graveyard: the collection of cosmetics which seemed like a good idea at the time of purchase, but the concept just didn’t work out for you. Time will not change an unflattering color into a flattering one. By getting rid of the unflattering items you now have free space for items that work for you.

After minimizing the items in the bathroom to what is essential, store them with regard to how often you use them. Items that are used daily can be kept in a tray or small basket on the counter. The easy access will help streamline the morning, and the tray makes it easy to clean the bathroom. I saw a wire rack placed on the back of the bathroom door. Brilliant! Each shelf has a dedicated purpose – such as skin care and first aid – and everything is quickly accessible.

Consider other ways to improve access to items by eliminating the steps needed to get to them. Remove the lid to the hamper. Install hooks for the towels to eliminate folding. The arm-style toilet paper bar is much easier to load than the spring-loaded bar and may reduce the number of empty rolls encountered! Store some bathroom cleaning supplies under the sink and cleaning the bathroom will be easy. Disinfecting wipes are the ultimate in easy.

By simplifying and streamlining access to your items getting ready in the morning is easier and calmer. Plus the space is much easier to maintain and keep clean. You may find that you have enough time for that second cup of coffee in the morning.