How to Simplify Your Bathroom (2019)

Today, I’ll show you how you can simplify your bathroom using The Three C’s:

1. Clear the clutter
2. Clean the space
3. Create an organizational system

This method helps you create a bathroom that’s tidy, clean, and super practical.

Let’s get started.

Bathroom before and after being simplified

Overview

Step #1

Clear the clutter from your bathroom

Step #2

Clean your bathroom

Step #3

Create an organizational system for your bathroom

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Step #1

Clear the Clutter from Your Bathroom

My favorite article from The Minimalists is 14 words long. It says, the “easiest way to organize your stuff… is to get rid of most of it.”

It’s true. We can’t possibly maintain an organized bathroom when we have to dig through our vanity with a pick-axe just to find the gems we really want and use.

That’s why the first step to simplify your bathroom is to clear the clutter.

Use the steps below as a guideline. Take a look at each item in your bathroom and ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”

If you’re uncertain about something, apply our 11 decluttering questions to help you mindfully and responsibly make the right decision for you.

Discard all expired medications, toiletries, and cosmetics

Start with something easy. Look through products that have an expiration date and throw out anything that’s expired.

Messy bathroom cabinets

The reason you should discard any expired products is because, according to an expiry guide by Clean My Space, they may lose their effectiveness and cause irritations.

Be careful with any personal care products that don’t have an expiration date on them. Although they lack an expiration date, they still have a limited shelf life (usually between a few months to a few years, depending on the item). Don’t use something you’ve kept past its shelf life. It isn’t worth the risk.

Deal with the half-used or almost-empty bottles and containers

Next, find all your half-used or almost-empty bottles of shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, floss, and other random items. You won’t throw these away (unless they’re expired). Instead, I want you to think about how you can use them up and, if possible, take up less space.

Messy shower shelf

To condense bottles and make more space in my own bathroom, I combined my half-empty bottles of shampoo and conditioner with the shampoo and conditioner I was currently using. I also add a little water to the bottles and shake them to get all of the product out before rinsing and recycling the emptied bottles.

I set aside one mini toothpaste (the one with the latest expiration date) in my travel bag. I force myself to use the others before buying any new toothpaste.

Get rid of duplicate items and items you don’t use

Decluttering helps us find all kinds of duplicates. In the bathroom, they might be nail clippers, tweezers, towels, or otherwise. Choose your favorite and let the others go.

Ayla holding two eyelash curlers

This does not include usable toiletries and cosmetics like soap, shampoo, sunscreen, and so forth. Set a goal for yourself to use up what you have before you buy more.

Reduce musty smelling towels and cloths

Get rid of your mildewy, musty-smelling towels. They’re full of bacteria.

Alternatively, you can try The Happier Homemaker’s trick by washing them on hot-hot-hot with a cup of vinegar, then again with a cup of baking soda (and no detergent).

I recommend keeping only as many towels as you normally use per laundry cycle, plus a few extra for guests or emergencies.

That’s 4 towels for my husband and I. We do laundry on a weekly basis and use 1-2 towels each during that week.

Remove other things that don’t bring you joy

Evaluate all of your novelty decorations and other accessories that add to your bathroom inventory. Ask yourself whether they bring you value, either through significant joy or utility. Then decide whether to keep them or let them go.

My husband and I have something we call the cut-the-bullshit decluttering rule: When in doubt, get it out.

If you think that’s a little too extreme, use our 11 mindful decluttering questions to help guide you towards the best decision for you.

Pack everything up

Finally, put the remaining toiletries and other bathroom items you’re keeping in a box. Push the box out of the bathroom and put on your cleaning gloves…

…it’s time to begin the deep cleaning.

Step #2

Clean Your Bathroom

Bathrooms collect all sorts of soap scum and gunk over time. There’s no point creating an organizational system for your bathroom if you’re just going to put things back into dirty drawers and cabinets.

That’s why the second step to simplify your bathroom is to clean it.

After all, the reason we’re simplifying our bathrooms is to get the satisfying feeling of having something that’s neat and tidy. To get that, we also need to make sure it’s clean.

Atle cleaning a bathroom counter

It’s much easier to clean when our things are out of the way. Get ready to dig into the corners, nooks, and crannies, and scrub away the goo.

Here’s a top-to-bottom cleaning guide to get you through it:

1. Clean on top of bathroom shelves and cabinets

First, start high. Wipe down the tops of your bathroom shelves and cabinets with an extendable duster. Alternatively, if you’re short like Ayla, pull up a step-stool and go over it with a wet rag.

These areas aren’t visible, which makes them the perfect place to raise an army of dust bunnies. Wipe them down before they take over your home.

2. Clean the bathroom mirror

The mirror is a reflection of your bathroom, literally, so let’s remove those streaks, smudges, and toothpaste sprays.

Apply a streak-free glass cleaner to your mirror and wipe it down with a microfiber glass cleaning cloth.

Atle cleaning a bathroom mirror with a squeege

Finish it off with a squeegee for a streakless finish.

3. Clean the bathroom sink and faucet

Next, scrub the faucet with baking soda until the lime buildup is gone and you are left with a nice, polished finish. Use the baking soda that fell from the faucet while cleaning to scrub around the sink area.

Finish it off with a wet rag and some natural all-purpose cleaner to remove any powder residue.

Ayla cleaning a bathroom sink with baking soda

We always keep baking soda with our cleaning supplies because it’s a great way to dig into tough stains. It’s also super affordable.

4. Clean the bathroom counters

Similar to how you cleaned the sink, use a wet rag and natural all-purpose cleaner to scrub away the soap scum and gunk on your bathroom counters.

Spray the toughest stains with the cleaner and let it sit for a moment to loosen the dried on gunk before scrubbing.

5. Clean your bathroom drawers and cabinets

Next, vacuum up all the crumblies that have collected in your drawers and cabinets over the years. Alternatively, you can dump them out on the floor (we’ll clean the floor at the end).

Atle cleaning a bathroom drawer

Wipe them down with a wet rag and use some natural all-purpose cleaner to kill bacteria, cut through the grime, and leave a pleasant scent.

6. Clean your shower and bathtub

This is where most of your soap scum gathers. That’s why it’s the area of your bathroom that usually takes the longest to clean.

I’ve found that the best way to clean your shower and bathtub is as follows:

  1. Scrub it down with baking soda and all-purpose cleaner
  2. Use your squeegee to remove the streaks and dirt
  3. Spray shower water or use a wet rag to remove the remaining soap and baking powder

7. Clean your toilet

Moving on to everyone’s favorite. First, use a swan-neck toilet bowl cleaner to go around the bowl’s inner edge.

While you let that sit, get a separate rag you only use for cleaning the toilet and your all-purpose cleaner. Start by cleaning the toilet lid, followed by the seat, and finally the edge of the bowl.

Next, use a new toilet-specific cloth to get the dust that has collected underneath your toilet and on the floor around it.

Finally, use your toilet brush to scrub the inside of the bowl. Then flush it.

8. Clean floor

Last, but not least, it’s time to clean the floor.

Use your vacuum or a broom to sweep up all the crumblies that came out of the drawers and cabinets.

Atle vacuuming a bathroom

Next, give it a good scrub with some gentle floor and tile cleanser. And finally, go over with a mop until it’s shiny and clean.

That’s it! Let’s move onto the organization part.

Step #3

Create an Organizational System for Your Bathroom

Many of us throw things randomly into drawers and cabinets without a system for where things go. Or, if we do create a system for organization, we’re unable to maintain it.

That’s why, in the final step to simplify your bathroom, I will help you create a practical organizational system that’s easy to remember and easy to maintain. This step should be even easier now that you’ve decluttered and cleaned your bathroom.

The key to designing a maintainable organizational system for your bathroom is to assign categories to each drawer, cabinet, and section of your bathroom.

There are several categories, or themes, you can organize by, such as…

  • Makeup
  • Dental care
  • Skin care
  • Hair care
  • Accessories
  • Nail care
  • Grooming
  • Towels

Bring your box of toiletries and other bathroom items back into your bathroom.

Look at your stuff, and categorize each item. As you start taking items out of the box, group them according to category on your bathroom floor.

This will help you estimate how much space you’ll need for each of your bathroom categories. It will also help you identify which categories should be broken up into smaller categories and which could combined with others.

Once you have your categories, it’s time to start putting things away.

I’ve included my recommendations below for how you can organize your bathroom. Every bathroom is different, as is the amount of stuff we keep in it. Please use these suggestions as rough guidelines for your own organization.

As a general rule, keep things where they are most practical for you. This varies depending on their purpose and how often you use them. For example, I hardly ever wear make-up, so my makeup bag is at the bottom and in the back of my vanity.

How to organize your bathroom drawers

Small items, such as medicine bottles, first aid, skin care, jewelry, makeup, hair accessories, and nail care, are ideal for drawers. This is because drawers prevent them from getting cluttered and lost.

Organized bathroom drawer

I recommend organizing each of your categories into small storage boxes that fit in your drawers. These keep the categories separate and prevent items from getting lost in the back of the drawer.

Even if you devote an entire drawer to a single category, I still recommend using boxes to separate the different kinds of products.

How to organize your medicine cabinet

The medicine cabinet is easily accessible which makes it perfect for items you use frequently.

The items kept here are also less exposed to all of the chemicals and particles floating around your bathroom. That’s why I keep my toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste here by placing them in a toothbrush holder.

I also keep my face wash, lotion, vitamins and allergy pills in my medicine cabinet for easy access.

Alternatively, it’s a great place for grooming supplies, everyday makeup, and other skin care products you use frequently.

How to organize under your bathroom sink

The under-the-sink area is less accessible and therefore ideal for items you use less frequently. It’s also a great place to store bulky items.

This is where I keep bathroom cleaning supplies, extra toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products.

Organized bathroom cabinet

It’s a common place for many of us to throw spray bottles, sponges, and washcloths to keep them out of sight. Rather than leaving everything loose, you can keep things organized by using organizing baskets. These prevent your stuff from becoming crowded, tipping over, and generally looking a mess.

How to organize your bathroom counter

Aside from hand soap, I prefer to keep my bathroom counters clear.

Bathroom counters collect a lot of dust and grime throughout the days. It’s easier to wipe them off and keep them clean if there’s less stuff on them.

Organized white bathroom

If you have limited space and need to use your bathroom counter, I recommend only keeping your most frequently used items here.

You might also want to get a bathroom countertop organizer, which is ideal for small cosmetics and toiletries that you use daily.

How to organize your bathroom cabinet

Your bathroom cabinet is ideal for storing hand towels and washcloths. It’s also a great place to keep bulkier items, such as hair dryers and curling irons.

Alternatively, you can turn it into more drawer space or store your towels there.

How to organize your bathroom shelves

Bathroom shelves are great for storing bulky items like bath towels, beach towels, humidifiers, and other similar items.

Organized bathroom shelf

I like folding towels and storing them in baskets to keep them contained and looking tidy.

How to organize your shower and bathtub

Finally, there’s the shower and the bathtub – the two most grimy areas of the bathroom.

Hopefully, decluttering has helped you reduce the number of soaps, shampoo bottles, and conditioners you have. Place the remaining items on a bathroom shelf or in an organizer caddy you can hang over the shower head to keep them off the floor and edges of the bathtub.

Organized shower shelf

And there you go!

Now your bathroom should be neatly organized by category and frequency of use.

Thank You For Reading

I hope this guide has helped you simplify your bathroom in a way that’s practical, sustainable, and that fits your needs.

Atle cleaning the inside of a bathroom cabinet

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Thank you – and see you soon!

Ayla

Ayla

Ayla is a co-founder, writer, and designer at Bloopy Things. She helps individuals embrace simple living through practical and actionable guides in all areas of life.

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Ayla & Atle

We're a husband-and-wife team who help you simplify your life so you can focus on the things that truly matter and still have some time left for the bloopy things.

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