You guys, it’s not as bad as it looks. I promise. I’m talking about the tumultuous pile of stuff growing in my bathroom. It’s terrible, it’s gross, and in this post, I take you through the 15-minute work-like-mad process I followed to get it straightened up.
Like all my decluttering stories, this one starts with a story. (After all, would I really just up and decide to declutter one day without a life-altering reason to do it? Heck no.)
You see, a few weeks ago, I realized that the stuff that sits on my bathroom counter was a big ol’ mess. But the thing is, it was full of things that I actually use on a regular basis, like lotion, body butter (yes, please!), toothpaste, makeup and the like. I thought about moving some of the things into my drawer and cabinet, but as soon as I opened them up, I realized they were full of stuff that I rarely or NEVER use.
So, like any good little declutterer, I set straight to work and took all of the stuff out and started to sort into piles of keep and donate. But alas, something shiny took my attention, and so my pile of stuff sat on my bathroom counter. For weeks.
And, it started to grow. After coming home from a trip, I took the toiletry bag out of our suitcase and started to empty it. But of course, since I didn’t have any room on my side of the counter, I started piling stuff onto my husband’s side. He wouldn’t mind, would he?
(I think he does, but lets it slide because he’s awesome like that. If only I could learn to “let it slide” when it comes to his dirty socks left by the couch. I’m working on it. In fact, there’s even been a few times I’ve picked up his socks, put them in the dirty laundry, and didn’t say a dang thing. I didn’t even bring it up as ammo when we got into an argument about something else. Progess!)
Anywho, the clutter grew and grew and my precious hubby never said a single thing about it…that is, until an empty plastic coffee can fell off the counter and nearly hit my four month old, who was sitting in his infant seat. My husband gave me a very rare for him stern look and said “This has got to change.”
I’m not going to point fingers as to who brought that container into the bathroom (ahem, 3 year old son of mine). But in all honesty, the fault was all mine. I’m the one who emptied out my cabinet onto the counter. I’m the one who started a project but never finished it. I’m the one who looked at the mess every time I sat on the toilet. I’m the one who told myself “I’ll get around to it,” but broke the promise again and again.
My husband pointed out that we had half an hour before we had to leave for church, so why not just do it now? I started to make excuses about how I still had to brush my hair and I wanted to put on some makeup, but then I stopped myself. Because I realized perfection was talking.
Perfection was telling me to wait for the perfect time to tackle this project. The magical time with a spare hour on my hands and no kids or other distractions. The mystical time when I wasn’t tired and I felt super motivated to get my life in order.
I’m here to tell you that if you wait for a time when your kids are happily occupied, you don’t have bags under your eyes AND you actually feel like cleaning, you’re probably going to wait a very long time.
I quit my excuses, quickly brushed my hair and put on some makeup, then set about straightening up my bathroom.
How to Declutter your Master Bathroom in 15 Minutes
1) Set a timer
First things first, I set a timer for 15 minutes. It was honestly all the time I had. If I hadn’t finished the whole set in those 15 minutes, c’est la vie. I’d get around to doing more of it at another time.
The goal isn’t perfection. The goal is just to finish as much of the project as you can in the little amount of time you have.
2) Throw out trash
Next up is trash. This is a super quick scan of the entire area to find things that are obviously trash, like empty ChapStick and Nose Frida packages, old worn out hair ties and lotion bottles that don’t even have a drop left. (Seriously, why am I keeping all these things?!) In the trash, they go.
3) Sequester donations
Go through your items and figure out what you would like to keep vs. what you would like to donate. Keep moving quickly. I find that, like peeling an onion, I’m much more successful at decluttering if I do it in layers.
Pick out the things that immediately catch your eye, throw them in a box or bag and immediately take them to a holding area designated for your donations. (For me, this is an area in my living room by the front door. Not ideal, but it gets the job done.)
4) Take out of place objects back to their “home”
Ahhh…doesn’t the bathroom look better already with all that trash and unused items out of the way? Now we want to look for the items that you want to keep but obviously do not belong in the bathroom.
I took all baby items and threw them on the changing table (a temporarily converted desk we have in the living room), and grabbed medicine and put them in our medicine and bandages cabinet in the hallway. A lint roller went to hang out with the doggy stuff and the infamous plastic coffee can made its way back to the recycling bin.
5) Organize what’s left
At this point, you should only be left with items that you actually use and that actually live in the bathroom. Do a quick sort and organize of these items. Don’t take hours on this. You can always come back and organize a little more every day as you brush your teeth.
Easy Peasy, Bathroom Squeezy
Ta da! Doesn’t this look ah-mazing?
And that’s how I decluttered and organized my bathroom in 15 minutes. And you guys, I even had time to wipe the counters clean!
And just so you don’t think I just shoved it all into my drawer and cabinet:
Is it perfect? No. Are there still way too many things on the counter? Yes. Is there still a mound of clutter by the toilet left over from recovering from birth? Yes.
But you’re missing the point. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. It’s about having a bathroom that isn’t so cluttered it’s hazardous to young children. It’s about having a breath of fresh air to look forward to when you sit down to use the toilet (Okay, maybe “breath of fresh air was the wrong phrase to use there). It’s about doing your makeup without having to scrounge through the mountain of stuff to find your eyebrow pencil. (Hate that.)
You can always come back and do more. Heck, imagine how great your bathroom would look if you came back and worked this hard at it every week. It only takes 15 minutes of your time (or 10 or 20 or whatever you have time for). You can completely change your bathroom (and your life) using 15 minutes at a time.