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An easy checklist for organizing your bathroom

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If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you know that we’ve devoted the past few posts to helping you get your home organized. In fact, some of the staff here at The River Club have been using these tips to get their homes organized too! So far we’ve learned how to declutter, and have started using this to organize the bedrooms and kitchens in our homes. This week, we’re tackling one of the smallest romos in the house, but the most challenging for some people: the bathroom. So let’s get started.

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1.Take everything out of your bathroom cabinets, including the medicine cabinet, and put it on the floor- The exception to this is medications. Please make sure those are maintained out of the reach of children and pets.

2. Go to your linen cabinet and laundry room- Grab all the towels and bring them into the bathroom and put them on the floor along with all the items from the cabinets.

3. Evaluate each item- We recommend tackling items by categories. Start with towels, then move on to toiletry items, cleaning supplies, dry goods (toilet paper, paper towels, etc) and then perfumes/cosmetics. Take each item and hold it in your hands. Ask yourself, “Does this spark joy in me?” If not, ask yourself another question, “Is this item useful?” If you answered no to both questions, it’s time to let that item go. If you feel bad throwing it away, take the time to thank it for its service (sounds a bit goofy but this is a really good way of practicing gratitude and letting go) and then either throw or give it away. OK: you don’t have to do this with the toilet paper but it does raise an interesting point. If you’re a Costco or Walmart shopper but are limited on storage space, it is worth asking yourself if saving a small amount of money is worth having tens of extra rolls of toilet paper, or other goods, cluttering up your home and preventing you from having the piece of mind, and efficient lifestyle, that having an organized home can gain us. The truth is, many of us simply don’t stop to think about the value of having an organized home. Keeping things organized can save a lot of time and money in the long run.

4. Dispose of expired medications- Make sure to do this in a safe manner, particularly if there are children or pets in your home.

5. Evaluate your toiletry articles-Do you have duplicate bottles of shampoo or conditioner open? Or maybe you’re a soap hoarder (I admit I am guilty of this. I love buying fancy soaps but I can use at most two bars a year. It’s a problem that I have only recently started to come to terms with). Whatever it may be, try and consolidate duplicate products into one large bottle. If you travel frequently, it can be useful to stock small travel sizes of everything in Ziploc bags so you can one ready to go whenever you travel.

6. Evaluate your cosmetics- Even if ítems survived our two key questions (do you love it and is it useful), make sure nothing has gone bad. Mascaras should be thrown out every three months, at the very maximum, to avoid eye infections. Better to use a cheaper brand and purchase more frequently than to risk eye damage. Liquid foundations should be tossed after six months, face powders can last two years. Lipsticks can last two years (unless they’re discolored- then better to toss), nail polish can last about a year. If it starts to get sticky and hard to spread, better to throw it away. Tip- nail polish lasts much longer in the refrigerator if you have space and your husband doesn’t complain about it too much. Key word in that last sentence is “too”- not worth ruining the marriage over! Sunscreens all carry an expiration date. Treat them like medications- if the expiration has passed, throw away no matter how expensive they were. Finally, most perfumes last three to five years. To prolong their life, store them in a cool, dark place. This is one place where it is cost effective to buy higher quality products. Perfumes with a high concentration of essential oils last longer than those that contain vegetable oils, which are subject to rancidity.

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7. Clean everything- Let’s face it, the bathroom has the potential to be one of the dirtiest rooms in the house, for pretty obvious reasons. The key is to keep it very clean- the simplest way to do this is to use a lot of bleach. Make sure you clean not just the bathroom surfaces, but also clean the insides of all cabinets, including the medicine cabinet.

Here’s our single best piece of advice on how to keep your bathroom germ free- train everyone in your house to put the lid of the toilet down before flushing. To quote WebMD, “According to Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of microbiology at University of Arizona in Tucson, flushing the toilet with the lid up is not wise. “Polluted water vapor erupts out of the flushing toilet bowl and it can take several hours for these particles to finally settle — not to mention where,” he says. “If you have your toothbrush too close to the toilet, you are brushing your teeth with what’s in your toilet.” Enough said.

8. Find a space for everything- Make sure everything has a place. After decluttering, you probably have a lot more space than you did before. If you are still challenged, measure the insides of your cabinets and the tops of your counters and take a trip to Target or The Container Store.

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9. Fold your towels properly- We here at The River Club have become huge fans of the Kon Mari organization technique. She believes all items should be folded and displayed so that you can see all of them.

towel foldingPIN10. Return everything to its proper place- Once you’ve decluttered, found proper storage and folded everything properly, this is the easiest step. The most important thing to remember: once you achieve this point, it will be a breeze to keep your bathroom clean and organized on a daily basis.

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