Conquering the Bathroom - FINALLY!

UGH! The before photo...
I don't know about all of you, but my master bathroom was a literal disaster. I'm pretty sure it could have easily been quarantined and require hazmat suits to entering. 

I struggle with depression. It is a struggle that is very real, and can be quite debilitating. For me, it meant that my master bath became a place where I just dreaded to go. Period. I started using the guest bath for the needful, mostly because it was always kept clean. And still is. But the master bathroom? No. I wanted nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with it.

My bath powder often made some serious messes
Now that I've conquered my depression, I needed to conquer areas in my home that seemed to feed that depression. Enter my master bathroom. As you can see by my before photos (I don't have a view from under the sink, but just envision a multitude of mismatched items just thrown under the sink), the room was a disaster. The medicine cabinet was over-flowing, the long vanity counter top was unrecognizable, and boxes that were shoved unopened below the vanity were covered in bath powder. Something had to give, and it was either me or the clutter. And as a woman who maintains a blog on decluttering, it had to be the me that wins.

To do this, I separated it out into four phases: 

Phase 1 - Remove everything (and I mean EVERYTHING)

Yes, and I do mean everything! I took two baskets (that would be used later) and filled them to the brim with everything that was on top and under the vanity, and then filled them even further with everything from the medicine cabinet. If I knew immediately it was no good or empty, it went into a trash bag I kept by the sink. I moved fast as removing things is the easiest part of decluttering.

Phase 2 - Clean all surfaces

This was actually easier than I expected. Once you have a clutter free surface, dousing it with your favorite bathroom cleaner and then scrubbing becomes a much easier and faster task. And as any woman knows, stray hair gets everywhere and is hard to clean. To gather the hair that didn't want to come off the counters easier, I used my paper towels from cleaning the mirror to swipe them up. For some reason, sponges and clothes just keep pushing them around, while a quicker-picker-upper gathers them up nicely.

Phase 3 - Sort everything before putting them away

Now this is where a couple of baskets come in real handy. For mine, I made a keep pile, store pile, and trash pile. I went through everything very quickly. If it had not been opened at all, it went into the store pile. If it had been around awhile it went into the trash pile. If it had been used very recently, it went into the keep pile. I tried to keep a "one touch" rule, but due to the amount of hairspray and baby powder I use on a daily basis, each item had to be cleaned up before discerning it's disposition. 

The after of the cabinet below
Phase 4 - Put everything in its place

Everything must have a home. Nothing was to remain homeless. First, I organized everything that needed to go under the sink: cleaning supplies, nail care items, cotton swabs, cotton balls, first-aid items, rollers, and other toiletries. I had previously purchased the organizer to the right from Bed Bath & Beyond years ago during a decluttering session. Later I may purchase more like them for the other side, and even maybe for the guest bath vanity cabinet.

The after of the medicine cabinet

Before I get too much further, I must address the medicine cabinet. I had purchased it right after I moved into my new home three years ago. I had to install it all by myself and was pretty proud that it was sturdy and level once I was finished. However, I made one mistake: the doors were upside down, so they would never stay closed. So, before I finished putting things away, I took the doors off, cleaned them up, and put them back on the right way. Amazingly, they stay closed now! Imagine that!

To organize the cabinet, I placed items that were seldom used in the cabinet. These could include over the counter medications for all kinds of ailments from a cold to a headache. I also placed all of my prescription medications on the next shelf so that they were easy to access whenever I needed to refill my weekly pill box, which I placed on the bottom shelf where I could see it and remember to take on a daily basis. I then finished putting my smaller cosmetics on the lower shelf so that they were not cluttering the counter top.

The after of the counter top
I then began to place the most used items in their respective places on the counter. These included hair care items, lotions, makeup, cleansing wipes, dental hygiene products, and my dreaded baby powder (that mixes so nicely with hairspray, I might add...NOT!).  I already had two cute wire baskets I purchased years ago to organize and group everything. I purchased a makeup organizer for $7, a jar to hold my comb and brushes for $3, an oil jar for my mouthwash for $2, and a new dental toothbrush holder for $2. All from Walmart. My hair ties and scrunchies (yes, I still wear scrunchies) were placed in a white covered jar I had purchased many moons ago, as well.

The after of the under area
And finally, I paced my store items and electronics in the two baskets I had mentioned previously (I purchased these at Target about 4 years ago). I used the shelf to store my house shoes, scale, and lock box. I did not organize my drawer, or else I would have shown it as well. But the fact that I did all of this in one evening was enough to do alone. 

After I was finished, I turned the mirror into an inspiration board using dry erase markers. You can't really tell, but the mirror now says:

If you do not leave your past in the past, it will destroy your future. Live for what today has to offer, not for what yesterday has taken away!

I felt the need to write this blog tonight for two reasons:

For one, I felt the need to share my own accomplishment.

And for two, I could not for the life of me find any really great blogs on how to re-organize the bathroom! How wrong it that? But now one exists, and I sincerely hope that it will help you rediscover your personal space once again.