About two months ago my older sister moved to a new place with one of her friends. It took them almost no time to make their home beautiful and lived in, with a cool eclectic bohemian vibe. Although my sister’s personal belongings made it into the new place, they mostly got tossed wherever she found space. She’s been asking me for weeks to help her get organized. When you need something organized, I’m your go-to gal. I might not be the best at staying organized [which is why I re-organize regularly] but I’m a pro at getting organized and making a home for everything. When you have as much stuff as I do, you get good at finding places to put it all!
We started with the bathroom. Oh goodness! No, I’m only sort of kidding, it wasn’t actually that bad. Just a bit disorganized. I systematically went through all of her products with the tips I’m going to share with you. It took about an hour to complete and afterwards my sister’s response made it all worth it; “The bathroom finally makes sense now!” I was able to help my sister create organization out of minor chaos and I was able to walk her through the process of why I did what I did. I took photos along the way to share my progress with you, in hopes that my tips can help you the next time you find yourself in need of a little organization. Next time we’ll tackle the closet. [Yikes! ;)]
Step 1: Take a few photos
As with many projects, people like to get through the easy tasks first for a quick sense of accomplishment and productivity. The first thing you’ll want to do is take a few photos of all your storage areas. This has two purposes; 1) Preserve the memory of where everything was as a reference 2) Be able to show the Before and After photos to see the progress you made.
Step 2: Sort through your products
Now that you’ve taken some photos, be prepared to get your hands a little dirty. If your bathroom is completely disorganized you’ll want to take all your products out and put everything on the floor and counter space to systematically go through it all. As you go through the products you’ll want to do the following things as you go. These are the three things I find make the most sense when organizing beauty and bathroom products.
Tip 1. Toss all empty or expired products
This seems like a given but I’ll say it anyway: throw away old products and all empty containers. It’s just trash. Do you have a ton of boxes of band-aids? Consolidate them to one box to save space. The only containers worth cleaning out and saving are small pots because they’re good for transferring product from larger containers when you travel. Do you have makeup or skincare products that you can’t remember when you opened them? Now is the time to toss them.
Side note tip: write on your product and makeup containers with a sharpie when you open them. Most products have an expiration symbol to let you know how many months the product is good for after opening. Many makeup products last 3-12 months, though I do see a few products that last 24 or 36 months. Don’t want to use sharpie? Take a photo of the product and save it to a new album on your phone and label it something along the lines of ‘check for expiration’. Check back through the album once a month and see what needs to be tossed. This is a great tool to use when those gift with purchases come around at the department stores and you can’t remember when you opened your last mascara.
Tip 2. Set aside duplicate products
As you go through your products you might realize you have more than one of the same thing in your cabinets. Sales, gift with purchase, and Buy One Get Ones always get me too. You don’t want to waste your everyday space on the backups though. Only keep one out for your bathroom and store the other(s). If there’s an extra that’s unopened put it aside as is; if it’s open, grab a sharpie and write today’s date to remind yourself that it was opened before, as an example: B4 9/25/17. You’ll want to find a storage space to house all your extra products in one place together. You can find the space now or later. Either way, set these aside as you go through.
Tip 3. Organize products by category
Categories can include whatever makes sense to you. I used these categories: hair products, hair tools, skincare face products, makeup, first aid & medicine, lip products, face masks, nail polish, shower products, personal hygiene. As you go through the products make sections for each category on your floor to keep it all together.
Step 3: Designate a home for each category
Congratulations! You’ve gone through all of your products, tossed the old stuff and set aside the extras. Now that you have the products together that you want to be able to easily access on a daily basis you’re ready to find homes for it all. Survey how many products you have in each category and mentally fit the puzzle pieces together of where everything will make sense. If you’re less of a visual person you can write on pieces of paper and tape them within your cabinets or drawers in the meantime.
You’ll want to enlist the help of small storage containers to best utilize your space. Do you have a cute printed container that has no use? Use it to keep your lipglosses in; it’ll look pretty on display and you’ll be able to access them easily which means you’ll actually use them. Plastic containers are also great for organizing small items such as bobby pins and hair ties or to store first aid supplies together in one place.
Step 4: It’s finally time to… put everything in its new place!
You’ve organized everything out and found a home for it all, now it’s time to put it all away! Go through your products and put your products away in their new designated space. You want to do your best to keep all like-products together otherwise you’ll likely forget you have it and it’ll expire before you use it up. I’ll use my sister’s medicine cabinet as an example. When she first moved in she randomly shoved things into cabinets and drawers with no rhyme or reason.
My sister didn’t realize that there was an extra shelf hiding under the middle one. I opened up the space both by giving her the extra shelf for storage (hello 4 shelves is better than 3 when you have small products!) and by taking all the random first aid stuff out that rarely gets used. I organized her products by section rather than by shelf since it’s a waste of time to open each section to grab a similar product. The first section has skincare products, the second section hair products, and the third has miscellaneous oils. The top shelves hold her nail polishes; the first section the base, top and nail care products and the second section the nail polish colors.
If you have a small space you’ll want to utilize what you have to maximize the space. As I mentioned earlier, storage containers work wonders on helping you get organized and you can get them fairly inexpensive at places like Target, Ikea, and the Dollar Tree.
Step 5: Designate a home for your replenishment products
Now you’ve got all your regular stuff put away see if you have any storage space left. Up at the top of the cabinet in the hard to reach place, far under the sink in the hard to reach area? No space left? Okay, go find storage space in the hall closet, in a drawer, somewhere. Maybe you even have space under your bed? Buy a plastic storage box to keep your extra items for easy access. Regardless of where you end up storing your stuff try not to forget that you have a space with your extras. Check out what’s in your drawer before going shopping, or take a photo and save it to your favorites [or your ‘check for expiration’ album].
Congratulations! You’ve officially organized your bathroom. Now go run yourself a nice hot bath and enjoy how clean and organized your bathroom is!
Did you learn anything new from my tips above? <3
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Photo credit on blog title image from Jamie Street via Unsplash
I love a good declutter and organisation session! Good tip on marking products with a sharpie, it’s so easy to keep products (especially makeup) longer than we should. 🙂
Somebody must’ve told you that my bathroom is out of control. I NEEDED this. Thank you
Arielle Joy says
I’m so happy to hear you found it useful!
Cherryl Ehlenburg says
Thank you for the tips! That’s one area I need to work on!
I LOVE ORGANIZATION TIPS!! And these are super helpful! I need to organize my kid’s bathroom so bad! I need to get on it!
We have 2 bathrooms…and they are OUT OF CONTROL. I needed this in my life today. There is nothing like a good purge to begin the spring cleaning. lol
Arielle Joy says
This is your sign that it’s time to jump in and get it done. You’ll feel so much better once it’s cleaned up and organized!
Manasvi Neyol says
I am definitely going to implement some of these tips! Throwing away products would definitely be the most difficult since I’m a hoarder!
Arielle Joy says
I’m happy to help! Throwing away old products is always a good idea when trying to clean up, whether it’s your bathroom or kitchen 🙂
I have never used the picture method. I need to apply this concept to my children’s bathroom as well as in our pantry. My husband can’t seem to part ways with things in the “junk cabinet”. Maybe the licture idea will help us both 🙂 thanks for the idea.
Great tips! Love the idea of taking a photo of your products when you open them to date them! And having a designated area for extra products. Genius! Thanks for your tips. I look forward to organizing soon. ❤️
Sreya Gupta says
wow! These are some helpful tips. My bathroom is like the jungle of Amazon and I don’t know which I have kept where. I have to rummage through every cabinet to find out what I am looking for. Thanks for these tips.
DD's blog says
Very useful,informative post, thanks for sharing
Kyla Matton Osborne | 24 Carrot Diet says
That last tip is super important! We keep our replenishment products in the linen closet down the hall from the bathroom. Trying to keep the extras in the bathroom, in our case, would lead to a huge clutter!
Brandi Michel says
I love these tips! I’ve cleaned out and reorganized my bathroom cabinets too many times to count. Not sure way they get so out of control, so quickly! When I have duplicate items that have both been opened, I try to combine both into one if I can.
My bathroom is so small that I sometimes find it difficult to straighten it out because there’s no storage anywhere! One thing I do, however, it keep my replenishment products separate because it would just lead to too much clutter in my tiny bathroom.
Great post! x
Thanks for the really easy and practical steps. I need to take on our bathroom organization soon! It’s a neglected area for sure!
Nadalie Bardowell says
I really get a kick out of the first step; take pictures. It is very true and satisfying to see the progress especially when it was completely cluttered and out of hands the first time.
tachira wiltshire says
Decluttering is good for the soul! I don’t usually keep my products in the bathroom especially the beauty ones I have them in a separate storage space . I am guilty of keeping old and expired [products though I sometimes forget to check them or may half use them which is a bad habit. Loving the picture method the before and after really shows aht a huge difference cleaning out old products makes.
This article is really helpful, and organizing things in here will help me also what to replenish.
Whitney Roberts Kutch says
I am actually redoing my bathroom now!! These tips will be super helpful. thank you for sharing.
Evelyn, Path of Presence says
ah-ha! You tackle bathroom organization like I tackle a large set of dishes (and silver ware, pots, pans and the like) to wash =). Now, I’ve just got to carve out the time <3. BTW: I love your idea of taking pics – before and after so I can see the results!
That was so well done! My bathroom needs major organization. I like the idea of starting with a before pic, its a good way to stay motivated.
Thanks for the great tips. I find that I can manage to get my bathroom organized but my boyfriend always tends to keep it messy. Oy vey lol
Love to see pictures of before and after of a declutter/organization project. I took many of these tips and cleared out our ensuite and main bathroom. Just excellent!
Carrie pinkard says
Needed this today, my bathroom looks horrendous. I love your blog setup. It’s very easy to navigate. Thanks for sharing!
Lindsay AFM says
So many great organizing tips! Your bathroom looks fantastic!
This is basically the method I use anytime I am organizing any area of the house. It’s so good to go through and reorganize and take stock of what you have every few months or so.
This is so useful! I keep thinking I need to organise all my bathroom stuff, so will definitely try out your tips. 🙂 xxx
Holly Lasha says
These are great tips. I feel like my bathrooms always start organized and then my kids destroy them!!
I desperately need to go through all my bathroom junk and have a toss it out party. I’m sure some of that stuff expired 20 years ago haha!
All of these tips are amazing! I definitely need to make my bathroom more organized.
Abigail Darlington says
I LOVE purging my bathroom! I don’t know what it is, but something about throwing out old products is so cathartic
Becca Wilson says
These are some really great organization tips. There is so much little stuff in our bathroom I definitely needed this.