For the next month, we’ll be spring cleaning the easy way with our Spring Cleaning Made Easy series! The goal is to get the whole house clean — one mini task at a time — without having to set aside a whole week, or even a whole day, to clean.
Today we’re moving into the bathrooms, and how long this task takes you will depend not only on how much stuff you have in your bathroom but on how many bathrooms you have in your home!
We’re cleaning out the medicine cabinets and linen closets, home to toiletries, samples, towels, sheets and more. But, hey, at least we’re not scrubbing the toilets today!
The Medicine Cabinet
Let’s jump right in to the medicine cabinet.
Think about what medicine you use regularly and need to keep on hand and create an inventory list for yourself, similar to the one you keep in your pantry. Running out of the basics is never fun, especially in the middle of the night with a feverish toddler, so I try to stay aware of what we have and what we might need so that our stock never gets too low.
- Throw away expired medicines (be sure to follow the FDA’s recommendations for properly disposing of medicine).
- Make a list of medicines/homeopathic remedies you need before cold & flu season hits.
- Check for droppers, measuring cups, etc., but throw away extras (do you really need 7 of each?).
Samples & Stockpile
While it’s easy to get caught up in “the thrill of the hunt” and find yourself requesting every free sample that becomes available and stocking up on every product that someone in your family might one day need, I’m going to take a radical approach and tell you that it’s okay to only request the samples and buy the products you know you’ll use.
If your stockpile is overflowing already, then it may be time to declutter the excess and pass them on to someone who will actually use them.
- Organize your stockpile in your linen closet so you can actually see what you have.
- Put the earliest expiration date in the front to be sure you use it before it expires.
- Only keep the samples you’ll actually use. For example, I love to take the packets of shampoo & conditioner when we travel, but there are some samples that I’ll probably never use.
- Donate products you won’t use or have an abundance of. Discard expired products.
- Bonus tip: Create a guest basket with samples in case your guests forget something
Another common pitfall we’ve faced in the past is opening a new toothpaste/deodorant/whatever before the first one was completely empty, either because we wanted to switch flavors/scents/brands or because using a new one is easier than trying to squeeze the last bit out of the old one. Having a collection of almost-empty products in our bathrooms was a major contributor to the clutter.
My solution was to pack up all the extras in a storage bin and store it on a high shelf in the bathroom. We’re still able to get to them when we need something, but we’re less likely to pull out a new one before we need it. We try to follow the “one thing in, one thing out” rule and throw away older products (if we find that we don’t really like them or they’re not really effective) when we get out a new one.
- If you have an abundance of half-used toiletries, decide which ones you’re really going to use and toss the rest.
- Find a container or basket to hold your extras.
Towels, Towels and More Towels
It’s also easy to keep dozens of extra towels in your linen closet “just in case” you need them one day. If you find that you have way too many for your family’s needs, consider paring back to a number that’s closer to what you really need. Cut up worn towels as rags and pack the rest away in the basement so that you can get to them if you need them without having to deal with them on a daily basis.
If you have seasonal sheet sets, decide whether to keep the extras in the linen closet during the off-season or whether to pack them away (maybe with your off season clothes?). Then, use these handy tricks to keep your towels and sheets folded neatly in the closet so that you can make the most of your space!
Track your progress this month with the Spring Cleaning Made Easy checklist, which comes in two versions — one with dates to coincide with the live series and one with generic labels so you can do it on your own at another time. Click here to download or print your copy!
Tomorrow we’ll be scrubbing the bathroom fixtures and floors, so be sure to finish organizing and decluttering today!
How many bathrooms do you have in your home? What is your least favorite part of cleaning the bathroom?