Lot 48: how to declutter your life

June 26, 2017

how to declutter your life

happy monday everyone! have a special treat for you today! i am having steph from not entirely perfect guest post on the blog today! she is posting on a topic that has really helped me out in the past! i didn't know where to start and organizing can be so daunting.  she also gives tips for organizing if you are sharing space with other people! steph is the girl to help you out! should mention that this is not a sponsored post and that steph does not get compensation for the products listed below. take it away steph!


I know you were expecting Lauren today, so I hope I'm not too much of a disappointment.  I'm Steph and I blog over at Not Entirely Perfect.  In fact, Lauren is there today, so be sure to head over to read her post too.  If you've never been to my blog before, I talk mostly about organizing and simplifying your life, as well as just sharing general stories about my life and tons of photos of my dog.  But today, I want to focus on one organizing project - out of control bathroom cabinets and drawers.  It's something I helped Lauren with in the past and she's still enjoying her organized and decluttered space, so I want to share those same tips and tricks with you. (i really really am!- lauren ;))

Start With Decluttering

Cabinets, drawers, even if you want a more organized shower, you start with decluttering.  Remove absolutely everything from your space.  Yes, even if you swear you use everything and nothing is expired.  If that were true, the area wouldn't be messy.  Take it all out and spread it out on the floor - it's going to get worse before it gets better.  And then study every item.  Bathroom space is limited and precious.  This isn't an attic or a storage unit.  A product needs to earn it's keep here and truly deserve it's spot.  Start with the easy stuff by asking whether it even belongs in the bathroom.  If you have towels, could they move to a hallway linen closet?  Medicines should never be in the bathroom, the humidity of the shower spoils them faster, so move those too.  Next, double check expiration dates.  That's another easy way to clear stuff out - if it's bad, toss it.  Finally, the hardest step, keep only the best.  If you have 3 hairsprays but always use 1 favorite, and re-buy the favorite before even touching the other two, just let them go.  The feeling of having backups is comforting, I know, but you won't use them so just set them free.  You can donate these things and they will be very much appreciated.  (you can donate them to womens shelters) If you find yourself saying 'but what if,' let it go, you don't need it.  And if you start thinking 'but one day I'll use it,' imagine me next to you with an eyebrow raised asking 'will you really?'

Make Things Easy To Put Away

Putting things away is key to an organized bathroom.  Clutter attracts clutter - you leave one thing on the counter and it'll multiply by the time you come back the next day, as if by magic.  Also true if you just toss 30 things under the sink without a thought.  When things get messy and you have products all over your bathroom, it's because they're too hard to put away.  People want to design perfect systems based on how they think bathroom storage should work, but that's backwards.  Design for how you actually live.  If you want and need the item, you'll get it out, there's no reason to focus on making it super easy to access.  It's the putting away part that you need to make as easy as possible on yourself.  It might look nice in theory to have toothbrushes lined up in a drawer, but if you always leave it out on the counter because the drawer space is limited and crammed with hair ties, you're making it too hard.  Get yourself a cup on the counter for the toothbrushes and be done with it.  Same with heat styling tools.  People just adore the idea of wrapping the cord around the product and hanging it from a command hook on the inside of the cabinet door, under the sink.  I'm sure you've seen that.  Great in theory, but are you really about to wrap a plastic covered wire around a curling iron that was just 350 degrees?  Nope, you're going to leave it sitting out until it cools and then forget about it until the next time you use it and meanwhile it clutters your counter top.  Stop.  Get yourself a heat protecting cover that you can shove your iron into while it's still hot so you can put it away immediately, in a drawer or bin.

So after you declutter and have the pile of everything you want to put back into your bathroom, completely forget about what the designer magazine says you should do and think about how you actually live your life and design your 'put it away' system from that.  If you used a whole bunch of your products and tools and then suddenly your husband announces his mom will be over in 10 minutes, how would you naturally put everything away so you knew where it was when you came back?  (And I don't mean throwing everything under the sink and locking the door!)  Daily use items get the prime real estate, of course, like the medicine cabinet and top drawer.  Lesser used items go under the sink (we think bending is easy in theory but we don't like to do it in reality.)  People like to say that 'past performance isn't indicative of future results' but in this case, it absolutely is.  Don't fight your nature.  Maybe you want so badly for that toothbrush to lay in the medicine cabinet but if it's rarely ever in there, stop forcing it.

Group Like Items Together

I'm a big fan of 'containerizing' and grouping like items together.  If you have a bunch of hair products, it's so much easier to put them in one bin and then access that bin when you're styling your hair.  But I never recommend shopping for containers as a first step, which is why I didn't mention it until now - it should be the last thing you do.  Two reasons for that: (1) you have no idea what's going to fit the space until you're done decluttering and organizing.  You don't know how many products you'll end up with or what area you're going to put them in.  (2) You might find perfect containers you already own and forgot about.  They may be stuck in your linen cabinet or under all the scattered bottles, saving you the money and effort of having to buy anything new.

Having worked with a lot of different size storage areas in my life, I do have a few recommendations if do find yourself in the market for new organizational systems.  The one I recommended to Lauren was this system on Amazon. (it really helped and it fit and worked in the first apartment and also when i moved!) It's thinner, width-wise, than most drawers, so it's ideal for under bathroom and kitchen sinks where you often have piping in the way of installing anything bigger.  It's also perfect for renters or anyone not willing to have to screw in a permanent system, which is how a lot of the drawers sold at places like the Container Store operate.  Since it has the drawer, it's easy to pull open and access all your items, and you can stack them to use up all vertical space.  I also love that it has a top, so you can just place tall items on top if you didn't want to stack another drawer.  Under my own bathroom sink I have a simple stacking bin system because I have less products, but I have this exact drawer set under my kitchen sink.

Some people prefer bins over drawers, because they like to remove the entire bin out from under the sink, use the products in it, and then return the entire thing back under.  I understand the appeal of that system too - if you use fake tan or a lot of hair styling products, this would be the best solution for you.  You can have just one bin for the fake tan supplies that you pull out only when you're going to use them, and then stick everything back when you're done.  You know everything is together, and it never gets lost in the shuffle in a drawer system where it's mixed with other products.  Also a great system for multiple people sharing one bathroom - everyone gets a bin and you may only keep what fits in your bin.  There's a lot of great bin options, and I recommend getting a couple smaller ones over one big one.  A big one will leave you will the same messiness problem.  I have two of these stacking ones, because I don't keep too much under my sink.  Whatever you pick, just make sure they clean easily in case of product spills.

I also recommend organizers for your drawers, even if they're small.  I got these on Amazon for really cheap and they help a lot in keeping things corralled.  There's a small box for my hair ties, a long one for my toothpaste, etc.  When everything has a home, it's easier to remember to return it to that place.

I hope these tips help you get your bathroom in order, once and for all.  If you decide to tackle your cabinets and drawers, take a picture and tag Lauren and me on Instagram, we'd love to see!  Happy organizing.

thanks so much steph! you can check her out on her blog, pinterest and twitter!

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