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First aid bin

Six steps to an organized bathroom

Our bathrooms typically contain a large quantity of small items and it’s pretty easy for chaos to reign. But with fairly little effort, you can create and maintain an organized bathroom that’s a pleasure to use (and to look at).

Here are six steps to get you there:

Start with a purge. Most bathrooms have expired medications and over-the-counter treatments as well as items that are no longer used. Get rid the stuff that you don’t use that’s just taking up valuable space. (Remember that it’s important to dispose of medications safely and protect yourself from medical identity theft by marking out identifying information on prescription labels–or peel them off, stick them to paper and shred the paper.)

Divide and conquer.  Come up with categories for the items that you’ve decided to keep. Categories might include first aid, dental, medications (subdivided as is appropriate for you), finger- and toenails, etc.). There are no “right” categories–they just need to make sense to you and your family. Depending on your bathroom set up, use bins or drawers (and drawer dividers) to help maintain your categories.

Make things easy to access. Bins without lids make it easy to find and put away items. A plastic cup inside a bin can contain long things on end, like toothbrushes and toothpaste, which takes up less room and makes them easy to access. I like to take toilet paper out of its plastic wrapping and adhesive bandages out of their boxes and into an open bin-within-a-bin to make them easier to grab (see photo). As you’re putting away your categories of items, put away the most-used categories first in the prime real estate of your storage area. Putting things away in priority order ensures that the important stuff is front and center.

Label like crazy. Creating labels for your different categories will help you and your family find things easily–and put them away in the proper spot. You can use a label maker, handwritten labels, or address labels printed from your computer. Whatever works for you.

Weed constantly. Bathroom items have a shelf life. We also frequently abandon certain items if they don’t prove effective or if something better comes along. If you see an item that’s out of date or you’re no longer using, go ahead and toss it as soon as you notice it. Or schedule a purge every six months or so, just to keep your bathroom from getting overcrowded.

Keep surfaces clear. A cluttered bathroom counter can be a big time waster. Create a habit of putting items away as you use them, or at least clear the counter daily. If everything has a place, it should be easy to put them away. (If not everything has a place, it might be time to weed some more.) And if you only let a day’s worth pile up, it takes very little time to clear the surfaces.

Janine Adams is a messy professional organizer who loves helping others create order. The co-founder of Declutter Happy Hour, she believes in having as much fun as possible in the organizing process. Check out her web site at Peace of Mind Organizing!

Do you have a room or area in your home that needs organization help?

No worries – the Rubbermaid Professional Organizer Squad is here with expert advice! This group of professional organizers has seen and tackled it all. Simply enter your question, screen name and email to submit your question to them (any organizing question is welcome, no matter how simple or complicated!). We’ll answer and feature questions the squad can provide the best answers on. Don’t worry – we’ll email you if your question is selected!

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