I always hear a lot about going minimal, and hey, I even write about going minimal, but I never applied it to my bathroom. Sure, it made sense to cut out kitchen clutter and stop wasting food. And thanks to Marie Kondo, I’ve been ditching non-joy-sparking trinkets around the rest of my living space with regularity.
But until recently, I’ve never valued my bathroom as a part of my daily routine. It’s always been a pain to clean and I had not nearly enough energy to tackle it, drained by all the obligations and responsibilities competing for my attention. It’s a messy problem; once loose products and hairs begin piling up, the less you want to maintain the space. You’ll know you’ve reached this stage when your bathroom is a complete and utter mess. If your countertop is chaotic with skincare products and bottles, your hairdryer still hangs from the outlet, and everything that should be beneath the sink is on top, you might need a change. I know I did.
Fortunately, it’s not too much work to minimize your clutter and improve your morning routine. Take it from me — you’ll feel better once you’ve put everything in its proper place and cleaned up a little. Once you’ve finished, you’ll see an enormous difference in your mood each morning.
1. Throw Away Unnecessary Items
It’s the first step to reducing your clutter, and often the most difficult. As you survey your bathroom countertop, look for items which you no longer need or use, like empty containers, an extra hairbrush or stained towels. Collect everything that doesn’t add value to your morning routine and throw it away.
For me, skincare was the real killer here. Since I’ve been blessed with chronic acne, my shelves were overflowing with cleansers, chemicals, and other products I’d tried for a week or two and never touched again. These bottles overwhelmed me and made my skincare routine feel like a huge chore every morning. And now? Decluttering has made a huge difference. I’ve stuck to a simplified routine that includes only 3-4 items, and I keep the products neatly arranged in the order I need them in. In the morning, I have just a few things to worry about instead of a daunting reminder of how much work I’ve put into my skin over the years.
Once you discard all your unnecessary items, only the necessary items will remain. You’ll find what you need without any trouble. While it only takes an extra few seconds to sort through junk, these “few seconds” compound over time.
2. Simplify and Compartmentalize
Once you’ve reduced the number of items on your sink, you can begin to group them. If you have multiple toothbrushes, place them in the same holder, and relocate bars of soap to a designated area. It might seem obvious, but it’s a necessary step to ensure your countertop is neat and orderly. Luckily, my landlord let me install a little board with hanging mason jars next to my sink. These are a cheap and convenient way for me to store my hairbrushes and other random trinkets, including hair ties and clips that were previously constantly disappearing into the mess that was my bathroom.
You might not have this type of flexibility, but there are lots of bathroom accessories you can find to compartmentalize your items. Just take a quick trip to your local department store at the end of the day and pick up anything you need. A little structure will lend peace of mind and convenience in the morning when you’re tired and bleary-eyed.
3. Take Advantage of Cabinets
As I mentioned earlier, if everything that’s meant to be beneath your sink is on top, you might need a change. Store these items out of sight, and you’ll begin to feel better almost immediately. Physical clutter often results in mental clutter, linked to inefficient mental processing. Studies have shown that a comfortable environment is essential to maintaining “mental hygiene,” which you can compromise if you don’t take care of your home. As you can see, the consequences of clutter are very real.
If you have cabinets in your bathroom, use them! The organizational tools I mentioned can help keep them neat, but just the act of clearing up your countertop and shelves can make your bathroom that much more minimalist. Store your medicines, cleaning supplies and other random necessities out of sight so that they’re also out of mind.
4. Embrace Minimal Design
A minimalist bathroom doesn’t just mean a junk-free bathroom. It also means you can play around with some basic design principles to create a more optimal space.
Mirrors make an area appear more spacious, popular among designers for their ability to expand a smaller room. After you’ve cleaned up your countertop and organized your items, you should consider hanging another mirror or two on the wall. The illusion of more space can contribute to your morning peace of mind, especially if you rent a space as small as mine. My long, skinny bathroom looks a little less cramped these days.
5. Give Yourself a Little Reward
While the previous four steps are simple, they’re tough to start when you’re not working toward any kind of incentive. You deserve a small reward for your effort — a little gift at the end of the process that makes the transformation feel truly complete. It might seem like this suggestion isn’t in line with the others, but it is. You’re attaching greater value to your bathroom, and because of this value, you’re more likely to clean and care for the space in the future.
Of course, fancy upgrades might not be in your budget, or you might be limited in a rented apartment. But there are affordable investments you can make that won’t break your budget. I traded in my old college towels for fluffy, matching ones, which weren’t too expensive but made my space look much more appealing.
Minimalist Bathroom Life
Since I’ve revamped my bathroom, my morning routine has been much easier. I’m no longer digging through spare products or feeling discouraged by how much cleaning I need to do. I can head out the door feeling a little more optimistic about my space, and that attitude carries into the rest of my day.
Decluttering your bathroom doesn’t mean you have to change your entire lifestyle. I still love my assorted face masks, after all. I’m just better at neatly stacking them in a bin. While I’ll probably never go fully minimal, embracing a few of the movement’s mentality and design principles has done wonders for my daily routine. And I hope it helps you too!
Image via Unsplash