Cluttered cabinets? Dismal drawers? Sticky storage? Spring clean your bathroom drawers with these 5 easy tips from the Domestic CEO.
Quick question: When is the last time you cleaned the inside of your bathroom drawers and cabinets? If it’s been a while, or you can’t remember the month (or even year) when this happened, today’s episode is for you.
Check out my earlier episode on spring cleaning your entire home for easy tips on this big job.
Bathroom storage spaces are often neglected during regular bathroom cleaning because everything is behind doors. It’s the old “out of sight, out of mind” problem. Since you don’t have to stare at the mess in the cabinets while you’re getting ready, there’s usually no motivation to clean it up.
But having messy drawers can be a breeding ground for lost items, festering smells, and wasted space. That’s why today, I am going to give you 5 tips on cleaning those forgotten spaces in your bathroom:
Tip #1: Remove Everything
The first thing to do when you are spring cleaning your bathroom cabinets and drawers is to pull everything out. But before you completely empty the contents of your bathroom storage onto the floor, consider how much time you have available. If you have less than an hour of time, work one cabinet or drawer at a time. If you have longer, like a few hours, you can easily empty multiple cabinets at once. There are two main reasons I recommend pulling out all the contents of the cabinets. The first is that it is much easier to wipe down the bottom of each cabinet or drawer if they are completely empty. The second is that it’s much easier to sort through the contents of those cabinets if they are spread out across the floor.
Tip #2: Clean the Insides
Once you have everything pulled out of the cabinets and drawers, the first thing to do is vacuum the interior of the cabinets. You may find hair, spilled makeup, and even sand from your last trip to the beach down there, so a quick session with the vacuum attachments will get that all cleared out.
After all the loose debris is vacuumed away, check to see if you have any sticky messes that need to be scraped out of the cabinets. I like to keep a plastic scraper handy when I’m cleaning out cabinets because you never know when you’re going to find a gooey mess from a leaky bottle of conditioner or a spilled container of hair-removal wax. A scraper will allow you to save time and energy by scraping those messes up instead of spending ages scrubbing them away with a sponge.
When the insides of the cabinets and drawers are free of all the junk and gunk, a quick spray of surface cleaner and wipe with a rag will get the surfaces clean and ready for the organizing to begin.
Tip #3: Toss the Old Stuff
When I help my Moxie Girl clients organize their bathrooms, it’s quite common to find plastic bags and boxes filled with a wide variety of items stuck in the back of a cabinet. As you start to pull items out of the cabinets, keep the contents of each cabinet together. This is for a very specific organizing technique that I like to call, “Guilty by Association.” As you are sorting through the items that you pulled out, you will naturally want to toss anything that has expired, but what about all those items that don’t have expiration dates on them?
Say you pulled out an old travel bag that has a couple of mascara tubes, a tube of toothpaste, and a bottle of ibuprofen. Unless you can remember the last vacation that you took that bag on, you may be left wondering if the mascara is 3 months or 3 years old. Luckily, the bottle of ibuprofen has an expiration date on it. If it’s 3 years old, you can safely assume that you should toss the mascara because it was likely purchased or used around the same time the ibuprofen was. It’s guilty by association.
Another organizing technique I use a lot in the bathroom (more so than any other room of the house) is called “When in Doubt, Throw it Out.” Because most of the stuff in a bathroom is used on or in our bodies, if you aren’t sure whether or not an item is still good, just throw it out. This is one room where it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Tip #4: Sort the Good Stuff
Once you have everything pulled out of your bathroom storage areas, start putting like items with like items. I tend to group my things into the following categories:
Hair styling products
Special occasion makeup
Lotions and powders
Medicines and vitamins
Perfumes, colognes, and deodorants
After you get everything sorted, you may find that you had 15 bottles of lotion stashed in different cabinets and drawers. Once you have them all together, you can figure out which ones you want to keep, which you want to donate, and which you want to try and use up right away. In general, I recommend keeping no more than 2 backup products of each item I use on a regular basis. The only exception I make to this is if you are part of a large family and go through more beauty products than the average family. If you have less than 5 family members living in your house, 2 extra bottles of each shampoo, conditioner, and body wash will last you months.
If you are a couponer, you know how easy it is to get free or really cheap toiletries. But it’s important to resist the temptation to stock up. If you want the rush of getting the free or cheap items, do what I do and keep a bag or bin marked for donations and pile your extras in there. Then once a month, drop the items off at a local homeless shelter or domestic violence shelter. It’s a great way to put your couponing skills to good work! These organizations will often also accept your like-new items, so toss any bottles of shampoo that made your hair feel funny or body washes that made you sneeze into the box. There are many people who would be happy to use the products, even if you used them a couple of times.
Tip #5: Store with Style
Now that everything is sorted, it’s time for the fun part of buying bins and organizers to put everything back in the cabinets and drawers. I recommend using drawer organizers in almost every drawer. In my personal bathroom, I have separate containers to hold bobby pins, ponytail holders, nail files, nail polish, chapstick, and all those other little things that float around to create a “junk drawer.”
Baskets and plastic bins are great for organizing cabinets under the sink. Plastic shoe boxes are great for storing all your extra shower supplies. If they leak, the gooey mess will be contained in the container which means it will be easier to clean up and it won’t damage your cabinets. Plastic drawer units are great for storing extra makeup if you are one of those girls who has a different eye shadow for each hour of the day. And all your hair tools can be corralled into a basket to be pulled out when you are getting ready in the morning.
See also: 6 Rules for an Organized Home
Now that you have these 5 easy tips, it’s time to get started on spring cleaning your bathroom storage! Most bathrooms can be completed in a few hours, so mark it on your calendar when you have an open afternoon and you won’t have to worry about searching for lost bobby pins or accidentally finding ooey-gooey messes in your hair products drawer.
Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.