Weekend organisation plans - bathroom clear out

It seems like just last week that we all enjoyed Kitchen Month… In fact it was nearly three months ago that it kicked off! While it was great having a focus for the month, it kind of ruined me for smaller organisation projects around my own home - with the kitchen in such great shape, there honestly aren’t too many small spaces that need attention (the garage is a completely different story!). So even though my bathroom may not be transformation-worthy for the blog, the tips I’m going to use to get the job done are certainly worth sharing.

If you’re looking for a quick jobbie to tackle, get stuck into your bathroom - it is fast enough that you can do it without derailing a lovely long weekend. Here’s how I would do it, if I was coming to your place.

The clear out

Whatever bathroom layout your’e rocking (single cabinet, double cabinet, drawers or no drawers… you get the picture), the starting point should be the same. Grab yourself two large rubbish bags friends, because we’re going to have a quick but thorough clear out. First of all pull everything out of the bathroom cabinets/drawers/boxes in your wardrobe - yes I know your hiding places! In short, raid anywhere you have bathroom items like moisturisers, make up, beauty samples, hotel shampoos etc, and bring it into the bathroom. Dump it on the floor. Next, set up your bag system - one bag for rubbish, one bag for donation. Pick up every single item (or if you have a large number of the same thing, like hotel shampoos, you can batch those together and deal with them as a group) and decide if it is a keeper, a chucker, or a donater. How to decide? Easy:

  • Keepers: have not expired; if unopened, packaging is not damaged; Is something you plan on using in the next 30 days… Yep - tight deadline folks. Otherwise that stuff will still be there, unused, next Christmas.

  • Chuckers: have expired; packaging has been opened; product looks dusty, crumbly, or smells a bit funky; you possibly have no idea what it is.

  • Donaters: have not expired; might have been recently opened; barely used, or not used at all; packaging may damaged but product unaffected; is something that someone may actually want or need.

Set your keepers aside on the bathroom floor - as you go through the whole pile of your bathroom items, you’ll create categories of “moisturisers”, “soaps”, “shampoos” and so on. Working this way you can quickly go through everything you own, making fast decisions: Keep/Chuck/Donate/Keep/Chuck/Donate/Keep/Chuck/Donate/Keep/Chuck/Donate/Keep/Chuck/DonateKeep/Chuck/Donate/Keep/Chuck/Donate/Keep/Chuck/Donate/Keep/Chuck/Donate/Keep/Chuck/Donate and so on until you have gone through the whole original pile.

Now you should be left with your categories of keepers. How many moisturisers do you have? Be honest. Remember the goal is to use those within 30 days. Same with soaps, shampoo and conditioner and so on. I’m not going to give you a rule on how many to keep - you best know the space you have available to store them, and the likelihood of you using each item within 30 days. Be ruthless here though: the magic of this modern age in which we live, is that you can always buy another tub of moisturiser when you run out. Anything you don’t wish to keep from this category can go into the donate bag; if it was good enough for you to keep, then it is good enough to be donated.

Clean up in Aisle 3

I’ve always wanted to say that! Before you start putting your keepers away, give your shelves/drawers a good wipe down. With all that stuff out in the open and your storage areas having a bit of breathing room, it is a great opportunity to give your cupboards a cleanse.

Contain yourself, and your stuff

We’re nearly there folks. The next part is the best bit (at least for me)… storage space Tetris! This is where you look at what remains of your keeper pile and figure out the best way to store it from here on in. (If you followed closely during Kitchen Month, you’ll see the same principles being suggested here in the bathroom, because they’re similar spaces with similar challenges). The key rule I want you to remember is “one vs. many” (you can read about this in more detail in my Pro Tip for 25 January 2019). We want to put all of those small, niggly bathroom items into a container; this allows us to use all the available space, without needing to move 10 tiny things out of the way to reach something at the rear of the space. My favourite clear containers come from Kmart (find a range of sizes by searching “clear drawer”) but you don’t need to buy anything new - use an old ice cream or tupperware container, anything that can be wiped out easily in the future as bathroom stuff is notorious for oozing and leaking. If you decide to buy new, thoroughly measure the depth, width and height of your space - I recommend sketching out a very rough plan so you can plan how to fit your customised storage solution together.

The next storage-boosting solution is to use the vertical height you have available in your cabinet (this doesn’t apply if you’re rocking a drawer system). Look in your cabinet and see all that wasted air space - a tragedy! Use products like this and this and this to line the walls of your cabinets and make the most of available air space.

My final tip for putting everything away is another familiar one if you’ve been following me for a while - store like with like. Don’t try and get too specific - for example you can store all your moisturisers together (face, body, hand, tinted and tanning, etc). Hair products can go together; cotton balls, pads and buds can go together, and so on. Loose categories are best for small spaces. The purpose of storing like with like is that when we are looking for something in a hurry, we know where to look. And if we can’t find the thing we’re looking for, we know for sure that it isn’t stored elsewhere, so buying new isn’t going to be a waste.

It’s not over till it’s over

The final step is to bin and donate those bags you filled earlier. Before you do anything… Pick up the phone and ring your nearest Women’s Refuge and ask if they accept toiletries. If they don’t, try your local op shops - some accept toiletries, some don’t. If it is a resounding “thanks but no thanks” from both, then sadly you’re going to need to bin the lot. Go and do it immediately. And now it’s over - yay!


If your bathroom feels cluttered and uninviting, an expert hand could be just the thing to transform your space from blah to home spa. I can help with that! Set me loose in your bathroom and laundry and I’ll do all of the above for you, leaving you with a calm, relaxing retreat.