Clutter can make even the nicest, high-end home look like complete crap. Seriously, every hoarder started somewhere. I’ve known this for quite some time, but each time I hunker down, organize a room, closet or desk and actually CLEAN the thing? I feel like I’ve performed an extreme makeover. Now I’m not saying you need to go through and do the total Spring-cleaning thing attacking your whole house; a few baby steps will do you just fine. Pick one area of your humble abode (even one small drawer in your dresser) and CLEAN IT OUT. You will be amazed at how invincible having one thing clean and dealt with can make you feel.
The idea for this article came after I exorcised my bathroom — literally scrubbed the hell out of it. Like, actual hell. The simple truth of it is, since the bathroom is rarely ever seen by anyone other than my partner and myself, it tends to be the last room to ever get picked up and organized. Out of public sight, out of mind. But after our big-old cat, Rocky, decided to URINATE on all the once-nicely-displayed toiletries next to the Jacuzzi tub, I was forced to get in there, latex gloves up to my elbows, Holy Water in hand, wipe everything down, scrub, dust and actually, really truly CLEAN the bathroom.
Going through old bath products took waaaaay more time than I’d like to admit, but as I was doing this, I realized how old, expired and actually gross some of this stuff was! Many items were useless due to age. FACT: Not all creams, bath salts and oils last forever. The purging was nice — not only to take inventory of what I had, but to figure out what I could actually still use, too. I had completely forgotten about some of it! A full bottle of Hermes shower gel!? WHOO-HOO!
To be honest, most of the stuff was just kind of decorative. Bottles of Jo Malone bath oil, a pedestal dish of hotel soaps from our travels, specialized Italian skin products — it all looked great… once upon a time. Truth? Pre-cat pee, most of the items had become dusty and, if I’m forced to admit it, gross looking. What couldn’t be salvaged went into the trash. Throwing away what I’d assumed were perfectly good (if ugly) products felt like it was a waste — until I started to see a pared down, organized space…
I grew up in a house of full of women; I know firsthand how makeup, hair care products and beauty devices can cause MASSIVE clutter in the bathroom. I’ve seen the morning meltdowns that can (and do) occur in that cramped, unkempt little room.
When you think about it, your bathroom is essential to the mental kickoff of your day; it should be a stress-free zone. Waking and rushing to get ready in a messy, disorganized space can completely set you off on the wrong foot. SO… here are my suggestions to get you started on your bathroom makeover:
1) TRASH IT! Get a garbage bag and start off by unscrupulously throwing away anything that has expired. (That means makeup, creams, old pricey shampoos, whatever. It’s hard. Just let it go.).
2) LOOK HIGH AND LOW! Take things off shelves and out of drawers and see what you even have. Trust me, a lot of it WON’T be missed, and you’ll gain more room when you chuck it.
3) WIPE IT! A wet rag is great for dust, but don’t forget the insides of drawers and cabinets. Loose powder, hairspray residue and makeup smudges are the herpes of bathroom life — they get everywhere.
4) WASH IT! If you can throw it in the machine or spray it down in the shower — DO IT! The smell alone will make you feel better. I’m talking decorative towels, bath mats, curtains and valences. Most Venetian blinds can easily be unclipped and rinsed off, too. (My mom used to actually hose them down in the backyard.)
5) BOX IT! If you find you have a lot of things you can’t part with, temporarily put them in a box to get a feel for a cleaner space. After a few days of living without them in plain sight, it will be easier to eliminate some of these rarely used items.
6) ORGANIZE IT! Small boxes, baskets and containers will really help you get through your daily regiment quickly if you know where everything is. You probably already have these and just need to be reorganized.
After being FORCED into cleaning my bathroom I was inspired to then start in on a closet. Just ONE so far, but Rome was not cleaned in a day! I am always pleasantly surprised at how a cleaner, less-cluttered space makes me feel. It LITERALLY reduces stress since that particular mess is not tugging away at my subconscious every time I enter that room.
Now: if you’re busy or swamped with things, DON’T feel pressured to start cleaning the minute you logoff. Just know that even a small cleaning project can give you a boost and make your time in the bathroom, or kitchen, or closet, or sock drawer that much more enjoyable! When you have the time, go for it. I PROMISE it will make you feel better.