What bathroom clutter reveals

Bathroom clutter is one of the most common types there is. It’s also one of the easiest to deal with, so it’s a good place to start when clutter clearing.

Bathroom clutter

It may sometimes feel as if household clutter accumulates by itself, but of course it doesn’t.

Take this bathtub, for example. The woman who owns it told me she had decluttered the entire area six months previously, discarding two full bags of unwanted items. But then life happened and before she knew it, it looked like this again. She managed to tune it out for a while, but then one day she walked into her bathroom and saw it for the untidy mess it had become.

‘How on earth did this happen?’ she puzzled.

But the inescapable fact was, she had created it herself. At some point in those six months, each and every item had been placed there by her. To her astonishment, she counted 152 individual objects, only two of which were things that needed to be thrown away. The rest were all useful in some way. The mugs belonged in her kitchen, and everything else belonged in her bathroom cabinet and needed to be put away.

Your home is a mirror of yourself

A photo such as this is very revealing because it’s an external description of a person’s inner state. What’s on the inside is not always portrayed on the outside, but what’s on the outside is always a reflection of something on the inside.

The busyness of this bathroom mirrors the busyness of the owner’s life and also shows how stressful it is, with so many things to consider and cope with. It also shows how her life is running her instead of her running it. If this is how she starts her day, then much of her life will be out of control.

Simplifying the number of items she uses in her daily grooming and keeping them tidy and organized will give her a completely different approach to each day, which in turn will help her to take back control of other aspects of her life too.

Bathroom clutter partly cleared

Can you spot the problem here?

This second photo shows the bathtub after she decluttered again. It looks much better, but it illustrates a problem that I see in all too many of the before and after photos that people send me. She has cleared the majority of the items around the bathtub. But do you see those little piles she’s left in the corners? They will almost certainly morph back into how it was before unless she gives those items a proper home and keeps them where they belong. They are like little clutter starter sets, just waiting to sprout.

Look through any interior design magazine and you’ll find glorious examples of pristine bathrooms. But in real life, when subjected to constant daily use, the bathroom is one of the most difficult rooms in a home to maintain. A quick dust, vacuum, and tidy-up will keep a living room in good shape, but a well-used bathroom needs much more maintenance to keep it clean, and it needs good organizing skills to keep it tidy and presentable.

It therefore makes no sense to add bathroom clutter to the mix. Many of the things that people keep in bathrooms don’t need to be there. They’re just taking up space, collecting grunge, and making cleaning and tidying more difficult.

What your bathroom says about you

The state of a person’s bathroom gives a very good insight into their level of self-care. So after reading this article, I invite you to walk into your bathroom and take a good look at it, as if you didn’t know whose bathroom it is. What does it say about you? If you share it with others, what does it say about you all?

Creating the right storage space, such as a bathroom cabinet, drawers for small items, shelves under your bathroom sink, and so on, is an important factor in reducing bathroom clutter. If you don’t have any storage at all, get some. Even in the smallest of bathrooms, there’s usually a way to fit in a container of some kind.

Then instead of keeping everything on view, ready to leap to your aid at a moment’s notice, give each item a designated place and keep it where it belongs. It takes only a couple of seconds longer to put something away instead of leaving it out, and it will make a huge difference to how the place feels.

If you want to go further, ruthlessly declutter any half-used grooming products you haven’t used in ages and especially those you’ve never used at all. And if space is limited, find somewhere else in your home to store the things you rarely use but still want to keep. Multiple bottles of shampoo, for example. Keep the one you are using, put the rest away for now, and don’t buy any more until you’ve used up what you have.

Your bathroom will look and feel better. And, more importantly, giving yourself a calm and ordered start to each day will make you look and feel better too.

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2018, updated 2023

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui, and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must-read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fifth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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