The bathroom can be a place where products, medicines, makeup and body soaps go to die. We open our cupboard and all the way back we find half empty, old and expired products we used once upon a time. We keep samples and travel sizes from hotels for someday maybe, and gifts we were given that we never used.
I believe that it’s always ok to keep things that others might not. But you won’t ever see a crowded cupboard in my bathroom, simply because I don’t like waste and I dislike owning ‘stuff’ that has no purpose. But I don’t shy away from having a good amount of the things that I use all the time. For example, I love skin care products, they are essential and divine to me. I also love towels, big ones, and I like to have at least 2-3 per person always.
I’m a very practical minimalist, although I love a clear space and organisation as much as the next person there is something really sad about being too strict that you can’t keep items you love and enjoy, just to keep a picture perfect visual look.
The cornerstone belief of minimalism for me is to own what is loved and/or useful. The products and items I have in our bathroom are mostly essential because I use them often enough that I have chosen to own them.
Minimalist thinking about what I consume/buy has given me the freedom to say no and the ability to determine what I really love.
ASK QUESTIONS, BUT DON’T BE RUDE
The solution to this problem begins long before we stored these items, it starts at the point of purchase or when accepting items to take home.
Before you even put the item in your bag to take home, think right there and then, do I even need this? Will I use it?
You shouldn’t be rude about it and reject a gift or offering from someone, your minimalism is not always understood by others. But you can always accept it while knowing it will discreetly go straight to goodwill later and not in your bathroom cupboard at home.
If you are strategic and deliberate about what you bring into your home in the first place, you will very quickly alleviate clutter from building up.
I have managed to master minimalism in my bathroom longterm, eliminating unwanted items that take up space in my home by developing a strategy that reduces decision fatigue every time I need more of something.
#1 DECIDE WHAT YOU ENJOY USING
What Shampoo and conditioner really works for you? What do you enjoy using on your body?
This is often trial and error, #2 & #3 will help you decide what you buy.
When you have decided what products you prefer, you will know what to buy every time. If you start to dislike the product for some reason you have two option. The first is to continue using the product until it’s gone and never buy it again. The second is to discard the product in the best way you can right away. A critical point here is, do not put it in the cupboard for maybe someday use!
#2 FIND THE MOST SUSTAINABLE AND AFFORDABLE
This has a similar tension that quality vs quantity has. I don’t buy the cheapest products anymore because they have far too many chemicals and fillers in them. This isn’t good for our bodies to absorb or good for the planet when it goes down the drain.
Recycled packaging is my preferred choice, but not always available. Though I am always disappointed by the lack of end-product recycling we actually do, I believe it is a great habit to be in that we are responsible for our purchases right to the end.
What is equally important to me is finding a product that is as natural as possible, this is the tension I have between sustainable and affordable. They charge a higher price for an ‘organic’ product, they’re not always a better product (and not always organic either for that matter), but I research until I find something that works both ways that I think is legit, worth what I’m spending and yet not too expensive.
#3 THE SIMPLEST AND MOST CONVENIENT WAY OF PURCHASE
We develop systems for things. Like when you begin to incorporate a weekend visit to the Farmers Market instead of buying fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. It’s not because you want an extra errand to do at the weekend, but because you see the value in buying local produce.
Same goes for other items in your home. Bathroom products can be items that need a separate purchase from a different supplier in order to get a sustainable and affordable product you enjoy using.
I have an online ordering system for shampoo, conditioner, soap, sanitary items and deodorant and my skincare is produced locally where I live in New Zealand, so I travel 15 mins and buy what I need every few months. The rest I purchase in my regular grocery shopping as needed.
Finding a system that streamlines your purchases makes the process less tiresome. It also makes you consciously aware of what you are choosing to buy and for what purpose which eliminates buying items you won’t use.
#4 STICK WITH EACH BOTTLE/PACKET/TUBE UNTIL COMPLETELY FINISHED
This is my number one rule for decluttering.
I enjoy getting a bargain as much as the next person, but if I buy multiples of something you can almost always guarantee someone will open the next bottle or tube BEFORE the last one ran out, and then you are back to having half-finished products in your cupboard.
My solution to this is not to buy things in bulk unless that’s best. Sure, buy food staples in bulk. Buy toilet paper in bulk, who wants to run out of T/P! Be wary of buying multiple tubes of toothpaste, bottles of shampoo or body lotion, they have a good habit of multiplying very quickly!
Personally, I find great satisfaction in using every bit I can out of the products I buy.
I have spent good money on great products and sometimes just by tipping the jar or container upside down, I can get a few more weeks of product that I would have wasted otherwise. I might sound like a Scrooge McDuck, but really it’s simply common sense that eliminates waste.
IN MY BATHROOM
When I looked, this is what I had in my bathroom, either in the shower, shelf, drawer or cupboard. This is our ensuite so we don’t have our children’s things here, but their bathroom is very similar to ours. You will see that even a minimalist can have quite a few things in their home, you don’t have to get rid of everything, that’s not what it’s about. It’s owning things that have a purpose and value to you, and everything in my bathroom I use.
- Hand soap
- Body Moisturiser
- Cotton buds in glass canister (my grandmothers)
- Eye Cream
- Jewellery dish (my grandmothers)
- Porcelain canister for tweezers, nail file, large makeup brushes
3 SMALLER DRAWERS
- Cotton pads
- Hair ties
CUPBOARD ON THE LEFT
- Makeup Bag
- 2 Travel Bags (mine/husband)
- Hairspray & Mousse
- Box of Hair Dye
- Small container waxing
- A small rubbish bin
- Spare toilet paper
- Cleaning wipes
LINEN (MIDDLE CUPBOARD)
- 6 towels (3 each)
- Spare Bath Mat
- 2-3 Hand Towels
- Body Brush
- Face Cleanser
- Toilet Paper
- Toilet Cleaner