Week 7 of the Clever Girl Organizing Challenge: Heading Into the Bathroom

Six weeks down, and ten weeks ahead, we’re well into reclaiming our homes and our lives, one space at a time! We’ve made great strides in the kitchen, and we’ve taken control of our wardrobes.  Next, we’re heading into two weeks of bathroom and linen closet assignments.  Are you ready??

In our first week of these 2, we’re going to focus on the items in your bathroom that seem to need constant review. What will you find in your bathroom area? Maybe more than these?

  • Toiletries
  • Medicines
  • Bath toys
  • First Aid items
  • Make Up / Cosmetics

(By the way — NEXT week will be the linens — towels, wash cloths, sheets, blankets, etc.)

16 challenge

Week 7:  Bathroom Supplies and Medicine Chest

Level 1 Challenge: Toiletries, Bathing Products, First Aid and Medicines. There are probably many shelves, drawers, baskets, bins, totes, bags and lazy susans in your bathroom or closets that are dedicated to storing these basic supplies for health, personal and beauty care.  This challenge is about eliminating items that don’t make sense any more for your CURRENT routines and preferences for these supplies. Cleaning out the items you’ve lost sight of or just keep moving out of the way to get at what you really are looking for, helps to make sure you know what you have, you’re not wasting money replacing items you can’t find, and you can streamline your getting-ready routines every day. 

How to tackle this one:  As with other challenge assignments, this is a good one for “take everything out, group together by category, and get critical.”  Have on hand a garbage bag for trash, a container for your recycling (will you need to wash bottles out before recycling? Where will those items go, while you’re in process). You may even find items you’re planning on donating, maybe to a homeless shelter or a women’s shelter, so have a spot for setting those items aside. 

Bathing products and Toiletries: 

  • Hair products, skin products, etc. – you might have a collection of products you’ve opened and tried, or grew tired of and moved on. Think about why you’re really keeping these products. Did they stop making your hair look great, because your hair has changed over time? Did you stop liking the smell? Did you start to use a totally different brand and just plain like it better?  Why are you keeping the items you’ve moved on from, then?  Maybe you have the idea in mind that you should occasionally switch up your shampoo or conditioner, because it’s “good for your hair” (I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’ve heard it).  If that is your plan, do you need more than one type of shampoo on hand?  Maybe not.  
  • Travel size – Okay, we all have some, and we can come up with reasons why we should have a couple of things around on hand.  But those collections can get sizable, and, let’s face it: when you go to a hotel now, you’re probably not bringing your own shampoo and soap, since you know there will be some there for you.  
  • Indulgence items – These are items like bubble bath, bath salts, masks, fancy soaps, lotions, etc. These are items that sound like a lovely idea (or, more often, were gifts), but they’ve sat there a while, and just aren’t getting used.  It’s time to think about letting go of these, because all they’re doing is taking up space in your precious storage. 


First Aid: 

  • You might have the right amount of supplies here, but you might also have things like multiple ace bandages or slings or splints or things you’ve used in the past, that you said, “This would be good to have if I ever need it again.” Maybe that’s true, or maybe it isn’t, but you should review if you truly need more than one of any of those things, and be okay with letting go of what you don’t. 


  • Consider getting rid of it if It’s expired.  While medication that is expired may not be dangerous (you should research what you have to see what the manufacturer says for any expired medication that you’re still tempted to keep), it also may not be as effective as you were hoping for when you took it.  
  • Let go of it if you’re not using it any more. This comes up mainly when I’m seeing clients who have children’s medication, but their kids are onto adult medications now.  Or, you’ve had treatments for afflictions you no longer have (or would get a new medicine for if it came back)
  • By the way, check your local police station for advice on how best to dispose of prescription drugs, or keep yours in a safe place until this spring’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which is April 30th. Check here for a local drop off information once we’re in April


Level 2 Challenge: Make-Up and Bath Toys. I have this as a Level 2 because unlike the items in Level 1, I’m not sure that all homes are going to have this as an issue to face.  For some people, however, it’s really time to get these under control. 

How to tackle this one:  These should probably be shorter and focused tasks.  Again, you’ll want to look at the full collection by category, and be critical about what you’re truly using *today*, not what you’ve tried in the past or what worked for you some time ago. 

Make-up and cosmetics: one of the reasons this one is so important is because using make-up that is older than it’s suggested shelf life can be harmful. Check here for some guidelines

Bath Toys:  Some of this is taking stock of what you have today for bath time for your kids, what you’re using, and whether you really need as many options for them as you currently supply. It’s also a good opportunity to wash them (most should be dishwasher safe) and de-germify them, if you haven’t in a while. 



How The Challenge Works:
As With Every Week, Your mission:

1) Take on Level 1, and if you’re feeling up to the challenge, Level 2. If you’ve already got those covered, identify a challenge for yourself that you know you should be tackling.

2) Whenever possible, take BEFORE and AFTER pictures. You don’t have to share them with anyone but yourself, but it is a fantastic way to (a) identify clutter that’s become invisible to you over time and (b) truly measure and appreciate your progress. 

3) We’re all about letting things go…  be critical about what you’re keeping and why you’re keeping it.  Always ask yourself these critical questions to help decide if you should hold onto items: 

  • Is using this item part of my current life or likely future?
  • If I didn’t have this item and needed it for some reason, is it easily replaced or borrowed?
  • Can someone else use this more than I seem to be using it now? 
  • Am I keeping it for a “maybe some day” or a “just in case” option? How likely is that situation? And am I keeping more in that category than I should, given the space constraints I have?
  • Is it part of my past, and holding onto it reminds me of a former self? And am I keeping more in that category than I should, given the space constraints I have?

4) Stay FOCUSED on this task.  Know what FINISHED looks like, and don’t get distracted by other projects or areas of attention that cross your path while you’re on this assignment.  

5) Have a plan on where things will go — give away to someone you know, donate, sell, recycle or trash.  This Challenge isn’t just about creating new piles that don’t have a future!

6) Work in manageable chunks of time and energy. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! 

7) Celebrate and reward yourself for a job well done!



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