Spring cleaning: day six

Today’s focus is the bathrooms and linen closets. These tiny rooms can easily wreak a lot of havoc in an otherwise organized home, because they serve as storage for a wide range of products. From half-used toiletries, to hotel freebies, to medicine, to extra sheets, bathrooms can be filled to the brim with clutter.

Let’s declutter them today.

You’ve read the routine for today from my e-book. Go through all those bottles and cotton balls, and sift through your medicine chest – get rid of the expired stuff and the stuff you don’t want. Be brutal. Don’t save 15 travel-sized shampoo bottles each with a teaspoon of product. Make the most of the storage space, no matter how small.

My best advice for controlling the clutter: Stick with a few baskets or containers, and let those be your limit to all the stuff. Using this “meta-stuff” means there’s a finite amount of available space for all your bathroom needs. So if you have a basket for extra toiletries, keep only what can fit in there. Once it’s full, it’s full – throw everything else out. If you really want to save an item, then something currently in the basket has to go.

As always, store like with like, and label things well. Keep daily items easy to reach, and store everything else (including stuff you only use occasionally) tucked away, out of sight.

Use the e-book’s included inventory sheets for your linen closets, and tape your list on the inside of your door. This way, you’ll know how many twin fitted sheets you have, and whether you have beach towels to spare. Fold sets of sheets together – tie them together with twine, if you like. Make it easy to grab the linens you need, so that your fitted sheets don’t come unglued.

Our Bathrooms

I didn’t think our bathrooms would be too difficult, since I purged and organized only two months ago. Surprisingly, I found quite a bit to toss. I went through the kids’ bath toys and got rid of the broken and mildewy ones. I collated my contacts supplies, tossed trash, and parted with more samples I honestly knew I wasn’t going to use.

before: after:
bath before bath after
before: after:
bath before bath after
before: after:
bath before bath after
before: after:
bath before bath after
before: after:
bath before bath after

bath after

bath after

bath after

I mentioned in my e-book that our master bathroom is tiny. It’s really tiny. It’s five feet squared, including a shower stall. The door doesn’t open all the way because it runs into the toilet, and there’s zero storage.

Storage containers are incredibly expensive where we live, so we decided to take some orange crates off the hands of some vendors at the farmer’s market (yes, we asked). They stack perfectly, and they’re waterproof. Best of all, they’re free.

before: after:
bath before bath after

bath after

before: after:
bath before bath after

Alright, attack your bathrooms today! Leave no prisoners.  And on Organizing Your Way, check out Mandi’s ideas on killing the bathroom clutter, dealing with your husband’s towels, and how to limit those toiletry freebies you allow in your home.

What type of thing did you throw away the most today?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Wow! Tons of great idea here. I love the stacking basket from the Farmers Market. I must get some of those! I like the beach tote IN the tub to keep toys contained (a big problem in my bathroom). I will tackle my bathroom this week. This weekend I was a bit of a slacker, but I did tackle our snack cupboard that was clearly out-of-control. Pop by my blog for some before and after pics. Happy Monday and Happy Spring Cleaning!

  2. ..oh, one more thing. A trick I do with my linens and take one top sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillow cases and put them INSIDE another spare pillow case. Make a “packet” of sorts so all I have to do and grab and “packet” and I can go change a bed.

    • Valerie R. says:

      Love this idea! Thank you!

    • I do this too. I like how it keeps everything from sliding around in my closet. If you have multiple sets of sheets, or everyone has a different sized bed (as we do in my home) and you want to remember whose is whose, make a label (better to laminate paper ones it so it doesn’t fold) tie it to a string and attach it to the pillow case with a saftepin. This way you wouln’t ever again drag out that extra long twin set to re-make your queen-sized-spare bed!

    • I just keep the extra sheets for each room in that room. I have two extra sets for my bed, which I keep in a drawer under the bed and four crib/toddler sheets altogether, which I keep (the extra two) in a dresser drawer in my kids’ room. That way the sheets are always in the room where they are needed. I see no reason to have more sheets than that at this point, so this works great for me in simplifying my linen storage and bed making.

  3. This weekend I took on and conquered my basement! It felt great, and my husband got in on the action, too.

    My linen closet has never been cleaned out since we moved here three years ago. I think I’ve got my work cut out for me today!


    steadymom.com´s last blog post…What I Want for Mother’s Day

  4. I got alittle sidetracked…… http://www.kimmcmillan.typepad.com
    but I’m hoping to be back on board today and can’t wait to tackle the bathrooms:) Who knew spring cleaning would be so much fun when you think of it as a party!

  5. This is one time I am thankful I only have one bathroom. It’s a cinch to clean. Organizing the linens is another story.

    Today I’ll be throwing out moldy bath toys. How do other moms keep them really clean?

    Aimee´s last blog post…Happy Mother’s Day and Giveaway Winners!

    • Sweet & Simple Mama says:

      I soak mine in a bucket of water and bleach. For the squeeze toys I suck the solution into the toy and leave it for awhile, then I make sure to squirt it all out. My bath toys last much longer this way. I think I might try this with my vinegar and water cleaning solution and see if that works too(more natural). You would need to have some tea tree oil in it, that has antibacterial properties. Hope it works for you.

  6. Well, life happens and though I had planned on spring cleaning all last week, alas, all that I accomplished towards that was reading the chaptres of the e-book in preparation.

    Life Happens:

    Today though – just you wait! LOL

  7. So, I don’t like cleaning bathrooms. And that is probably why mine are so dirty! Well, were, so dirty! You can see my after pics here: http://www.organizing-life.com/spring-cleaning-bathrooms/

    Amiee, I just dunk my kids’ bath toys in a 10 parts water 1 part bleach solution every week or so for an hour. Then rinse them well with clean water. This seems to keep them pretty clean. If they are spongy you could try microwaving them (wet) for 30 sec-1 minute. Be careful because some plastics can melt. But this does wonders for my kitchen sponge when it starts to get not-so-fresh.
    Happy cleaning everyone!

  8. I spent a good deal of time yesterday cleaning up my bathroom. I still need to clean out under the sink and sort through the medicine cabinet, but those areas aren’t too bad. The linen closet is another story and will have to wait until I have a little more time.

    You can see the results of my bathroom cleaning here

  9. Today I’m going to deep clean the bathroom and go through our first-aid stuff again. I actually just reorganized our linen closet two weeks ago! It looks so much better. I just need to label everything today too! I thought I’d deep clean the bathroom today since we only have one bathroom and it’s so small. I’m hoping to move on to the craft room today because I have some sewing projects that I need to work on this week.

    I didn’t get my before and after post up last week for the kitchen… so I posted it here: http://anothernewseason.com/?p=527

    I’m going to get started cleaning soon. Hopefully I can get things done today, I only got about 3 hours sleep (thanks to our teething baby!)

    Donna S´s last blog post…Menu Plan Monday

  10. Here is the results from the bathroom spring cleaning. Thanks for offering this party. My house really needed it!


  11. I didn’t get to the kitchen yet but the bathrooms are definitely on the to do list for today.
    I do have a lot of sample sized/hotel soaps, shampoos, etc. but I keep them all in one drawer. They are available for our guests if they have forgotten something and then my husband and I take them when we travel instead of full sized things. So, I don’t think I’ll be getting rid of them. The linen closets do need some attention though!

    Chris Clark´s last blog post…Spring Cleaning Day 3 – or not

  12. Oh I loathe and I mean LOATHE bathroom cleaning! Although I did a major declutter and cleaning out before our move recently, I am enjoying following along with your tips these few weeks.

    I think I’d rather handwash 100 dishes over cleaning the bathrooms 😉 There I admitted it…

    BUT as always fabulous article Tsh, thanks for sharing.

    Angie @ The Creative Mama´s last blog post…The kindred-spirit friendships.

  13. Oh I am a happy girl today! I love cleaning the bathroom … well, I don’t love CLEANING it … but I sure do love when it’s done!! 🙂 Took the weekend off (as I always do) so I am busy with my “manic monday” – general cleaning, blogging, & laundry – and enjoying the day so far. It’s only 10:40 and I have finished three of four MITs … feeling very good about that!! Downloaded the e-book this weekend, Tsh, and LOVE it!

    I am so enjoying everyone’s blogs and pictures … I love the way technology can link us. And I am so glad to know that my life is so much like everyone else’s … busy, full, and wonderful!! Happy Monday to all my fellow party-ers!!


  14. Our bathroom is even smaller then yours. There isn’t space for keeping any linen so towels are all kept in a cupboard outside the bathroom. Recently went through all the toiletries and removed all the creams/lotions which I hardly used and had expired.

    Dominique´s last blog post…My Mother’s Day Gifts

  15. I haven’t been participating step by step with this mass cleaning, because I just am not in the mood truthfully. But today it struck a chord and you inspired me to tackle the bathrooms when I get home from work today! Love the pail with the magazines and extra TP!

  16. I linked to you on my blog & put a frugal tip on what you can do to get rid of those bottles–yet still put them to good use 🙂

    I have so enjoyed your spring cleaning challenge! Thanks!

  17. Love the extra toilet paper rolls and Magazine bucket idea! I kept extra rolls under the bathroom sink but now I know it doesn’t make sense to stand up to pick it up if you forgot or didn’t notice there was no more left. I usually keep the magazines in the top of the tank, but personally I don’t like it… Lets see if I can try this one since we have limited space…

    lvlc @ FromMomToMom´s last blog post…Dehydrating Veggies Results

  18. Ghanimatrix says:

    Don’t throw those hotel shampoos and soaps away! Most women’s shelters will gladly take them. Many times women show up with their kids and not much else. Please donate them to those in need!

    • I put that tip into my blog! I always grab the freebies from any hotel we are at and donate them to the women’s shelter in our community. 🙂

    • That is a great idea. The one issue I have with that is when you hold on to items with the good and noble intention of one day dropping those items off, and that day never coming. You’re just holding on to the clutter in your home for the “greater good,” at the cost of your family having a more stress-free home.

      So if this interests you, look into it TODAY. Call your local women’s shelter. And donate the items TODAY. If they don’t take these items, then move on. And if they do, then great!

  19. Like others have mentioned, the bucket with t.p. and mags looks cute. Old medications can be taken to a pharmacy for proper disposal! They shouldn’t go into the garbage. Some tub toys can be run through the dishwasher, I’ve found. I love that you add photos; it is so much fun to get a glimpse into others lives in this way.

  20. I love your ideas! Clutter is my downfall…it’s SO hard to get rid of.
    We have little linen closet space, so we hung shelves in the bathroom and put the towels up there.
    I love the sheets inside the pillow case idea – would be great to allow them to be in a basket for storage! Thanks

  21. I’ve slacked off already… but I have a good reason.

    I don’t have a linen closet to speak of… we use an old nursery cart for our bed linens in our son’s closet (as he’s only 2- not many hanging-up clothes), and our towels are in the master bedroom closet on top of a repurposed shelving unit… but I do have to go over all the items on our medicine shelves (house came without a medicine cabinet per se.

    So, hope everyone has a great day 6!

    Erin P´s last blog post…Day 6 of Spring Cleaning Party… and why I’m a slacker

  22. Hey everyone! My internet’s been off for most of the day, and it just got back on. It’s late here now, but I wanted to say great job, and keep on posting! I love seeing everyone’s progress.

  23. I just did my master bathroom today…my kid’s bathroom was just done 2 weeks ago, and my powder room never gets messy or dirty because I clean it practically every day.

    I still have to wash the floor but that will only take 45 seconds since the floor space is so small! I do have good storage in that bathroom though, thank goodness for that.

    Laurie´s last blog post…Spring Cleaning the Bathroom

  24. Love the orange crate storage idea! Way to be creative. ;o)

    Cheryl´s last blog post…Happy Mother’s Day…

  25. So far this was the easiest room in the house. I just got rid of a little bit of everything. There was no one specific thing that I had more of than the other.


  26. I finished my kitchen for the most part, which as been a lot of work as you all know. It’s nice opening the cupboards and seeing organized dished and food, and most of all I love knowing everything is CLEAN.

    And, only 4 more days to go! How exciting, next week at this time we will enjoy our truely CLEAN and decluttered homes!

  27. Today was great. I mostly threw out dish cloths. I had way more than I needed, so I turned them into cleaning rags.
    The tub in my kids bathroom is cast iron and my old bath mat left an orange(looks like rust) stain on the bottom of the tub. Any ideas how to get rid of that? Thanks

  28. sorry, messed up on my blog address

  29. Half used bottles of stuff, and stuff that honestly really should not be in the bathroom!

  30. Ahhh – feels good to have that task over and done with. I didn’t enjoy the cleaning (bathrooms are not my favorite), but I finished up the day with some decorating. Much more fun!

    I now have a new “By the Sea” themed bathroom for my daughter 🙂

  31. I didn’t get very far today. Thankfully, I keep our bathrooms fairly current, but I’m dying to tackle our linen closet. At this point, it might have to wait until next week as Day 11. 🙂

    Here’s the link to the little bit I did. I actually bought some baskets that were more functional that what I was using. I even labeled them!

  32. Well, I finished my kitchen today – but can’t wait to do the bathroom. My bathroom looks to be not a whole lot bigger than yours, and we only have one, so it stays decently organized. I do need to go through the cupboard above the toilet, and under the sink. Other than that, it’s going to be pretty much cleaning.

    My linen closet isn’t too bad either. Not much to go through in there, really.

    The reason is that I’m backwards of most people. My clutter ends up out in the open, where everyone can see it. Open pretty much any cupboard or drawer in my house, and it’s nice and neat. Most people hide their clutter behind doors…

    Anyway – I can’t wait to try out the homemade bathroom cleaners!!! I have been so impressed with the ease and handiness of the homemade recipes. I’ve sworn off store-bought officially!!! 🙂

    Tiff @ The Faery Inn´s last blog post…Kitchen’s finished! (or: Vinegar is my new boyfriend)

  33. I’m a little behind, but managed to clean all this while DD (FINALLY!) went down for a nap.


    Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker´s last blog post…Spring Cleaning – Day Six

  34. my lovely, small bathroom. sorry i didn’t get before pics. enjoy the after pics though.

  35. finally got my bathroom cabinet pic up…it’s been done since last week, just couldn’t get the picture posted! 🙂


    jodi´s last blog post…Catching Up…Again

  36. Well, belated, here I am with my bathrooms. Whew!


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