Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Motivation: Organizing The Bathroom

Want to get your home organized this year?  The whole thing?  Well, you're in the right place.

  We're going through the house, room by room. 

January had us straighting up the foyer/entrance. February was the month to get the kitchen straight.  Now, in March, we're going to tackle the bathrooms.  Here are the posts from March of 2011 which showed you how to work on the different areas of your bathrooms.



Monday Motivation: Organizing The Bathroom  

Most of us start our day in the bathroom. It's not really something we talk about - it's just part of our day.

To me, the bathroom is the easiest and quickest room to clean and organize. Maybe not the most fun room, but definitely the easiest and quickest.

I found this picture of a 1920s bathroom fixture advertisement. I wonder how many of those green fixtures are still around today? I couldn't help but notice how today's fixtures copy the lines of those from 90 years ago. Interesting!

Well, enough reminiscing. Let's get to work. During the month of March, we'll be focusing on organizing the bathroom. This week we'll focus on what areas your bathroom needs work on. Next week we'll look at the medicine cabinet, followed by cabinets and storage the third week. The last week of March we'll focus on keeping the bathroom clean and also safety issues.

When organizing your bathroom, there are several areas where you want to focus your attention. I like to have my clients step back and look at their room from a visitor's eyes (or when selling their home, from their buyer's eyes).

1. Does the room appear cluttered? It could be that there are too many items sitting around. It could also be that the decor simply has too many patterns and distracts the eye. If a calm, clean bathroom is what you're after, think about simplifying your curtains, towels, shower curtain, and rugs for a more pleasing view.

2. Does the room smell? Pardon my boldness, but remember, you're looking at the bathroom from a visitor's viewpoint. Does it smell musty? Dirty? Odoriferous? Maybe you need places to hang damp towels so they will dry quicker. Maybe your rugs need to be washed or replaced. Maybe your sink drain needs to be cleaned.

3. Listen. . . do you hear dripping or running water? If so, you may have a leaky toilet or faucet that is costing you money and wasting water. Usually the repair is a simple one that can make a big difference.

4. Are there things in the room that you've never really liked? I'm not talking about a whole room remodel, but small, individual things that get under your skin. For years, I was annoyed with an overflowing trashcan in our kids bathroom. No matter how often I emptied it, it always seemed to be full. Then it dawned on me that the "cute" little trashcan was just that - cute and little - too little. I swapped out that trashcan with a larger one from my guest room and the problem was solved.

5. Does the bathroom always seem to be dirty? We'll cover this during the last week, but it merits some thought right now. I've found if the bathroom takes too long to clean, then it is less likely to be cleaned. The less clutter that is sitting on the counters, on the floor, and in the tub/shower the easier it is to clean. I like cute decor as much as anybody, but bathrooms get a lot of use and need to be cleaned quite often so it pays to declutter as much as possible.

Monday Motivation: Organizing the Medicine Cabinet 

This week we'll tackle an easy chore - the medicine cabinet. This should really be done regularly to help keep your family safe. Medicines and first aid supplies expire after a year or two and should be disposed of properly.

Below is a post I originally published in August of 2009 when I was just beginning to blog. I couldn't improve on the process, so I just decided to post it again. At that time, I only had 9 followers, so I'm sure none of you have read this blog post yet (LOL)!


This is an important chore that needs to be done regularly to keep your family safe. Today, I want you to tackle your medicine cabinet. I want to assure you that this should not take longer than 1/2 hour.

Here's how to do it:

1. Open the cabinet door.

2. Remove everything from one shelf.

3. Check the expiration dates. Throw away any item that is expired, discolored, unlabeled, unnecessary, or belongs to someone who no longer lives in the home.

4. Set what you have decided to keep into a box.

5. Follow the procedure in steps 3 and 4 for each shelf or section of your cabinet.

6. Replace the items you are keeping (from the box) according to the type of item it is. Cold meds, first aide supplies, pain reliever, etc.. I like to place like items together in a container. The dollar store is a good place to pick up small, lightweight containers.

7. Place any items you are throwing away into a plastic bag, tie it up, and throw it into the trashcan where it cannot be torn into. DO NOT flush meds down the toilet. It has been proven that this leads to pollution of our waterways. Some pharmacies will accept old medication for disposal.

This simple chore can prevent harm coming to your family by ingesting a medication that has expired or is no longer safe.

Now that you've gotten your medicine cabinet cleaned out, go around your home and find all of the places you've stashed extra first aid supplies and meds that you don't use regularly. Put them in your newly spacious cabinet so you can find them when you need them.

If you have young children, be sure to keep meds locked up. Also, be careful about what kind of meds you keep in a medicine cabinet that is accessible to visitors. I have a friend who had pain medication taken from her medicine cabinet during a party she was hosting in her home. Be aware and be wise.

Monday Motivation: Organizing Bathroom Cabinets and Drawers

In most bathrooms that I've helped organize and stage, storage has been a problem. It seems that many bathrooms are built without thought to where one should store one's "jams and jellies" (as Candice Olsen calls them).

In addition to lack of storage, most of us hoard keep too many supplies in our bathrooms. What are we to do? Get creative!

I've had to get very creative in our current home when it comes to storing our necessities. In our main bathroom, we don't have drawers, shelves, or medicine cabinets.

To keep our counters easy to clean, I like to keep most items tucked away. Here's where I keep our toothbrushes, toothpaste, dixie cups, and jewelry cleaner. For directions on how to make a canning jar soap dispenser, check this blog post.

The jar of jewelry cleaner fits perfectly in the left drawer, a small stack up cups in the right drawer, and toobrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss in the bottom drawer. My meds are currently in a ceramic pot so that I will remember to take them when I brush my teeth. If I had small children around the house, I'd keep them someplace safter.

As far as linens go, I'm using several different pieces to hold everything. First, I use my old childhood dresser to hold sheets and towels. The top drawer holds toilet paper, a heating pad, and extra soap. As there are no towel bars, I use a quilt rack to hold towels. This one was made in 1984 by someone in shop class who's initials are J.S.

The dresser does double duty, too. The section of wall behind the dresser is missing drywall and the dresser holds a piece of cardboard in place. One day we'll get around to remodeling this bath and install board and batten with real trim and baseboards.

I keep a basket underneath the chair to hold extra hand towels.

For all of my "jams and jellies" I use the only full size cabinet in the bathroom. I've used a selection of baskets, wire shelves, plastic boxes, and zippered make-up bags. The plaid bag holds the supplies I use everyday. The nice thing about it is that I just add a few things to it and it's ready to travel.

Underneath the basket it sits in is extra lotions, conditioners, and hair goop that I use whenever humidity gets the upper hand on my hair and skin. My manicure supplies are in a handy zippered bag. The basket on the right holds my blow dryer, curling iron, and flat iron. (my hair is hight maintenance) Below that basket is a small basket of extra make-up and my jar of coconut oil that I use as a face and body lotion. Behind everything is extra supplies that I stock up on when they go on sale like feminine products, hair dye, and cotton balls/Q tips.

So now that I showed you my bathroom storage, it's time for you to work on your own. If you've read my blog for awhile, you'll be familiar with the process.

1. Remove everything from the cabinet or drawer. Wipe out the cabinet/drawer and line with contact paper if desired.

2. Toss everything that is expired or unusable.

3. Sort items according to type. Example: hair products, face products, first aid products.

4. You may find that you have several duplicates. A lot of people tend to not finish up products before they open a new one. Consolidate the duplicates and promise yourself to finish up a product before breaking out the new replacement.

5. Now that you know what you have and will use, put items into containers to keep them organized and easy to find. Shop your house first to see if you have containers you're not using in other areas. There's no need to spend money if you don't need to. Square and rectangle containers are the best as they use space more efficiently. If you need storage for small items, use a drawer unit to sit inside the cabinet.

6. Store items you don't use often or only seasonally in the back of the cabinet or in an out of the way closet. Keep your most often used items near the front of the cabinet. Before storing paper products under your sink, make sure you don't have any leaks. Paper plus water equals mess!!

My friend, Amanda, has a great idea for organizing bathroom drawers. She's a professional organizer and does amazing work. I know you'll find her web site very helpful. Please stop by her blog and tell her I said hello!

Monday Motivation: How To Keep Your Bathroom Clean

You've worked hard all month to get your bathroom organized.

Now that everything is purged and organized, how do you clean it and keep it that way?

I think the secret to a clean bathroom is to do it frequently. Of course, no one wants to hear that, but the truth of the matter is that a little bit of mess is easier to clean than a whole lotta mess. Follow me?

Here are some tips to help you make the task more manageable:

1. Keep cleaning supplies handy. Nothing slows momentum quicker than having to retrieve cleaning supplies from another room. I keep a roll of paper towels, a bottle of Sparkle cleaner, a canister of Borax, and a sponge under each bathroom sink in my home. I also have a toilet brush in a covered container, tucked behind each toilet.

2. Every two days (or every day if a lot of people use the bathroom) follow these steps:
A. Spray sinks and mirror with Sparkle cleaner and wipe with a paper towel.
B. Sprinkle Borax into toilet bowl and swish with brush.
C. Spray toilet seat and toilet surround with Sparkle cleaner and wipe with another paper towel.
D. Squeegee water off of the shower surround with a small squeegee after each shower.

There! You just completed a quick, 2-3 minute clean-up that will keep most of the germ police away and makes your bathroom presentable most of the time.

3. For your weekly cleaning:
A. Sprinkle Borax onto your wet sponge and scrub your sinks, counters, and tub and shower. Rinse with water and polish with Sparkle cleaner.
B. Vacuum the floor, shake rugs, and mop floor with sparkle cleaner and a mop. If your bathroom floor is small enough, you can simple wipe it down with cleaner and a paper towel.
C. After putting Borax into the toilet, let it sit for several hours before brushing and flushing.
D. Set out fresh towels.
E. Refill soap dispenser if necessary.

4. Every month:
A. Vacuum the exhaust fan
B. Wipe baseboards
C. Clean fingerprints from walls, door, and trim
D. Take a few minutes to straighten out the cabinets and drawers, tossing anything that is expired
E. Take inventory of any items you will run out of soon and add them to your shopping list
F. Wash bath mats if necessary.

Here are a few tips I've found to make cleaning surfaces easier:
1. Polish your shower stall with car wax or Gel Gloss every 6 months or so. It will cause the water to bead up and dry quicker, leaving less water spots. It also keeps soap residue from clinging to the surface, making it easier to clean. *Caution*- Do not polish the bottom of the tub/shower. It will make it slippery when wet. *Another Caution* - This is a chemical product. Be careful.
2. Polish your sink top with Gel Gloss to keep toothpaste from adhering to the surface.
3. There are products that say they will keep your mirror from fogging up, but I've never found them to be rather short lived and eventually left streaks when I tried to clean the mirror. If you have a solution, please share your thoughts.
4. Shower curtains should be made out of a quick-drying fabric. Avoid liners made with PVC as it releases harmful chemicals.

Just a note. . . I prefer to use homemade cleaners that don't have strong chemicals to clean my home. Please feel free to replace the items I suggested with whatever cleaning solutions you desire. Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the recipe for a new general bathroom cleaner that I'm having great results with. 

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