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I'm a professional declutterer. Here are 5 things from your bathroom you need to throw out.

Julia Williamson   

I'm a professional declutterer. Here are 5 things from your bathroom you need to throw out.
  • I'm a professional declutterer and work with clients to help reduce the amount of stuff they own.
  • People tend to forget that things like make up and sunscreen expire.

Modern bathrooms are a miracle of storage space, but that boon comes with a downside: they can hold a lot of clutter.

But there's good news, too. We tend to be less emotionally attached to the contents of our bathroom cupboards, making it one of the easiest rooms to declutter.

As a professional decluttrer, here are five things I recommend you purge today.

We tend to have too much body care stuff

Soap, lotion, eye cream, deodorant, all the elixirs that keep you clean, lovely, and smelling great. Most of us have way more of this stuff than we'll use in a lifetime. Start by tossing anything old, more or less used up, or just unappealing in any way. Don't like the way that antiperspirant smells? Get rid of it. Hate the texture of that face cream? Toss it.

Then, determine that you'll use up what you've got before you purchase any more. As for throwing things away, don't worry about waste; keeping something but not using it is the same as consigning it to the trash. While you're at it, check on your supply of washcloths, loofahs, nail brushes, and other cleanliness tools. Keep what you use; toss the rest.

A quick note about sunscreen, since summer is upon us. It does expire, which can have disastrous results. Check your dates.

Check expiration dates on first aid supplies

It's time to round up all the bottles, tubes, and boxes of theoretically useful first aid supplies. Remember that bandages and gauze pads need to be sterile to be useful, so toss anything that's open. Check expiration dates on ointments, creams, and medications, and let go of any items you bought for that one-time problem that hasn't recurred.

If you have a lot of first aid supplies and don't want to waste them, consider creating a kit for the car or one for traveling. Then, you won't be tempted to buy yet another box of bandaids when you hurt yourself on the go.

Hair brushes and ties are easy to collect

It's possible that there are five or more hairbrushes hiding in various drawers in your bathroom. You've only got one head, so think about how many hair utensils you really need. This includes all the ones you plug in: clippers, straighteners, curling irons, diffusers, and likely many others. These take up a lot of space, so if you don't use them, pass them along.

Look at your collection of styling gels, pomades, fixatives, etc. Again, keep what you love. But resist the urge to hold onto something you never use "just in case." Finally, sort through barrettes, bobby pins, hair ties, clips — all the accessories. Putting them in one place will help you recognize how many you already have.

Makeup tends to expire within 12 months

Makeup expires. Most items have a shelf life of six months to a year. So toss anything you haven't used since the advent of Covid. Then, take stock and decide which items you like and which you're unlikely to use. This stuff can be expensive, but don't fall into the value trap. The money is gone; keeping that tube of mascara you're not likely to use isn't going to recoup it.

If you bought a product recently but don't like it, find a teenager who might want it. You'll lighten your load and make someone's day.

So much 'other' stuff ends up in the bathroom

Many things find their way into the bathroom that are only tangentially connected to hygiene. Items like candles, toys, lint rollers, irons — all kinds of things find their way into the bathroom and refuse to leave. Decide whether this is the right place for them. If so, designate a drawer or cupboard specifically for non-body care stuff. If you don't actually use it in the bathroom, there might be a better place to store it.

The bathroom is a hardworking space. It will be easier to clean and much easier to share if it isn't full of extra things no one really cares about. So toss with abandon and enjoy your pared-down space.

If you have unopened hygiene supplies you don't think you'll use, consider donating them to a local food bank or other emergency service center. People need toothbrushes and shampoo just as much as they require food and a safe place to sleep.

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