The streamlined bathroom

If your bathroom is looking like an aisle you’d find in Woolworths or maybe even the ground floor of a David Jones, it might be time to do some decluttering.

So, my first question would be what do you use daily? When you are getting ready for a fairly typical day, what do you pull out? Better yet, put aside every item you use as you are getting ready one morning. This will give you a clear image of what it is that you require everyday. In this part of the sorting process, have a look at products that stay in the shower or along the bath tub as well.

Repeat for night time too. Do you have products that double up for day and night or is turning in for the night a completely different ball game?

Now that you’ve got your main players put to one side it’s time to look at the rest.

Firstly, pull out all the duplicates of products that match your current routine. Make note of what is already open and also how old each item is. These two factors combined can greatly affect a product’s quality, so consider tossing those opened products with the help of these handy guidelines:

  • Acne treatments: Three months to a year.
  • Body lotion: One year.
  • Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel: About three years.
  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner: Three to four months.
  • Eye and lip pencils: Three to five years.
  • Lipstick and gloss: Eighteen months after first use.
  • Foundation and concealer: About a year.
  • Eye shadow: About two years.
  • Blush and bronzer: About 18 months after first use.
  • Perfume: About two years.
  • Nail polish: One year.
  • Hairstyling products: Three to five years.
  • Lip balm: One to three years after first use.


With what’s left, ask yourself, do you have room to have a back up stock area? If so, you can keep as many as will fit comfortably in that space. I don’t believe in throwing out things that you will definitely use later but I also believe that they should not be having a negative impact on your living or storage space. Take a look at the stock level, maybe even take a photo so that when you are out shopping you will remember not to buy anything until your stock level is VERY low or even better – at empty.

Turning our attention to special occasion products now (parties, weddings, etc), have a think about things you may use for such times. Have a look at those goodies and as above, see if you can recall how old they are and determine if you’ll use them again.

On to the rest! Start putting like with like. What categories are starting to take shape? Travel sized things? Gifts from well meaning people but you’ve never felt the impulse to use? Samples dating back decades? Duplicates bought because the original item went walkabout? Whatever the categories, ask yourself how long you’ve had it for, does it fit in with your current routine and do you intend to use it within the next month (say travelling)?

If items are unused and unopened you can donate them to charities or, as one client I had found out, items that are decades old can sometimes be sold to collectors.

So hopefully now, the most busy room in the house is now looking and feeling more like a great place to start, freshen up, and end your day in – good work!

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