Read on for my tips for how to declutter your bathroom, plus a printable checklist of 40 things you can get rid of now.
Even though our bathrooms are one of the smallest rooms in the house, they tend to be one of the spaces that fill up with clutter quickest. Dirty clothes, toiletries, medicines, hair tools you tried once and decided you hated, the nail polish color you bought but never used … these things can pile up quickly, creating chaos in a space that’s all about function. <- This is not good.
If you’re sick of your hair spray can falling out on your foot every time you open your vanity door (that was the catalyst for me, at least), consider this your official “How to Declutter Your Bathroom” guide with all the bathroom decluttering deets you’ll need to get a handle on the stuff.
The good news is, decluttering your bathroom is totally doable, and I personally find it to be one of the easiest spots in the home to declutter, since there are a lot of objective criteria you can use for getting rid of things (is this cold medicine expired? Is this lipstick my color?)
Still, I broke down a process to make it even easier, and included a list of 30+ things to get rid of when you’re decluttering (along with a printable checklist at the bottom of this post!).
One thing to note: I’m just covering decluttering here! I tackle bathroom organization ideas in another post, because I think it’s important to declutter first then organize! Trying to do both at once tends to be inefficient and overwhelming.
How to Declutter Your Bathroom
I’ve started with an overview of my personal decluttering process throughout the bathroom, below. I’ve also included criteria you can use for deciding what to do with specific items, as well as a bulleted list of common clutter you’ll find in each area.
Overall, it’s important to remember that keeping things just because you spent money on them doesn’t mean they’re worth keeping around. They already cost you money, don’t let them cost you more time or energy. Everything in our homes must be managed, so when it feels hard to get rid of something, ask if it’s worth it to you to manage these things and why.
Now, let’s get started.
1. Gather what you need.
The first step to any good declutter is to set yourself up for success. Gather your decluttering supplies, like garbage bags and donation boxes before you dive in to your decluttering, because once you get your momentum, it’s frustrating to stop and search the house for another donation bin.
When you’re ready to declutter, you’ll need five boxes and/or bags.
- Keep in bathroom – this is for things that need a new home for within the bathroom
- Keep, but belongs elsewhere – for thing that don’t belong in the room at all
- Donate – women’s shelters often take unused toiletries and feminine products
- Trash – for expired items or things you don’t use
- Recycle/Upcycle – for anything you can repurpose or recycle
Remember to be mindful of how you toss any medicines, personal care items, and things like razors. Some things shouldn’t be thrown in the trash or dumped down the drain, and not all bottles can be recycled. If you aren’t sure what to do with something immediately, put it in a separate pile and research proper disposal when you’re done decluttering.
Now it’s time to get down to business! As you’re going through things, remember to put items that belong elsewhere in their box but leave them there. Your only focus is to declutter your bathroom, not put items away in other rooms, since that makes it easy to get distracted. Save that for another day, or after you’re done in the bathroom.
2. Start with the vanity.
I always like to start by decluttering the vanity. Much like the kitchen table or countertops, the bathroom vanity is where we tend to throw or shove things without thinking or when we just don’t have anywhere else to store them, which is why it’s often the most cluttered area of the bathroom.
I like to start by removing the clutter from the top of the vanity – throw away anything that you don’t need, and place any items that need a new home in your “keep in the bathroom” bin to be sorted later.
Then, it’s time to move into the vanity. Take everything out, and sort through it. Return any items that you know belong in the vanity, and sort the rest into the appropriate keep/donate/trash receptacle.
Common clutter you’ll find in the vanity:
- Duplicate skincare products
- Expired beauty products
- Expired medications
- Hair tools you no longer use
- Old makeup
- Dried out nail polish
- Items you spent a lot of money on but don’t like, and feel bad about throwing away
- Cleaning supplies that should be in a closet or another area
3. Move on to the medicine cabinet
The number one goal for your medicine cabinet: open it without something falling out.
The medicine cabinet is actually sort of a misnomer, because it’s not really the ideal place to store medicines, given the frequent humidity and temperature changes bathrooms go through. I usually only store medicines there that I take daily, as part of my morning or bedtime routine. Everything else, like vitamins, cold medicine, pain relievers, first aid supplies, etc., I store in a cabinet in my kitchen, which I actually find to be much more convenient anyway.
So what should you keep in your medicine cabinet? I like to store things there that I use daily, and would otherwise end up on my vanity countertop. Things like face wash, toothpaste, lotion, and skincare items. I also store my toothbrush there because it’s simply more sanitary than storing it on the countertop.
Anything else, I store inside my bathroom vanity.
So, again, start by removing everything from your medicine cabinet. Throw away any expired/unused items, and replace only the things that should be there.
Common clutter you’ll find in the medicine cabinet:
- Expired medications
- Cold medicine/vitamins that should live somewhere else
- Things that are too big to store there and fall out when you open the door
4. Hit the shower (and tub)
If you tend to buy new bath products before you’re done with your old ones, you likely have excess shampoo or body wash bottles in your shower.
Again, the goal is to have only the things you need in the shower. So, if you have multiple shampoo bottles, for example, combine them if they are the same brand, or store one of them in the vanity until the other one runs out.
Don’t forget to check out your loofahs and exfoliators! Loofahs are supposed to be replaced every month, so get rid of any that are older than that.
And lastly, if you”re cleaning a kids bathroom, don’t forget to assess the toy situation. My kids tend to bring in non-bath toys into the tub with them, so whenever I declutter I always make sure to put those back in the playroom. This is also a good chance to toss any broken, moldy, or unused toys.
Common clutter in the bath & shower:
- Duplicate bath products
- Duplicate razors
- Old or unused loofahs
- Bath toys
- Small soap pieces ( you can gather them up and put in a mesh bag!)
- Specialty treatments you don’t use daily, like hair masks
5. Asses the decor situation
When you declutter your bathroom, don’t forget to look at your decor. Decor in your bathroom should add to the overall vibe, not make the room feel more cluttered. If you find the decor in your bathroom is outdated, or your no longer like it, it’s OK to get rid of it. Even if you don’t replace it right away, a few empty walls are better than being visually barraged by things you don’t like every time you enter the room.
Common decor clutter in the bathroom
- Decorative/seasonal towels and curtains
- Wall art
- Plants, figurines, etc.
6. Additional clutter to catch
Since every bathroom is different, you may have additional spaces I didn’t cover above, to which you can apply a similar decluttering method of clearing out the area, sorting the items into what belongs and what doesn’t, and returning the products that do belong back to the area.
I’ve created a list below of all the common bathroom clutter you’ll find, and how to asses what to do with it.
40+ Bathroom Items You Can Get Rid of Now
- Expired items, especially self-tanner, exfoliators, sunscreen and serums
- Face masks you don’t use (if you haven’t used it in the last 6 months, chances are good that you won’t!)
- Old, worn out, or unused body and face tools (massagers, dry brushes, razors, etc.)
- Dried out face wipes/makeup wipes
- Thing you purchased but have since replaced with something you like better
Bathing & Personal Care
- Almost-empty shampoo, conditioner & body wash
- Loofahs older than 4 weeks
- Soap slivers
- Dull razors, or ones you’ve since replaced
- Duplicate travel-sized items – you only need a couple of each if you even use them
- Travel cases or containers you don’t use
- Gifted bubble bath / spa treatments you won’t use
- Feminine products you don’t like or use
- Extra items like hand soap, toilet paper, etc – keep only what you’ll use in the next few weeks in the bathroom and store the rest in a closet/pantry
Medications & first aid
- Expired medications
- Old prescriptions you don’t need/use
- Hand sanitizer you don’t need or use
- Expired makeup
- Old items that you’ve since replaced, like mascara, blush
- Old makeup brushes/sponges
- Things you don’t like or don’t use
- Trendy products that are no longer in style
- Gift makeup sets you don’t use
- Makeup bags that were part of store freebies that you don’t use
- Dried-out or discolored nail polish
- Worn out nail-files
- Nail stickers/decor/tools you haven’t used in six months
Hair products and accessories
- Expired or not used sprays, creams, oils, treatments,
- Hair brushes and combs – keep only the ones you use daily, and eliminate duplicates
- Specialty hair tools you don’t use, like curling irons, crimpers, waving tools, etc.
- Styling accessories you don’t use, like barrettes, scrunchies, claw clips, etc.
- Old or expired whitening gels/tools
- Electric toothbrush accessories you don’t use like chargers, attachments, etc.
- Floss and toothpicks you don’t like, i.e. if you get a certain type from the dentist
- Almost-empty toothpaste if you’ve since replaced it
Towels and washcloths
- Stained or ripped bath towels, hand towels, or washcloths
- Towels you’ve since replaced but never got rid of
Baby and kid items
- Bath toys
- Items that no longer match the stage you’re in, like diaper creams and ointments if your kids are out of diapers
Cleaning Products & Supplies
- Anything that’s not bathroom-specific, like toilet bowl cleaner, can be kept somewhere else.
Download a printable checklist of these items here.