Follow these organizing rules and your bathroom will be tidy in no time. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated: May 07, 2019
Melpomenem/Getty Images

When you're attempting to spring-clean your entire home, tunnel vision can sometimes help you actually get things done. If trying to organize every room at once is leaving you distracted, narrow your focus to a single space. Today's challenge: declutter your bathroom drawers and medicine cabinet. Chances are, you've been stashing products you haven't used in years and shampoo you haven't touched in months—maybe even a bottle of hair spray you bought for your high school prom. Follow the steps and rules below to quickly get your bathroom clutter under control. 

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How it works: To complete the bathroom organizing challenge, head into the bathroom and get rid of all of the items listed below. Set a timer or stop watch for 60 minutes if you want to be strict about the time limit. Bring a small trash can, a recycling bin, and a "to donate" box right into the room so you won't have to leave just to toss things out. 

The rules: 

1. Don't actually clean anything. The goal here is to declutter and purge, so resist the temptation to dust, wipe, and disinfect. (Don't worry, once you have everything organized, you can get to cleaning.) 

2. Don't get distracted. No phone calls, no social media, wait until the kids are asleep—avoid anything that will distract you for the next hour. 

3. Don't test out any of the products. Finding a long-lost face mask may tempt you to try it out, but save it for a post-organizing reward. 

Ready to start decluttering? Purge each of the items listed below. 

Extra Bottles of Shampoo and Conditioner 

In many bathrooms, the bathtub ledge is overrun with half-empty shampoo bottles. Only keep in your bath or shower the products you really need. For many, this means one bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. If you have nearly-empty bottles hanging around, rinse them out and recycle them or decide to finish up the product. 

If you have multiple containers of the same product, take a couple minutes to decant them into one bottle. Products you don't actually use? If they're not expired (check this list of expiration dates) and are unopened, donate them to a local homeless shelter or women's shelter. 

Your "One-Day" Makeup Stash 

Saving that silver glitter eyeshadow from an old Halloween costume? Waiting to be invited to a gala to use that liquid eyeliner you never wear? If you're keeping "aspirational" makeup you don't actually wear, it's time to toss it out. Not only is it wasting valuable storage space, but that eyeshadow and eyeliner will be expired and growing bacteria if you wait years to use it. 

Sunscreens from Summers Past 

If you have a huge collection of sunscreen, check the expiration dates and toss out any that are so close to empty they aren't worth hanging onto. Most sunscreens are only designed to last at their original strength for up to 3 years, so if you're using old sunscreen, you may not be as protected as you think. 

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That Stash of Mini Hotel Toiletries 

If you travel a lot, there's a good chance you have an overflowing collection of tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion collected from hotels. If you have unused bottles that aren't expired, consider donating them to your local homeless shelter or women's shelter.

A rule of thumb going forward: if you generally don't use your mini toiletries once you take them home, leave them at the hotel. 

Your Collection of Product Samples 

Those little packets of lotion, those tiny perfume samples, test strips of blush—product samples collected from the mall or mailers tend to add up and go unused. Sort through your stash and get rid of any you're unlikely to try within the next week (and be honest!). 

The Towels You Never Use 

If you have bath towels that are looking so shabby you never reach for them, it's time to let them go. Consider donating them to your local animal shelter or Animal Humane Society

Cleaning Products Under the Sink 

Take five minutes to sort through your cleaning supplies to determine if you're holding onto any products you never use. Again, remember Rule #1: now isn't the time to actually clean the bathroom, just declutter your cleaning supplies. When placing them back in the cabinet, be sure to stash sprays you reach for most often in the front, and cleaners you use less often (like the grout cleaner) in the back. 

Expired Medicine 

Luckily, this is perhaps the easiest category to declutter: check if each bottle of medicine has expired, and if it has, it's time to toss it. Follow the FDA's guidelines for the disposal of differentt types of medicine.

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