Minimalism: Stage One – The Bathroom

Minimalism seems to be having a new wave of popularity right now.  People everywhere are de-cluttering and purging.  I hadn’t intended to document my journey with minimalism, but as it’s on trend, it seemed foolish not to talk about it more and more!

I’ve already written about learning to live without hair products like shampoo.  You can read it here (A Product-Less Life: Hair)  So I’m going to keep along that trend a little and talk about the bathroom.

We love products, so this entire journey of using the minimum has been harrowing.  The bathroom is both easy and hard.  Easy because you have a ton of things to get rid of, and hard because most things in their are things you like the smell of.  Smells are hard.  They’re so alluring!  But the product in my bathrooms right now are the pictures above, and nothing else!

Here are our tips on getting down to a minimalist bathroom.

1.) Hair appliances.  I had so many different curlers.  A big barrel, a small barrel, a medium barrel.  The truth is I use the same one every day.  I always thought the options of different hairstyles was important, but I never use the other two.  I kept the one I needed, and donated the other two.  I have one blow-dryer, one straightener, and one curling wand.

2.) Makeup.  Oh yes, this one.  Everyone talks about this one.  But the truth is, most of us don’t change up our makeup every single day.  We have our daily routine, and a few options with eye shadow color.  I always use the same foundation, concealer, primer, eyebrow pencil, bronzer combo.  Every single day.  The only time it differs is if I have an event to go to, and that just means some classy eyeliner and lip color.  So why do I have eight bronzer options, five blush options, and a bunch of brushes I never use?  It was hard to purge.  I don’t like throwing things away, but you can’t exactly share used mascara.  It’s not sanitary.  So I went through and picked my favorite products, and got rid of the rest.  I didn’t necessarily just throw things out.  If I could, I used them up, and just didn’t replace them.  My morning makeup routine is super easy now, and my drawers aren’t cluttered.  I don’t have to make decisions, and I know what looks good on me.

3.) Moisturizers.  Good grief, I do like my good-smelling products!  The good thing is I’ve been trying to stop using anything with parabens, so I had a lot of things I hadn’t used in years.  Again, I hate waste, so a few of them I kept on the counter and used up instead of just chucking them.  I use coconut oil for most of my moisturizing now, so I allowed myself to keep one really beautiful smelling lotion for the days when a little pamper is necessary.  Right now, I’m using up my Hydrating Argan Oil of Morocco Lotion.  I like this product, but once it’s gone, I won’t replace it.  I’m going to get something really spa like that’s natural and low on unwanted chemicals.

4.) Towels.  Really?  How do I have so many towels?  Some look like I’ve used them for years to wash the dog.  I don’t necessarily recommend getting all new things, but that’s what I did.  I made a few rags, donated the ones not so bad to an animal shelter (they always need towels and blankets), and then went out and bought two sets of new towels.  I trade them out once a week and wash the dirty set.  So far I’ve never wished I had more and I always have clean fresh towels.

5.) Bathroom Supplies and Cleaners.  I think at some point everyone has gone to a store like Costco because buying toilet paper in bulk is soooo much cheaper.  But unless you’re a family, having all that stuff isn’t really space efficient.  This isn’t really a de-cluttering option, but I don’t buy what I can’t store.  I fill up the basket in the bathroom on the top shelf, and the holder, and the rest goes in the linen closet.  (I don’t have much linen, but the extra towels go there).  And cleaners.  I got down to one cleaner I use for the entire bathroom.  Simple.  If something needs an extra scrub, I add baking soda too it.  Another option here to save money in the long run is to go in on the flats of toilet paper with family members.  My brother and I will get one and split it.  It’s cheaper for both of us that way.  We do the same with cleaner.  We buy the big jug, and I have a reusable container to fill and he takes the rest.  Anything you buy bulk can work this way.

6.) The shower.  If you have more than on person living in the house, you might have more than one shampoo bottle.  And if you’re like me and dye your hair, you might have products for certain times of the week.  You don’t have to be product-less when it comes to hair care, but combinations are a good thing.  I have one soap for my face and body.  One loofah.  One good quality razor that I keep in the drawer unless I’m using it with a few extra blades.  My shampoo and conditioner (Coconut Oil).  Nothing else stays in the shower.  If you have more than one product, I would store it in the cupboard.  Before you shower, take a moment and prepare for it.  How can you make this time luxurious for yourself?  Smell your soaps and pick the one you like if you have more than one, and take only that one with you.

I also recommend changing out your loofah often.  Read any article on how unsanitary they are, and you’ll never want to use it.  I throw my in the wash with my towels once a week until it starts to get a little ratty, and then I throw it out and get a new one.

7.) Decorations.  We all love stores like Homesense which offer affordable knickknacks that are really cute.  But if you have more decorations than you do bathroom products, it’s probably a bit much.  I chose two really adorable pieces that are categorized as ‘decor’, and two baskets that are both cute and useful.  A few candles for bath time.  Over decorating can cause clutter that just takes time to clean.  One of the best things about my de-cluttered bathroom is that it takes no time at all to clean!

8.) Extra.  Basically ‘extra’ is the enemy word when it comes to living the minimalist life.  You learn to live with just enough of everything.  Extra toothpaste?  Try to stick to one or give to family members.  Extra feminine products?  Well, I hear you there, but don’t go crazy.  Extra hand towels?  get in the habit of washing what you use.  There are a few miscellaneous items that don’t fit into a category as well.  You have to decide piece by piece what is important and necessary.  I have a dry brush I like to use, and a jug of Epsom salts for my baths.  I have a little collection of essential oils for bath as well, lavender and tea tree, and I have ‘extra’ because at Costco there was a pack of two for really cheap.  I couldn’t pass that up as they can be really expensive!  But I use it.  If I have ten different kinds, but never used half of them, that’s clutter.  I have two, and I will use them both until they are completely empty, then I’ll get more.

9.) Clean!  One of the most important aspects of living minimally is making sure everything is clean and always put away.  It’s easier to stay organized when you don’t have an abundance of stuff, but mess is the ultimate gateway to extra stuff.  Clean your towels so you never run out.  Clean your bath mat to keep it fresh so you don’t feel like buying another one.  Clean your counter top to remind you to put things away.  Clean the bath to make sure you’re always ready for a nice long relaxing soak after work.  Because there is very little clutter with my makeup, I don’t have to dig through things or keep them aside for frequent use.  I open the drawer, use the primer, and put it pack.  I use the foundation and put it back.  I use the brush and put it back.  When I’m done with my morning routine, I don’t even have to clean it up. It’s already all back in its place.

I enjoy getting ready so much more than I ever have.  I’m not fighting with my bathroom anymore.  I’m not searching for things, or unwrapping cords.  I don’t get frustrated to find out I’m out of something, or that my time of the month came without me being prepared.  Every single day I look at my things, and because there are so few, it’s obvious when I’m out of something.  I do my makeup and always feel pretty.  My skin isn’t irritated by random chemicals.  The entire process is easy.

And oddly enough, I probably spend more time in the bathroom than I ever did.  I’m much more likely to have a nice bath now, or to linger after a shower and moisturize.  I used to find self-care such a chore and being in the bathroom frustrating.  But now because of the clean fresh space it all feels so much more luxurious, and I feel like I’m pampering myself in my own home.

*Photos taken by Jayne of her home

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