I'm excited to start sharing about how minimal living actually works for us in real life! I hope these posts are helpful, encouraging and maybe even inspire you to clear out some stuff and make more room for life.
Our home has one bathroom, and it is tiny.
40 square feet, in fact. Previous owners dropped the ceilings by several feet at some point, so it feels very much like an RV bathroom. The coating on the porcelain tub has all worn off so it's impossible to clean and looks permanently dirty. Previous owners also sprayed this crazy textured paint on the walls and used super cheap paneling to look like beadboard - all around, it's a hot mess. And there's also no storage space - no linen closet, hardly any room for any kind of shelving at all. When we first moved in, I was keeping extra towels, toilet paper and bathroom things in the second bedroom closet, just down the hall from the bathroom. But I'm very much a things-should-be-in-the-room-they're-used kind of person, so that solution didn't last long because it drove me so crazy. Our next solution was to put up shelves all along the long wall, about a foot below the ceiling. It made the bathroom feel even tinier, but it kept all our bath stuff in the actual bath. Those shelves held towels, extra bath + body products, toilet paper, etc.
Until I started minimizing. One day, I took every single thing out of the bathroom and laid it all out on the floor of the living room. I went through every product, every towel, every single item and decided whether or not it was essential. After it was all said and done, tons of stuff went out the door and the shelves were now empty! So we took them down, and put up two much smaller ones above the toilet to hold towels and also be decorative. It works so much better and the extra head space without the shelves is so nice!
My bathroom is not cute or styled. It's pretty grimy and not very photogenic. But it's real, and I want to share the realness. So although these photos aren't bright and white and pretty and shiny, it's what our bathroom actually looks like. I hope it's helpful!
Here's what we keep in our bathroom.
TOWELS: We have four bath towels, all mismatched and mostly leftover from college. We each use the same towel 2-3 times before washing it. If we have guests (which is super rare since we don't have a guest room), they just use our two extras. We have two hand towels, which we rotate on the towel bar for drying hands, and one washcloth, which we really don't even use because we use sea sponges in the shower. Xavier has one hooded towel - we donated the other 4 hooded towels we had for him and kept the nicest one that was embroidered with his name. It hangs on the back of the door. He only gets a bath every couple days anyway, and we reuse his towel a few times before washing. And if it happens to be dirty on a bath day, we use a regular towel! It's amazing, but regular towels actually DO work for babies too, haha! I'd like to replace our bath towels and hand towels with these Turkish towels though, since they dry faster and take up less space.
BATH PRODUCTS: We keep our products to a minimum. Matt and I use the same shampoo, and all three of us use the same body wash. I don't use conditioner, or detangler, or hydrating masks or any of that stuff. We each have a razor and I just recently started using this shave oil. We use the same body lotion that Xavier uses. I keep my facewash in the shower as well. We have a sea sponge for Xave and a sea sponge for us. I also keep one bottle of bubble bath, a pumice stone and a jar of epson salts. All of this stuff is stored on the built-in niches in our shower.
BABY BATH/TOYS: We use a plastic storage crate from Target as Xavier's bath tub - true story. We had a Puj tub but it didn't work well for our sink shape. Once he was about three months old, we just laid the Puj tub on the floor of the bath as a cushy mat and bathed him laying down. Once he could sit up, though, he didn't love that. Enter: the plastic crate. Baby bath tubs are so bulky and we just don't have any room to store one, so this is a perfect solution. Once he's big enough to not need to be contained (we're almost there!) the crate can go back to being storage and we don't have a giant baby bath sitting in the attic unused! As for toys, Xave has three. A rubber duck, a rattle ball thing, and a tugboat. Right now they're all stored in a container that hangs on the wall of the shower. I'm sure as he gets bigger we might get a few more, but we're definitely going to keep the bath toys to a minimum and make sure they can be easily stored in a bag or something that can stay in the shower and not take up too much space.
TRAVEL ITEMS: We have a dopp kit bag filled with travel size items that's ready to throw in a suitcase whenever we travel.
PERSONAL PRODUCTS: My daily routine is pretty minimal. On a daily basis, I use face wipes, contact solution, my toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, usually dry shampoo and my very minimal makeup (concealer, blush, mascara, sometimes eyeliner.) This is the whole of our medicine cabinet. It's pretty small, but holds everything we need. Everything is separated into bins for easy organization. We don't have 8 different kids of perfume or cologne or lotions and sprays and creams. Maybe I need to up my skincare game (probably) but for right now, it's working.
HAIR PRODUCTS: I have a straightener, hair dryer and hairbrush. My straightener hands on a command hook inside the cabinet door, and I'm hanging another hook for the hair dryer soon. For products, I have dry shampoo and hair spray. I might make a salt spray as well because I love the feel of beach hair. That's it. I keep a handful of headbands in a drawer under the sink (I have 5 or 6) along with my hair products and brush, and an apothecary jar of hair ties, clips and bobby pins sits on the shelf. I don't have a curling iron, because I curl my hair with my straightener. These are the kinds of things to think about. Can you do two things with one tool and get rid of the extras? How many of those headbands and things do you wear on a REGULAR basis? When's the last time you used that mousse or deep hydrating masque hiding out at the back of your cabinet? I know it depends on the person and hair type, etc., but my guess is that there's a lot you can let go of.
MEDICINE: We have a small first aid kit that stays stocked with bandaids, neosporin, all that stuff. We also have one small drawer under the sink that holds medicines, but we purged these wayyyyy down and only kept what we actually use. We use essential oils for a lot of things, so we don't really need a super stocked medicine drawer. All the baby medicine/first aid stuff is stored in a drawer in the nursery. We also have one heating pad, stored under the sink. We got rid of all the random ace bandages and ankle braces and various things leftover from high school sports injuries that we never used. On the off chance that we need one, we can always borrow one or buy one if we REALLY need it.
BATHROOM SUPPLIES: We keep toilet paper under the sink and only buy packages small enough to fit under there. I also keep 1 or 2 boxes of Kleenex at the back. I keep an apothecary jar with cotton swabs and q-tips on the shelf above the sink, and store whatever doesn't fit in the jar in a bin under the sink. We really don't buy doubles of many products because we just don't have space. For tampons and such, I take them out of their box as soon as I buy them because they take up less space that way, and store them in a drawer under the sink. I usually have enough for 3-4 months.
And that's that! Our very tiny but very functional bathroom! Some days I really, really can't wait for a much bigger bathroom with more space and storage, and then I'm like, why? This is clearly all the space to hold all the stuff we NEED. And that's the beauty of minimal living - making what you have truly work for you. And for now, this is.
Any other bathroom organization tips and tricks? I'd love to hear!