Does the idea of opening your bathroom cupboards and drawers make you cringe? It doesn’t have to. For Part 3 of our Organize Your Life Series, we’re bringing order to the bathroom. Organize these 5 main areas to tame the clutter monster.

1. Counter space
The more you have on your counter, the messier and dirtier it’s going to be, so be ruthless about what belongs there. If you really use cotton swabs and cotton balls every day, make them part of the décor with a pretty canister.

And since some beauty items come dressed to impress in gorgeous containers, you might consider giving them the real estate they deserve by displaying them on a nice tray.

2. Grooming items
The best way to store hair care accessories like dryers, curling wands, brushes, clips, and gel is in one basket that you stow under the sink (or even leave out if it’s decorative). Having things all in one place prevents the mad search for the hair tie or decorative bobby pin and makes cleanup a snap.

3. Makeup
Now’s the time to do a thorough purge of your makeup, so judge items on 2 criteria:

  • Is it suitable? Did your BFF talk you into that glitter eyeliner on a whim? Did you ever really feel good about that tan bronzer? Just because you bought something doesn’t mean you have to keep it. If you won’t or, let’s face it, shouldn’t wear it, out it goes.
  • Is it sanitary? Most makeup items have a surprisingly limited shelf life, so having 3 tubes of mascara around is just asking for an eye infection. Be ruthless about tossing items past their prime. When in doubt, throw it out, and if you need to, consider getting in the habit of marking items with the date you opened them so you never have to wonder.
Check out:  Organize Your Life (Part 2): Taming the Linen Closet

4. Minis
Is your vanity a hodgepodge of mini hotel shampoos and cosmetic samples or “gifts with purchase?” They seem to multiply and get messier by the day, so create a plan for them. Either (gasp!) use them or purge them. Set aside 1 or 2 travel-sized shampoos for actual traveling (although chances are good your destination will have more for your use). Then use the rest (your can stick them in your gym bag or guest bathroom) or set them aside to donate to a women’s shelter or food bank.

Same for the cosmetic samples. Maybe that coral lipstick will open up a whole new world for you … or, on second thought, probably not. But your teen might love experimenting with it. (Hey, maybe you’ll even save them from their own unfortunate purchase!)

5. That which does not belong in the bathroom
Our bathrooms tend to become a place for storing items that don’t really belong there and that can make them tough to organize. The first thing to start with is medication. Even though there is such a thing as the “medicine cabinet,” that’s actually an outdated name because medicine doesn’t belong in the bathroom. The humidity and heat can affect the ingredients, so relocate your medication to the kitchen since much of it needs to be taken with meals anyway.

You can also remove any duplicate first-aid items, along with extra toothpaste and toilet paper. Keep one of each in the bathroom and then store the surplus items in a special basket in the hall closet.

Got the spring cleaning bug? Check out the rest of our Organize Your Life Series to get your pantrylinen closet — and even your car! — tidy in no time.

DIY hacks | Home and garden

about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.