Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Great Bathroom Purge

A few months ago, I was in a clutter clear out mode and stumbled upon something quite scary. For the most part, I had two bathrooms FULL of stuff! Okay, so maybe it wasn't FULL quite like someone's bathroom from the television show Hoarders. It was enough for me to dive into a mental laboratory to dissect just how this happened and what the next step was.

1. Owning Up
I got every last bottle out so I could see just how much stuff I had accumulated. Next thing you know, I had a sea of bottles that took over the counter. I had lots of shampoos, several body sprays, face masks, sunscreens, hand creams, etc.

2. Vowed to Not Buy More
After taking this kind of inventory, I had a couple of choices. First, I could pick out exactly what I knew I would use and give the rest away (merely tossing stuff into the garbage is usually a last resort for me) . Sometimes I like the immediacy of a quick purge. In this case though, I would use most of these items over time if I didn't keep buying stuff in order to try something new or because it was on sale. I told myself that I would not buy more items until I completely run out! There were a few items that I decided MUST go! One bottle of lotion smelled really good in the store yet gave me headaches when I actually wore it. Then there was the bottle of conditioner that left my hair extremely dry. Luckily the local thrift store gladly accepts this kind of stuff.

3. Creating Even More Solutions
I also tried a different approach by buying reusable bottles and sprayers from The Container Store. This may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out. I had several full-size bottles that didn't have much product left in it. I am less likely to carry a big bottle of something in my purse, gym bag or suitcase. Putting the remaining product into a smaller bottle created more portability which is something I love! Other advantages are the bottles being leakproof and clear. Working with clear bottles is a great motivator all around. If you are trying to be conscious of using smaller amounts, you can see your progress. In my case, I was able to transfer stuff into smaller bottles, recycle the big ones and utilize what I already had in a more convenient way.

The technique worked well with all the perfumes and body sprays I had. I received many of them as gifts, which is nice, but more than I can use in a reasonable amount of time! I purchased some purse-sized spray bottles and filled them up. Now I don't worry about the heaviness or danger of carrying glass bottles with me. This also saves a LOT of money of purchasing "travel-size" products and then subsequently buying replacements when the small amount inside runs out! Plus, my selection would be very limited since only certain brands make portable sized products.

4. Future Plans
I don't want to have this many products again! To me, having all those different bottles of stuff is wasteful and makes life more complicated. I have researched and found that there are several things I could buy (when the time comes, of course) that are actually multi-taskers. For instance, why buy a separate lotion and sunscreen when I can buy a lotion with a decent SPF already in it? There are obviously times when a dedicated high SPF sunscreen is essential, but for most day to day outdoor activities, the body lotion would suffice. I have also found a couple of brands that sell a 3 in 1 combo product (shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath). This will significantly cut down on personal product clutter.

I have made quite a dent so far. I usually throw a couple of bottles in the recycle bin every week. The simplification has improved my life and the awareness of how much was hiding behind doors in the cabinet has made me take ownership of the impact of my consumption. It has also made me motivated to tackle other areas such as makeup, nail and hair stuff. Look for those topics in future posts!

1 comment:

  1. You have given me a great idea. This will be my project for the weekend.