THE BATHROOM DECLUTTERING CHALLENGE
Why do spas and photos of beautiful bathrooms always look and feel so serene? Why do we love scrolling through photos of these spaces? The zen-like experience comes from both cleanliness and the absolute lack of anything extraneous.
Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to create your own spa like experience. If your bathroom is starting to feel cluttered and chaotic, it’s time for a good decluttering! And who doesn’t want a more spa-like bathroom retreat to pamper yourself?
I’ve been on a Minimalist kick for a few years now and both my husband and I have found an immense joy in living with fewer things.
The bathroom cabinets and drawers tend to be crammed full of all the things we use, those we no longer use and the things we thought we'd use. The clutter somehow mysteriously creeps in and going through it all can be mentally and emotionally taxing. When my older son was little, his toy box was the same. He'd keep even toys that were broken, holding onto the fun memories he had of playing with them, sometimes years before. He would get really upset and anxious when I tried to clean it out, but at one point, it was completely full and something had to be done.
I was trying to figure out a way to give him a sense of calm and control over the situation and came up with a game. We called it the Three Pile Game. Since then, I've used this method with several friends and family members who need and really want to let go of clutter, but are so overwhelmed by Decision Paralysis that they just can't get started. And the clutter builds until they ask for help.
Even when we want to let go of things, we run into mental roadblocks. Some common ones are thoughts like:
Set Up the Game:
It's too easy. Make sure you have room for three piles of stuff. And a trash can. And a recycle bin or box. That's it!
The Piles: Keep. Let Go. Maybe.
Designate a space for each. On the bed, table or floor is just fine! Don't overthink it.
Take everything out- you can do this in stages throughout the game or all at once. But make sure you remove every single item from the shelf, cabinet or drawer it was in.
Permission - the Key to Success. Give yourself permission to keep every single item. Seriously. You already have it. You don't need to get rid of it and you aren't a bad person for keeping it. Okay, now that you have full permission to keep it all, let's begin.
The 3 Second Rule:
Pick up each item, one at a time. You have 3 seconds to decide which pile it goes in. If it's trash or recycling, put it in the bin.
The Keep Pile: This one is easy. If there's no question, you're keeping this thing, then put it in the Keep Pile and pick up another item.
The Let Go Pile: If you're totally sure right away that you don't want this thing, The Let Go Pile is the spot. This pile is where your trash and recycle bins are too. Put the thing in the pile or the right bin and move on.
The Maybe Pile: So this one is the key to eliminating the stress of decision making. If three seconds go by and you aren't sure - put it in The Maybe Pile. And move on to another thing immediately. It's imperative that you try not to think in this moment- remember, you have only three seconds!
Do this with every single item and do it as fast as possible.
As you are evaluating your items, keep these questions in mind…
DO I USE THIS?
You shouldn’t really have to think long about this. You either use it or you don’t. Take note that the question is NOT “Will I possibly use this one day?”.
IS THIS PRODUCT STILL GOOD?
Remember that almost all beauty products have expiration dates. Most products will last around 6-18 months from the date that you open them. If you notice that the texture, color, or scent is “off”, it’s probably gone bad and should be discarded
WOULD I BUY THIS TODAY?
The money is already spent. If you wouldn’t buy the item today, it’s time to let it go.
Everything is in piles, what now?
Okay, now that you're finished, immediately throw away the trash and put out the recycling. The rest of the Let Go Pile? Separate it into two boxes or bags: Give Away and Sell. *Give yourself a time limit (a week is good) - if you haven't sold or given it away by then, it goes to the thrift store or in the trash.
The Keep Pile: Put everything away where it belongs. Don't take forever to do this- you can always move it to a better place later. The goal is to put it away and now that the space is empty and you have far fewer things, putting them away will be much easier!
Dealing With the Maybe Pile: This is where I see a lot of people get hung up. Writing that sentence reminds me of how helping people let go of clutter has become something of a hobby for me. I love watching people experience the surprising joy and freedom of getting rid of useless stuff! Anyway, my advice- don't stress over The Maybe Pile.
By now, your brain is warmed up. Remember that you've given yourself permission to keep absolutely everything. There's no pressure to get rid of anything in this pile! But, I guarantee there will be at least one thing (usually several) that you now realize you don't want. Start the game again. It will go much more quickly this time. Once again, deal with the Let Go Pile, then the Keep Pile. Next, take everything left in your Maybe Pile and put it away.
Your space should now be totally clean and organized. How do you feel?
I'd really love to hear if you try this method of clearing out a space and how it works for you! Please share your experience in the comments. Questions? I love questions! I'm no expert, but I've played this game a lot and would be happy to share any insights that may be helpful.
Lots of love and wishing you all a peaceful start to this new year,