How to Make Your Bathroom Less of a Mess

We both know that your bathroom is a gross, disgusting mess, because mine is too. We live in apartments which are notorious for being small, cramped, ill-lit, and ugly. What are you going to do about it? Let’s be real. You aren’t taking a trip to Home Depot to get a stone sink and a fountain shower head so that your bathroom has that beautiful spa feel. Your landlord won’t even let you put holes in the wall and you barely make enough money to order your monthly stress pizza. However, sometimes bathroom redecoration can be a necessity. This is an important read if your bathroom gives you a lot of stress on a daily basis. You can’t find anything where it’s supposed to be, you never have clean towels because you keep crumpling up your clean ones, you’re starting to think you shouldn’t just lean your tooth brush up on the bathroom counter, and when you’re taking a shower every time you turn around you drop a shampoo bottle on your foot. If any of that sounds even a little bit like you, here are five basic tips on organization, cleanliness, and aesthetic.

Before we start, go to your kitchen, grab a glass (a clean one), take it into your bathroom, and put your darn toothbrush in it. You put that thing in your mouth, come on. I don’t care if it’s plastic, I don’t care if it’s a tin can, I don’t care if it’s one of those mugs you definitely didn’t steal from meal hall. Please don’t put your toothbrush on your gross bathroom counter. People go into that bathroom and use that toilet, and then put their unwashed poop hands on that counter. That’s where your toothbrush is right now. Just…no.

Moving on, the first thing you need to know is that cleanliness is important, but messy bathrooms are hard to clean. If a room is messy, someone may confuse the term ‘clean’ with ‘organize’. To clarify, organizing is putting stuff where it belongs, making everything look neat, and removing dirty trash from the general area. Cleaning is when you get the Windex, the mop and bucket, and the all-purpose cleaner and get to work. Most of the time, this is a relatively harmless mix up. Organizing your bedroom instead of ‘cleaning’ it just leads to dusty corners and streaky windows. Your bathroom is a different story. You need to clean it. If that sounds daunting, let me break it down. Forget the floors and walls, let’s start small. Sink, Toilet, Shower; these are the biggest problem areas in a bathroom. You don’t need multiple cleaning products to tackle a bathroom, just one. I know right, what? Just one thing. Yeah, and it’s super cheap too. In fact, it’s better to just have one anyway. It can be dangerous to cross use heavy chemicals (most bathroom cleaners are). It’s called Comet bleach powder. You’ve probably seen it before, especially in your parents’ house because they’re functioning adults who know how to clean. You sprinkle it on porcelain and metal (drains, sinks, and toilets) and it gets rid of the gross grime and build up. It’s seriously the miracle cleaner. I’ve never not used it. Buy it and thank me later.

Secondly, something that is important is bathroom storage. You can buy containers at the dollar store, super cheap and super easy. If you have storage under your sink try to get two containers, one for supplies like toilet paper reserves, tampons, and band aids (stuff you don’t use every day) and one for things like razors, soaps, shampoo extras, and body wash. Something that cuts down on shower clutter (if you and your roommate can agree on it) is buying some bulk shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, and then putting it in three identical containers. This is another thing you can buy at the dollar store. I like this method for a couple of reasons. The containers can be aesthetically attractive and as much as I gripe about cost and time, there’s a part of me that genuinely likes when things look nice. All those random bottles look kind of dirty and they get in the way. The number of times I’ve knocked a shampoo bottle off one of those small ledges is so frustrating. The best thing about this though is that shampoo and body wash is one of those things that are always cheaper to do in bulk rather than a little at a time, so you end up saving money.

If you don’t have enough space to get containers this next tip is one that is both cheap and convenient. Get a large basket (that fits in the bathroom). Usually there’s space between the bathroom sink and the toilet, or near the shower. Fill it with all the shampoos, conditioners, toilet papers etc. A wicker basket with toiletries inside it looks nice, and is an easy and simple way to organize your sundries. I, however, would skip the sundries and use it for towels. Roll up your towels and put them in the basket for easy access and a nice aesthetic appeal.

Third, you should invest in a bathmat – one for by the tub, and the other for by the sink. One catches water from when you shower so that you don’t do water damage to your bathroom. Wax caulking that’s used in most porcelain bathroom fixtures gets eroded away with loose water. It ruins the type of flooring that usually gets placed in apartment bathrooms. The other makes sure you don’t get water all over the rest of the floor which a) ruins the floor and b) can be a huge hazard for other people. It’s a good investment, I can attest to this. Not only are they useful and bring the room together, the set of two can easily be found for under twenty dollars. Just make sure you throw the matts in the washer every now and then to prevent them from smelling moldy from all the water.

Finally, and most importantly, hooks! I can go on and on about hooks forever. Hooks are my favorite design tools. I’ve used stick-on-the-wall hooks since I was in residence, they hold a ton of weight. They’re great if your landlord is strict about the kinds of things you can put on the wall. Hooks are a great way to declutter the bathroom. Two on the door and two by the shower. Towel hangers, bathrobes, a hanging laundry bag for dirty clothes and towels, and a place to hang a fabric bathroom caddy.

The best thing about all of this is that you can dress it up anyway you want. Make it look good if you want, make it aesthetic if you want, but mostly they’re just simple and cheap things you can do to make a space that’s usually pretty cramped and ugly into a space that’s easy to manage, easy to clean, and just makes your life way easier. Welcome to adulthood, put your toothbrush in a glass.