August 6, 2014

Travel Size

While this will never be a DIY-oriented blog, as I will realistically never have the time to devote my days to creating quaint and quirky crafts, I do enjoy a good organizational project. There is something liberating about tossing out old products and reassembling the remaining items in such a way that suggests that the owner is actually not a hoarder and/or recluse. Expired in 2009? Gone! Used to be liquid and is now solid? Gone! Bought it in college and have never used it? Gone! 

Our bathroom has long posed a challenge for me in terms of how to keep our products organized. When we moved into our house last year, we lost a ton of bathroom storage space, though installing a second bathroom cabinet helped a bit. I don't own a ton of make-up or hair products, yet somehow bottles, tubs, and jars kept accumulating. When I couldn't fit a shopping bag filled with travel-sized items under the sink cabinet, I stored it in the hubs' closet, along with a bag filled with random hair accessories, and promptly forgot about both of them for about a year.


My move to Michigan has been a source of great motivation to finally clear things out. A week or so ago, the hubs and I pulled everything out of the cabinets, gathered the now-tattered bags of make-up and first aid supplies that I had tucked away in random closets, and finally went through it all. In total, I think we threw away about 50% of the items we had been holding on to, and it was amazing to actually have clear space in the cabinets again!

One of the biggest sources of clutter, it turned out, was all of those little travel-sized toiletries that we had collected from hotels (they're free!!), received as samples, or been gifted from forgotten sources. Though we could have thrown those out, too, I decided to hold on to them because I do use them when traveling, and since the hubs and I will be flying back and forth between DC/Baltimore and Detroit for the next year, I figured we would need them in the coming months. 

I'm sure that there are fancier ways to organize items like these, but all I needed was a  couple of small plastic tubs (I got mine at the Container Store), sandwich bags, tape, and a Sharpie. I organized my little travel-sized products into categories (e.g. shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc.), made a label using tape and the Sharpie, and then put everything in the appropriate bag.

The bags fit perfectly into the plastic tubs, and I was able to snugly fit four bags into each tub. I like that I am able to easily pluck out the bag I need, and I can quickly see what the inventory is--though I doubt I will be running low on items anytime soon! I briefly entertained the idea of making several ready-to-go bags, each with a shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, face wash, etc., but I figured that since I don't always use these things at the same rate, I would end up needing a way to keep the extras organized, anyway. In the end, the current system won, and I'll replenish a nicer toiletries bag with these items as needed. 

I am not quite sure yet where I will store these in my new bathroom, but I think that the sink cabinet or a roomy shelf would be good options. There are still some remaining bathroom items that need to be organized, and I think that I will return to the Container Store to get additional tubs for things like nail polish and first aid items. Larger items like hair tools are more of a challenge for me, but I figure that organizing even just one set of items will be a big help towards avoiding the clutter from building again.

Do you have other effective ways of organizing your bathroom items? Any must-have items that help you prevent chaos? I would love to get more ideas!