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Tame your Toiletries

This week we’re going to have a look at toiletries.

By toiletries, I mean anything that you use to keep clean and fresh! Items like shower gel, shampoo, sanitary products, deodorant, face scrubs and lip balms, although leave make up to the side for now as we’ll tackle that next week as a separate category. Also leave hairdryers, hair spray etc to one side, but shampoo and conditioner do fall into this category.

Collect all of them into one place and sort them into categories. There are a number of different things to think about when we are doing toiletries. The first is, “Is this something that you use?”. You’d be amazed at the number of products that fill bathrooms that are simply not used. Perhaps you bought it and tried it once, then realised that you didn’t get along with it. Perhaps it was a gift and it’s not something that you would use, but you haven’t liked to get rid of it. Whatever the reason, if you don’t use something, it should not be taking up vital real estate in your house. If it is something that is open, then usually I just dispose of it, washing it out and recycling the container. I know that some people use bits and pieces to clean with instead, but that’s a decision for you to make. If it is unopened, then consider donating it to a women’s refuge or similar.

The second thing to consider is how long a product has been open. Many products have a time frame within which they should be used once opened. Often this is a safety issue, for example, sunscreen starts to degrade once it is opened and using sunscreen that has been opened too long could lead to skin damage. Sometimes bacteria can grow in opened bottles and then will be transferred to your skin when you use the product and sometimes, the product simply isn’t as effective, or smells as good if it has been opened too long. If you have several products that you use, but don’t use fast enough to get through within the use by time frame, consider buying smaller sizes in the future. Sometimes we buy larger sizes because it seems like it is better value for money, but if you are not using the entire product within the time frame, then it is a waste. I keep a Sharpie pen on my shelves so that I can label opened products with the date that they were opened so that I don’t lose track.

I will say that sometimes there are things that Spark Joy that are not used. For example, my friend bought me these lovely bath salts. Now I don’t use anything in my bath other than water as my skin is incredibly sensitive, but I just adore the packaging! It’s so pretty and it looks so lovely in my bathroom. I also love the smell of them. They sit on the side in my bathroom and every time I look at them, I can appreciate the thought that went into them (they were part of a good luck hamper) and they Spark Joy. So don’t feel that you have to discard just because. Look for the things that bring you joy daily.

I often discover lots of hotel size bottles in people’s houses when we are clearing out bathrooms. Some people like to take them away on holiday with them and others like the idea of taking them away with them, but actually never do! I have a set of refillable bottles that I use for travel and that I fill up with my favourite products to travel with.

Once you have been through your toiletries, give some thought to future use. There are some very simple swaps that you can make, such as replacing plastic toothbrushes with bamboo ones, going with products that have less packaging such as shampoo bars or, as we have recently done, changing your brand of toilet paper to a more sustainable one. There are various companies that do this now and many donate part of profit to help build toilets for those who don’t have them. These small changes won’t save the planet on their own, but it’s not about one person doing it perfectly, it’s about everyone making small changes.

When it comes to storing the toiletries that you are going to keep, Marie Kondo suggests removing them from the shower or bath each time you use them and putting them into a cupboard. Personally, for me that doesn’t work! I think it’s just who I am, but I like to have the products that I use in the shower for ease of access. However, I only keep a minimum number of products in there as I keep my beauty regime very very simple. I do, however, try to keep surfaces in the bedroom clear and any moisturisers etc tidied away in my cupboard after I have used them. It helps reduce visual clutter and keeps dusting to a minimum.


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