Today we’re organizing guest bathrooms for Day 8 of this series on how to get an organized and clean home. If you’re just starting, check out the series overview for an introduction and links to prior days’ missions.
Every day’s mission has four parts to it:
Organize What’s Left
Clean the Space
Keep on Track
How to Organize Guest Bathrooms
What’s a “Guest Bathroom?”
Not every home has a bathroom specifically devoted to guests’ use. In homes that do have one, the guest bathroom typically consists of a toilet and sink, but no bathing facilities. In some parts of the U.S., this is called a “powder room.”
If your home doesn’t have a guest bathroom, follow today’s steps in whichever restroom your visitors typically use. By the end of the mission, it will be less cluttered and cleaner. The rest will get done on Day 13 when we ROCK the other bathrooms.
Removing clutter from a guest bathroom is more straightforward than other areas of the home. If guests don’t need it, and you’re not storing it there to make cleaning easier, then it doesn’t belong where company will see it.
The steps below assume you have a dedicated guest bathroom. If yours is shared by family as well as guests, you’ll want to pick and choose from the tips below to find a happy balance.
Start by throwing away obvious trash on the vanity and in the cabinets and drawers. Remove the following from the guest bathroom:
- Things that belong elsewhere (set these aside)*
- Medications, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and cosmetics
- Ratty linens and stained/fraying floor mats
- Décor you no longer like
- Things just gathering dust
Put things that are in good condition into a box for donation, and stash that box in the trunk of your car. Next time you’re out, drop it off at your local charity.
Organizing guest bathrooms works on the same principle that we followed when organizing the formal living room. That is, unlike more private spaces in our homes, areas which guests use should be organized primarily for their comfort and convenience.
Keep These Handy for Guests’ Convenience
In a guest bathroom, you want to make sure your company can find necessities without the embarrassment of having to ask for them. For example:
- Fresh hand towels
- Spare rolls of toilet paper
- A box of tissues
- Additional hand soap
- Air freshener (or Poo-Pourri — it works!)
- A discretely placed toilet brush
- A clean trash can
- Spare feminine hygiene products are nice to make available in a cabinet
Maximize Storage with Vertical Solutions
Guest bathrooms typically have only one vanity. These days, that’s often replaced with a pedestal sink, so maximizing vertical space essential.
- A tiered countertop organizer can hold spare towels and soaps on the vanity or even on top of the toilet tank. If horizontal space is sparse, consider floating wall shelves instead.
- A freestanding toilet paper dispenser with storage and a cell phone shelf makes storing spare rolls easy in the guest bathroom. Who doesn’t appreciate having a clean, dry spot to put their phone while they use the facilities?
- Make sure the trash is easy to find, too. If you keep the wastebasket under the sink, remember that guests will see everything else stashed there. Using covered storage baskets under the sink keeps things looking tidy.
If your family shares the bathroom with guests, consider installing a wall shelf or other open storage to hold items specifically for guests to use. I stock ours with nicer hotel toiletries for overnight house guests who forgot theirs.
Cleaning the Guest Bathroom
For a quicker yet excellent once-over, do the following:
- Dust the walls, light fixtures, exhaust fan cover, shelving, and baseboards.
- Wipe the cabinet fronts (including handles), door knobs and light switches
- Spray bowl cleaner in the toilet bowl
- Clean the vanity and sink
- Clean the toilet exterior
- Scrub the toilet bowl and flush
- Polish the mirror
- Empty, wash, and line the wastebasket
- Sweep and mop the floor
- Set out fresh towels
Keeping Things Clean
Keeping areas clutter-free and clean once we’ve ROCKed them is an essential part of every day’s mission. This step breaks the clean/clutter cycle — the one where you knock yourself out getting your home spotless only to have it turn into a mess as soon as you’re done.
By spending 10-15 minutes in total buzzing through areas we’ve already done, you’re resetting your home daily. This habit overcomes clutter-blindness — the tendency not to notice messes until they become overwhelming. Finish ROCKing your guest bathroom, then…
Don’t skip this step!
Entryway: Throw away trash. Wipe the door handles. Pick up anything that belongs elsewhere. Sweep the mat or shake it outside.
Coat closet: Everything hung up? Toss trash. Grab anything that belongs somewhere else.
Dining Room, Living Room, Family Room: Throw away trash. Pick up stuff that goes somewhere else. Wipe the tabletops.
Kitchen cupboards and counters: Make sure food containers are tightly closed. Put away things that belong in the cupboards. Wipe cupboard and drawer handles. Grab things that go elsewhere. Wipe the countertops.
The rest of the kitchen: Wipe spills on refrigerator or freezer shelves. Sweep up messes on the floor. Wipe floor spills with a damp cloth.
Enforcing the No Clutter Rule
Up to this point, I’ve been encouraging you to have children do chores that kids can do to earn back things they’ve left lying around the house.
While only you know your family, at some point, you may want to get more stern about the matter.
One way to do this is by taking a photo of each space after you’ve ROCKed or reset it. Yes, even the guest bathroom. Show your kids the picture and have them pick up and put away everything that doesn’t belong in the space.
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