Do you have Hotel Bathroom Syndrome at your house, too? Symptoms include: toiletries scattered across the bathroom counter all day long. Dangling, tangling cords. Glasses, lotion, and a pile of rubber bands without a home. In fact, nothing has a home, unless you count the bathroom counter. This is Hotel Bathroom Syndrome—living in your bathroom as if you weren’t staying.
If your bathroom looks like this, if it drives you crazy, if you’ve given up, there’s hope. Hotel Bathroom Syndrome can be easily remedied in a couple simple steps. I use this same process all around my home—in the kitchen, in my closet, and in my work life (which is a major work-in-progress right now).
How to Remedy Hotel Bathroom Syndrome
Step 1: Define the Problem
Our bathroom counter is always a mess. And this mess just gives us visual permission to make more messes.
Step 2: Work Backwards
I want a tidied up bathroom everyday. Is that too much to ask? (There’s my answer or solution. How am I going to reach that pre-determined solution? I’m going to work backwards to get there, noticing all the little problems, like the tangled cords, the unattended to toiletries, and the tiny piles of items, like rubber bands, bobby pins, and Kev’s product infatuation.)
Step 3: Attend to Each Problem
Every problem needs a solution. Not a quick solution, but one that will work long term, like 2 years from now.
Step 4: Give Every Item a Home
This is one of the biggest contributors to the problem. Items without a home tend to make a home on the counter or get lost in a drawer or on a shelf. If you wake up late, like me, and need to get ready fast and efficiently in the morning, then give every item a home for quick retrieval. Now let’s attend to some of the common problems.
Common Problem: Cords
In 2019, our lives still have a lot of cords. And cords love to get all cozy and tangled up, which looks messy and creates one too. As we say around here if something isn’t working well, either during Hal’s craft project or while getting frustrated over the bathroom counter, “Handle it.” You can easily handle your cords with these velcro wraps. Cords come all tidy out of the box. They can stay that way, too. Almost every cord in our house has a velcro wrap. Before storing, we quickly wrap the cord first.
Common Problem: Shelves
Shelves are wonderful for storage. But shelves without a little guidance, a little compartmentalizing, quickly turn to chaos. In the case of the bathroom, you’re often storing a lot of little items. Give them a home. We’ve done so by using little trays or shallow baskets to hold the everyday items. The basket can easily be pulled out and placed on the bathroom counter for use. And easily put away in one single motion after use. Look for something with a solid, sturdy, flat base like so or like so. If you keep cotton balls and q-tips around, store in a clear permanent container like so.
Look at that after—simple yet tidy. We also use additional baskets to store overflow items as well as items that fall into the special occasion category, i.e. items that you don’t use everyday.
Here’s the simple truth: When you can see what you own, you’re more likely to use it. You’re also able to more easily see the many things that never get used. Keep what you use, and get rid of the rest. Once you do that, try to keep the excess from ever coming in your bathroom. You’ve worked so hard to get it looking so good.
If you don’t have ample storage (I’ve lived there), use nearby storage or add storage to accommodate your needs.
Common Problem: Drawers
Like shelves, drawers often need a little help creating boundaries, too. At a glance, it’s hard to quickly find what you’re looking for in our visually chaotic drawer. And, if you go blindly digging, you may accidentally find the razor first. No thanks.
Add a couple tiny compartments to give each item a home, like these or these that come in a variety of sizes. They also stack neatly and can be used on a shelf as needed.
Common Problem: Wash Cloths
Wash cloths are a bit unsightly. Consider hanging them on the inside of a door or in a hidden but easy to access place. I use removable 3M hooks for hanging items like this. We’re also beginning to compost in our bathroom, so I’ve hung a compostable bag (for cotton balls, q-tips, and toilet paper) next to the washcloth. Out of sight but easy to get to.
Ahhh, all clean. And very easy to keep clean. Ok, maybe I’m using the wrong word here. All tidy. Cleaning? Now that’s another issue around these parts…
Do you mind telling me about that beautiful vanity? Is that something you bought?
Hi! You can find more about the bathroom design here: https://www.thefauxmartha.com/2018/01/10/minimal-masculine-master-bathroom/
I recently put an Elfa basket system on the back of my bathroom door. I can put all the creams and bottles and little stuff that clutters in the baskets and then a deeper basket near the bottom holds my hair dryer, curling iron, and 2 brushes. It gets everything off the counter and when the door is open (as it is most of the time, except when actually using the toilet), it hides everything.
So smart, easy to see, and retrieve!