Minimalism is often described as the answer to jam-packed closets, the overflowing junk drawer, or the hectic pile of boxes in the garage. But if you really want to evaluate whether or not you’re a true minimalist, head over to your bathroom.
If your heart is really in it, your bathroom will easily follow suite, as the main concepts of minimalism apply there as well. However, if you’re not fully committed, your bathroom will call you out.
The sheer volume of products that are marketed for your bathroom shelves is astounding: hair products, lotions, makeup, skincare, wall decor, etc. What makes these especially tricky is that you do actually need some products, but you don’t need them all. How do you discern between the necessary and the superfluous?
First, imagine your dream bathroom. Perhaps you’ve already got a board on Pinterest with exactly what it looks like – for me, it’s clean, crisp white, neutral tiles or wood floors, full of greenery, uncluttered, calming, uplifting.
Once you’ve got that picture in your mind, imagine brightly-colored plastic bottles, cheap makeup, and mismatched products scattered all over the countertops and in the shower. Still your dream bathroom?
This is often the disconnect. Everyone wants a picturesque minimalist bathroom, but the daily purchases of products that are allowed into the bathroom counteract that. We cannot have both at the same time. Does that mean we need to stop washing our hair or never buy makeup products again? Not at all. But it does mean that we need to be a bit more choosey about what is allowed to cross the bathroom threshold.
Here are a few tips for a minimalist bathroom:
1. Generally speaking, cheap products create visual clutter, so aim for quality over quantity. Products are usually packaged in plastic because it doesn’t cost as much as eco-friendly packaging materials, allowing the seller to reduce the overall cost of production and market the product to you at a lower price. Plastic also comes in bold colors to grab your attention and make you want to grab that item off the shelf at the supermarket. Investing in quality products (with healthy ingredients and eco friendly packaging) is far more likely to be visually appealing as well.
2. Before making any bathroom purchases, ask yourself: is it beautiful? Do I want to look at this product every day for as long as it takes to use it up? If not, keep looking. There are literally millions of products out there in the world to choose from!
3. Research, research, research! The greatest enemy of a minimalist bathroom is hurried consumerism: “I need shampoo by tomorrow morning, so I’m gonna pick up whatever catches my eye in the 2 minutes it takes me to stroll through the shampoo aisle.” Before you know it, you’ve got another product in your shower that simply doesn’t perform, is full of potential toxins, and will eventually end up in the landfill — after it sits in the back of your cabinet for months because you just don’t like it. Committing to research products on the front end prevents clutter before it ever arrives. Read about my favorite product recommendations here!
4. Refuse to start a new product until the old one is completely gone! While it can be SO tempting to try out a new shampoo that you just purchased, what inevitably happens is that the old shampoo is passed over in favor of the new favorite. The result is that you end up completely wasting the old shampoo when you finally just throw it away, OR you end up with multiple different products. Consistently doing this will result in a bathroom full of cluttered, half-used bottles that you don’t really love but feel guilty getting rid of.
5. Just because a product says you need it doesn’t mean that you actually do. This is minimalism in a nutshell – it’s just exponentially important in the bathroom, because this is where the majority of marketing targets us:
- You need this product to be thinner.
- You need this product to gain weight.
- You need this product to be prettier.
- You need this product to heal yourself.
- You need this product to fit in.
- You need this product to practice self-care.
- You need this product to be eco-friendly.
- You need this product to be zero waste.
Now, some of these goals are negative, but others are actually beneficial to our bodies (self-care, health, eco-friendly living, zero waste living). However, the problem is that our culture wants to twist even good things into materialism – the core opposite of minimalism.
So, I challenge you today to remind yourself of the truth: material things cannot make you happy. No amount of stuff can do that. Allow yourself to let go of the clutter and focus on what actually does matter in life!
For additional minimalism tips, read my other blog posts: