Tackling the Bathroom: A Lesson in Patience & Organization

I'm not Martha. There I said it. I aspire to be. I just don't really like to clean. And my organizing? I start things in a major way and get distracted, by kids, by a job that used to keep me on the road, by pregnancy exhaustion. When that happens I am left with piles of crap everywhere and no motivation to fix it. So when I saw the 21 Day Challenge on A Bowl Full of Lemons I thought to myself, "Hmmm, maybe if I get to put up before & after pictures I'll gain some motivation." Besides my poor husband is very patient with my "unique" methods of organization so I thought I'd reward him with a neat space since he is a bit more of a neatnik than I am. (Days 4, 13, 14, & 15)
I am ashamed to post the before pictures but here they are: (Feel free to gasp out loud- they aren't even all the way before as I had started sorting items into categories a week ago.)

With post & beam construction we end up with some weird and limited shelving.

We also lack a laundry closet, hence the stack of towels on a chair.  We also had a cabinet thing over the toilet that I was getting worried about. It seemed very "tippable".

The sink is just a huge catch all.

My husband took the 17 month old and amused her for awhile and I set to work on organizing everything.

My goal was to fit most of our items under the sink because the shelving area was open and the toddler had started to rummage through it.

Travel size items including our ready to go travel bag. 
Medicines & Thermometers 
My Stuff

My husband's stuff

My son's stuff & our dental items

Then I tackled a little obstacle. Our first aid supply was out of control. So I sorted the band aids by size. Half of them I set aside to go into our 72 hour kit which I am working on.

Sorting band-aids by size
The other half went into my handy band-aid file. I categorized them into round, tiny, small, medium, large, extra large, and latex free. I also put our alcohol wipes in there and the first aid tape and antibacterial ointment in the front. Now when I hear screams of "Mommy" from outside this summer I can just grab this and run out :).

Band-Aid File

First Aid Supplies
All the baby stuff

Ahhh- I'm in love with my label maker.
My father-in-law understands that I have a deep obsession with office supplies. Some of my gifts this Christmas included a 12 pack of Sharpies in every color of the rainbow, a container of multi-colored binder clips, and this sweet label maker which has multiple fonts, styles, and lime green tape!

Under the sink After
I can't even describe how ridiculously proud I was as I sat in front of the cabinet to take this darn picture. My husband's bin and my bin are on the top on each side since they are used the most. The others are only used occasionally. Behind the babies basket are our sunscreens which are not in use right now since it is February in Vermont!

Medicine Cabinet After
More pride- My husband and I each have a section for items we use daily and I was able to fit all our dental care items into the cabinet so that the counter is clear.

Woah- where'd all that crap go? :)

I took out the over toilet cabinet. With the slanted ceiling it had always felt a little large for the space but we had needed the storage! I replaced the towel chair with a small white bookcase that has at some point in time lived in every room in our house. I added a book holder to the side of the toilet- we received it as a gag Christmas gift but it came in handy. And the container on top of the toilet holds a backup roll of toilet paper and formula for late night bottles. I had a huge assortment of containers floating around so I actually didn't have to purchase anything for this project. I had gone through in the last week though and consolidated all of my empty containers and baskets into one corner upstairs which made life easier.

The all-important potty training throne.

My favorite part!
With all of the items now neatly stored under the sink I was able to remove the bottom shelf and create a small bathroom "busy" area for my toddler. She is getting too big to sit quietly in the seat while you shower so this is my solution. The items on the top shelf are pushed way back and up really high so she can't get to them. I laid down a yoga mat for her to sit on. This way I can occasionally hose it off to clean it. We picked a few hard plastic toys and books to store here and I'll rotate them frequently to keep her interested. When she's not in the space the laundry basket will live there and we can just pull it out when we're showering.

Laundry basket storage & my bird matching game. I'll have to touch up the walls, when I pulled the shelves out the walls were still white where they had been.

I had a bunch of these IKEA bird placemats from an earlier project. I took 2 of them and cut all the birds out of one. Then using sticky-back velcro I attached them over the matching bird on the whole placemat. 

See, I'm holding the bluebird before I put him on his twin.

The toddler is big into matching right now and has a velcro obsession so this should keep her busy.

Here she is checking out the play area before bed. 

Ok, so I feel like my Sunday had a purpose. So, so glad to get this project accomplished! My husband's reaction, "I don't care why you did this but if that lemon blog motivates you to take pictures and clean things then keep doing it."


  1. Holy Smokes! Way to go. I read the same post and seriously considered trying to get organized and then promptly forgot!

    1. Thanks! I'm happy to say it actually still somewhat resembles these images even almost a year later!