Micro Organizing: an Effective, Mindful Way to Declutter the Bathroom

Micro organizing is a form of intensive, mindful decluttering that helps create a home for all the small, easily lost items in your space.

In the bathroom, this might include things like bobby pins, makeup and bath toys. It can also include larger, everyday items like toiletries, toilet paper and spare towels. If your family bathroom needs some tidying up, here’s how to get these items in order so you can achieve more peace and relaxation.

What is Micro Organizing?

Micro organizing is a strategic way to declutter personal items while creating an intentional space for each one. Micro organizing is designed to make life better for everyone in the home, explains professional organizer Monika Kristofferson. While it may take extra time to get everything sorted, it greatly improves a homeowner’s quality of life by reducing stress-inducing clutter and mess.

Since micro organizing is so focused on reducing clutter, it requires that homeowners learn to purge the items they no longer need. This can be especially difficult in the bathroom, where people tend to accumulate products, even when they’re no longer needed, says Vicki Norris, founder of the lifestyle company Restoring Order.

“From hair and cosmetic products that you tried and didn’t love, to the tiny travel shampoos collected from your hotel stays, to spa-type products that are collecting dust, holding on to too many products in the bathroom is an organizing nightmare,” she writes.

Items that are no longer needed should be purged so that they can find a new home. Products used once can be given to a friend, while unused products can be donated to a shelter or a Salvation Army.

Another thing to know about micro organizing is that it shouldn’t be confused with macro organizing, which is a different philosophy entirely. Macro organizing looks at the big picture rather than the nitty gritty, says blogger Kristin Morgan of The Gold Project. Macro organizing essentially get things back to the rooms and spaces they belong to. While macro organizing can be precursor to micro organizing, and the two approaches can work in harmony together, it’s important to understand the clear difference between these ideas.

How to Micro Organize

Have you ever considered the fact that we all have different organizing styles? Our personality traits influence how we use space and organize our living environments, explains Cena Block, a productivity consultant and ADHD coach for professionals. She explains the six core different types of organizers and how those types can tidy up more effectively. These include the saver organizer personality, which tends to hoard and keep things that don’t need to be kept, and the no rules organizer type, which often ends in disarray due to changing organizational systems.

Whatever type you are, there are steps you can take to get better organized. “Consistently arranging your space, working to adequately assign value to items over time, and letting go of items when they no longer serve a purpose will help you create more flow in your environment and in your life,” Block writes.

Knowing your natural tendencies for hoarding, purging, tidying and organizing can help you get started on what might feel like an insurmountable task: decluttering.

If you’re familiar with Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s philosophy, you’re no stranger to decluttering. Micro organizing is all about reducing clutter and compartmentalizing the things you need.

For example, in an excerpt from her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Kondo argues that a family’s soaps, shampoos and toiletries lining the tub get slimy and make the bathtub hard to clean. They also add visual clutter which decreases the sense of serenity one should have in the bathroom.

“It is much quicker and easier to clean the bath or shower without these items cluttering that space, and there will be less slime buildup,” she says. Instead of stacking them in tub corners and hanging baskets, Kondo recommends drying them off after use, and putting them away where they can’t be seen.

Messy bathroom drawer with hairdryer and small container boxes representing the need for micro organizing

Group Similar Items

Micro organizing is a multi-step process, but you’ve got to start somewhere. To start organizing a bathroom drawer, personal development blogger Marelisa Fabrega suggests taking everything out of the drawer and placing it in front of you.

Then, sort through the items and place related things together. You might have separate groups for cosmetics, medicines and hair products. Look at each item and decide whether to keep it or not. Once you’ve decided, similar items should be grouped together by identifiers such as color, texture and size, says Jeremie Barber, operations leader at organizing company Me In Order. Other characteristics, including who the items belong to or when they’re used, can also be used to inform where and how these items are stored.

Choose Functional Storage Containers

Now that everything’s organized, it’s time to find the proper containers to keep it all tucked away. Acquiring consistent containers in different sizes is an easy way to create a cohesive look across your organization, says Elsie Larson, cofounder of the lifestyle company, A Beautiful Mess. Larson stores her essentials in a repurposed bar cart that adds charm and functionality to the master bathroom.

If you don’t have space for a standup cart or shelf, there are many other options. Kate Oliver, cofounder and designer of The Modern Caravan, suggests acquiring small tins to store items that are easily lost. In the bathroom, these include floss, hair ties and hair clips, for instance. Using a drawer organiser, similar to a utensil bin in the kitchen, can also keep these items tidy.

“Draw dividers help to give everything a ‘home’ and make it much quicker and easier to find what you’re looking for,” agrees pediatric physiotherapist Jenn Lifford, creator of the blog Clean & Scentsible. Moreover, Lifford shows how transparent acrylic bins keep the space feeling airy. Plus, they make it easier to see everything you need without having to go digging.

Another idea is to use a spice rack for storing away items, as demonstrated by interior designer Liz Marie Galvan. Part of micro organizing is finding storage bins that suit your specific space and items. If you can’t find a bathroom storage container that meets your needs, don’t be afraid to branch out and look to the kitchen or bedroom for vessels that might work better.

micro organizing

Organize and Label Cabinet Storage

Keeping surface areas free of clutter isn’t an invitation to throw everything under the bathroom sink. Successful micro organizing is finding a home for each item. And when you do store your toiletries in the cabinet, it’s best that they have a designated spot.

“Take time to create another layer of organization via baskets, bins, buckets, and bags,” says Fan Winston, editor at The Organized Home. Concealed doesn’t mean the same thing as organized, and it’s important to differentiate between the two.

A great way to hide storage in the medicine cabinet or under the sink is to add storage to the back of the door. Magnetic-backed acrylic cubbies hold small items like nail polish and manicure tools, Lauren Smith at House Beautiful writes. She shows how neatly organized beauty items can create an aesthetically pleasing effect even when the cabinet door is open — something that wouldn’t happen if the items were simply bundled inside.

In a family home with children, it might be also good idea to label bins and baskets with people’s names or specific uses. Labels can be printed from a computer, written on a small chalkboard or created with an adhesive machine or label maker, says blogger Abby Lawson. Remember to train the kids (and yourself) to get into the habit of putting each item back in its spot after using it.

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