Purging in the Bathroom

March Madness starts today, and despite having filled out a bracket, I’m just not that interested in sitting down all day to watch basketball. Don’t get me wrong, the first round of the NCAA tournament makes for two of the most fun days of the year and I usually can’t wait, but it’s been so unseasonably warm that I would much rather be outside with the dog, pruning and planting and maybe squeezing in a quick 5-mile run. I’m not sure when being productive started to sound like more fun than drinking beer and sitting on my ass watching basketball for twelve straight hours, but sometime between last year and this year, it happened. I fear I am becoming a puritan.

Anyway, I woke up early today to hopefully squeeze in some productivity before the basketball begins and decided to purge the bathroom. The bathroom is full of crap that we don’t use, all tucked into the medicine cabinet so tightly that it is impossible to tell what is even there, let alone use it. Our house is pretty lacking in storage anyway, so I decided that all the crap must go.

I normally hate to waste anything and therefore cling to things for years, partly because I’m cheap, and partly because most things can be reused/repurposed rather than thrown away (even recycling takes energy). But I purged, and it felt great!

Things I got rid of:

  • an old hairdryer: it was so old and so inefficient that I wouldn’t give it away lest the recipient take offense.
  • mouthwash: the human body has what is called normal flora, good bacteria that live on our skin and in our orifices that keep us healthy and fight off pathogens (infectious bacteria). Why would I want to use an antiseptic mouthwash to kill my normal flora? (And don’t even get me started on the American public’s dangerous overuse of antibacterial hand soap!)
  • expired medications: We have medications that expired years ago–they need to go. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT okay to flush unused medications down the toilet. I’ll save them for the annual hazardous waste collection day here in town.
  • lotion: we had about a dozen bottles that were close to empty that for some reason we had been saving. I’ll consider them empty and be done with them!
  • Aaron’s old electric razor (with permission, of course)
  • makeup: I don’t even wear makeup most of the time, so why did I have so much of it? Most of it had been accumulating since college or maybe even high school.
  • miscellaneous other junk: hair ties that have lost their elasticity, old contact lens cases, other crap. I may have accidentally thrown out Aaron’s contact lenses in his current case–oops!–but hey, you’ve got to be ruthless when you’re overcoming pack-rat tendencies.

There are now three boxes outside the bathroom for rarely-used items. The first, at left, contains extras of all the stuff we use in the bathroom, like shampoo and toothpaste and deodorant. The second, in the middle, contains rarely used grooming tools like the hairdryer, curling iron, and various hair products. The third, at right, contains the “medicine cabinet” with first aid items and medications (I labeled the tops with the drug names and expiration dates so they would be easier to find).

Here is my makeup post-purge, down from one box stuffed with crap and two overflowing ceramic bowls to a somewhat-organized box and one neatly contained ceramic bowl. The little bowl contains mascara (which I use approximately three times per month) and some eyeshadow and lipstick which I might wear once or twice during the spring. All the dark winter colors and bright summer colors are in the box, as are the things I almost never use, like foundation and blush and all that crap. I would get rid of it entirely, but it’s nice to have on hand if I’m going somewhere where I also have to dry my hair, like a funeral. Actually, I wouldn’t wear that much makeup to a funeral… maybe a costume party?

I threw out a bunch of pretty lipglosses because, pretty as they were, they make my lips feel sticky and gross; they were no fun to wear. It also makes no sense for me to have nail polish, since I cannot go more than three hours without chipping it anyway (maybe I should invest in some garden gloves?). I also tossed approximately ten mascaras that I wasn’t wild about, plus some garish eyeshadow and some face powder. I didn’t wear any of it anyway.

Our things are now easier to find, and the things we actually use frequently are now in the bathroom while the rest are in nice little boxes right outside the door. It’s now possible to know what we have (quite a bit of lotion, for example) and what we need to replenish (aspirin and sunscreen). Yay organizing!

I suppose now I can go watch some basketball…

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