Published on October 10, 2019

what-to-throw-away-bathroom-domino (1) Pin It
Photography by Molly Winters

In our quest for the fountain of youth, the bathroom often become the most cluttered room in the house. A dozen half-empty shampoo bottles pile up in the shower, while every inch of our vanities is covered in face oils and toners. Next thing we know, we can’t find a Band-Aid or a hair tie without turning the entire room upside down. We can blame our collection of serum samples, inefficient exfoliators, and expired vitamins for that.

But what if we returned our bathroom to the sanctuary it’s really supposed to be? The first step, as Marie Kondo would say, is taking everything out and accounting for each and every item down to the last stray bobby pin. And when you do, there will be a few things you should definitely say goodbye to once and for all:

To Donate

Just because you no longer want beauty products to take over your space (and your life) doesn’t mean they need to go to waste. Charities such as Project Beauty Share collect cosmetics and personal hygiene and beauty products to distribute to women and families overcoming abuse, addiction, homelessness, and poverty. For (almost) everything else, there’s the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

  • Gently used powder eye shadows, powder blush, bronzers, highlighters, eye and lip liners you can sharpen, liquid foundations in airless pump containers, and squeeze-tube foundations.
  • Unopened skin-care and hair products in tubes or jars. Be honest: You never liked that rose-scented body cream your aunt gave you last Christmas in the first place.
  • Lightly used beauty products in pumps and bottles, like that leave-in moisturizer that made your hair look oily.
  • Storage furniture you no longer need, such as caddies and shelves. (After all, you’ll have more space now, right?)
  • Extra hotel toiletries, which, we all know, you’ll never travel with.
  • The kids’ bath toys. Sad but true: Your little ones have outgrown them.
  • Jewelry you no longer wear that’s made its way into the necklace graveyard, aka your vanity drawer.
  • Hair tools you no longer use. Repair some of that heat damage and declutter all at once.
  • Decorative accents collecting dust. Think: Less is more.
  • Clean makeup or toiletry bags. Now that you don’t have as much stuff, you won’t need them.

To Toss

As much as we’d like to give away everything we don’t use, some things are just best reserved for the trash—or blue bins. Before you throw something out, check Earth 911’s recycling search engine to find out if there’s a center in your neighborhood that will accept it. And when it comes to medications, learn how to properly discard of each type on the FDA website.

  • Expired prescriptions and over-the-counter pills. You’ll be surprised how long it’s been since you last had an ear infection.
  • Vitamins and supplements that have expired or that you didn’t react well to. Fish oil just isn’t for everyone.
  • Ratty or stained towels. When they start to feel more like an exfoliating glove, it’s time to let go.
  • Chargers for electric razors or toothbrushes you no longer own or use. (When was the last time you turned on that Clarisonic?)
  • That stack of old magazines. Let’s be honest: No one will ever read those.
  • Nail polish that’s so old it’s gone gummy—or is just crusted shut altogether.
  • Badly discolored, threadbare bath mats. Think about the foot traffic these things have seen.
  • Expired sunscreen. You doing yourself a disservice if you apply an SPF from 1998 on your next trip to the beach.
  • Perfumes that have lost their scent and now smell like nothing but alcohol.
  • Old loofahs. If they’re growing mold, you probably shouldn’t clean yourself with them.
  • The bacteria-ridden toilet brush that you don’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole. (Aim to replace yours every six months.)

If the old adage “out with the old, in with the new” is true, we sense a rewarding trip to Sephora in your future.

Browse more tips to declutter your home:
19 Things Your Kitchen Doesn’t Really Need
6 Fashion Designers Spill Their Secrets to a Clutter-Free Closet
Have 10 Minutes? Get Your Freezer as Tidy as Your Fridge

Discussion