These 5 Bathroom Items Aren’t Worth Keeping, According to People Who Just Decluttered

published Feb 26, 2021
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The bathroom is often one of the smallest rooms in your home, but it’s definitely among the most vital — and you’ve likely accumulated a lot of things inside its four walls. From hair tools and serums to shower necessities and scrubs, there are a lot of ways to stock up your bathroom — not to mention the toothbrushes, toothpastes, medicine, and even cleaning supplies lodged in cabinets, drawers, and closets.

Because of the seeming necessity for so many of these products, it can be tough to whittle down what you need to get rid of as you declutter. So I turned to the real-life experts — otherwise known as people who recently decluttered their own bathrooms! — to ask what they were surprised they got rid of. Here are five categories to keep an eye out for, because while the products themselves might be useful to someone, they’re no longer serving you.

Health Products for Conditions You’ve Healed or Grown Out of

Bodies shift and change over the years, and the things you’ll need for them will naturally change, too. Your need to declutter could be due to a temporary issue — I recently tossed a compression sleeve I used to help rehab an ankle injury two years ago — or the result of a longer, more anticipated health change.

When Apartment Therapy contributor De Elizabeth recently decluttered her bathroom, she offloaded a bunch of expired or out-of-date medical products. “There were normal things like Advil and NyQuil, as well as some first aid things like Neosporin,” she said. But as a mom to a three-year-old, she also happened upon products that were even older than her daughter: “There were things I needed during pregnancy and after giving birth that I didn’t need eventually and didn’t fully use!” she said. “It felt good to get rid of it! Like a cleanse! And now I have more up-to-date things.”

Credit: Liz Calka

Duplicates of Things You Already Own (But Don’t Use Enough to Justify Having Backups at the Ready)

Just like extra spice jars you picked up because you forgot you were out, it’s easy to double up on common medications in the off-chance you might be out. When Apartment Therapy contributor Kara Nesvig moved into her current house, she and her husband discovered that they had stocked up on over-the-counter medications over the years. “We seemed to have accumulated (more than) several boxes of certain medicines — antihistamines in particular,” she said. “It’s one of those, ‘Oh, I’m at the store and it’s cold season, better have some on hand!’ things where you think you’re planning ahead, but you have a whole stockpile at home.”

This is also a great way to save a little extra money — skincare can be pricey! “Some months ago I decided I will use all the small soaps, creams etc, so I stopped buying toiletries,” one Apartment Therapy reader told our Apartment Therapist Facebook group. “I am saving money and space.”

Hair Tools That Don’t Work for Your Hair Type

Take it from a former beauty editor: Life is too short to fight with trendy hair tools that you never use, or just don’t work for you. My hair is naturally stick-straight, so when I finally tossed my flat iron, it felt liberating. Why was I dedicating storage space to something so redundant for me? Not all hair tools are created equally, and people with curly and/or natural hair will understandably have different needs than people with straight hair. If you’ve ever bought a tool that just wasn’t right for your hair and styling process, here is a sign to donate or toss it.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Old and Expired Makeup

I used to wear makeup every day, and delighted in playing with new lipsticks as often as I could. But if I’m thinking back over the past year, I can count the number of times I’ve worn a “full face” of makeup on one hand — which means that a lot of the products I used to rely on daily have likely since expired… and are probably due to be tossed.

And even if you are still wearing makeup these days, maybe your tastes have changed. One Apartment Therapy reader told our Cure Facebook group that she recently got rid of “a bunch of makeup” that no longer had a place in her arsenal. “The older I get, the less I experiment?” she mused. “I prefer to use my tried and true products.”

Credit: Emma Fiala

Storage That Is More Instagrammable Than It Is Useful

Confession: I love an acrylic storage drawer. It’s how I’ve kept my considerable makeup stash somewhat organized through many years and even more products. But most affordable setups feature teeny drawers, and they might not work for your needs.

“I fell for the Dollar Store cheap acrylic makeup holders and cheap plastic storage bins one sees touted on YouTube,” one Apartment Therapy reader told our Apartment Therapist Facebook group. “The acrylic holders are too shallow and compartments too small for most lipstick and eye shadow packaging, and the plastic totes tip over too easily. Rollers and clips scatter across the floor every time I open the cupboard.” To remedy her woes, she’s eyeing a tiered drawer system for when she finally tackles her under-sink storage.