How a $20 Salad Bowl from Target Saved My Messy Living Room

published Aug 24, 2019
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Credit: Taryn Williford

The secret to keeping an uncluttered home isn’t becoming an uncluttered person. It’s giving yourself permission—and all the right solutions—to be messy in more organized ways.

This is the story of how a simple Target salad bowl saved me from myself.

Like many other millennials fraught with both big and small problems we don’t know how to solve, sometime last year I turned to skincare as a creative outlet. It starts with a single bottle—maybe a new cleanser—that makes you feel good about how you’re taking care of yourself. But then you get way too into it and, seemingly overnight, you become an armchair skincare expert who can rattle off the importance of knowing your products’ pH and guards more bottles of serum on their bathroom counter than there are days in a week.

My actual bathroom shelves. They're from Amazon.

I am not here to argue about whether or not you should be a minimalist or maximalist about your skincare. I’m just telling you: I have way too much. Which is how I found myself with a coffee table covered in random bottles of serums and facial oils.

You see, at the end of a long day, the last thing I want to do is walk upstairs to the bathroom to apply all my cleansers and creams. So I typically do my skincare while sitting on the sofa. (Usually while watching reruns of “Impractical Jokers”.) That routine, arguably having already taken over my life, had now taken over my living room.

You may think the solution is simple: Just carry your serums upstairs when you’re done, Taryn. But that betrays the resourceful laziness I was trying to employ here. The whole point is to not go upstairs.

It took me a few weeks, but I engineered the perfect answer to all my struggles: A $20 salad bowl.

You know how people have decorative bowls in their living rooms filled with, like, paper mache balls or pumpkins or crystals or whatever? Standing there in the servingware aisle at Target, I decided I would have one, too, but mine would be practical. It would be filled with my sofa skincare.

The bowl isn’t so big that it’s intrusive on my space, but it is plenty big enough to hold everything I use during various weeknights: A pack of Neutrogena makeup remover towels (the hydrating ones that smell like cucumber), a handful of Muji unbleached cotton pads, a full bottle of Son & Park Beauty Water, a 2-ounce tub of cbdMD lotion, a roller ball vial of peppermint oil blend (so great when I’m feeling stuffy), a tube of Glossier balm dotcom, another tube of Lucas’ Papaw Ointment (I like having balm options and this stuff is amazing!), a bottle of Leo Oil (also amazing, and smells like Earl Grey tea), and a Glossier zit stick for breakouts.

(By the way if you have questions about any of this, hit me up on Instagram. I love to chat about skincare and my DMs are open.)

It has a flat bottom, beveled only at the edges, so all this stuff stays upright. And… it’s just cute. Way cuter than a mess of bottles. And when they’re all contained like this, it’s easy to move my sofa skincare out of the way when we have guests.

But honestly, I don’t.

You’re allowed to live in your house—you just need to design your house for the way you live.

P.S. You can see more of my loft in our Apartment Therapy house tour, or via the many, many, many photos of it I post on Instagram.