Monday, January 9, 2017

De-cluttering the lotion mosh pit

An odd thing happened to me a few weeks ago.  I got into a funky mood in which I wanted to clean things up, to declutter . . . but there was hardly anything to clean.  I wouldn't say my home is an example of minimalism, because we still have lots of decorations and toys and books and tools around the house, but when I looked around the living room, dining room, and kitchen, I was really happy with everything I saw.  I'd done a major reorganization of our first floor a few years ago, and apparently, it's worked well.  I guess I've been getting really good at heading towards "enough".

But I know that real clutter is like cockroaches -- it doesn't like to be out in the light of day.  The stuff that we see is the stuff we use.  Said another way, the stuff we don't need is not the stuff we keep out in plain sight; it's the stuff at the back of our cupboards.  So after wandering through the house, eyeing all my belongings and realizing that I actually liked everything I could see, I headed upstairs and decided to get rid of stuff I couldn't see.

When I got to to the bathroom closet, I hit the jackpot.  This particular bathroom has been the primary grooming spot for five different teenage girls over the past 20 years.  All of those teenage girls have now moved out of the home, but a cursory archeological dig through the closet unearthed evidence of their past presence.  I pulled out bottle after bottle of facial scrub, eye make-up remover, and other such concoctions.

lotion in bottles, and bottles in a basket
When my four daughters were here for Christmas, I encouraged them to take what they wanted now.  Most of the specialty stuff left the house with my daughters.  Yay!  By the time my offspring were gone, what remained was two baskets: one with several bottles of sun screen, and one with an assortments of lotions.

Ugh.  The tyranny of lotion bottles.  How the heck do we get so many lotion and sun screen bottles?  I mean, we do use lotion, and sunscreen too, so I understand why we have lotion and sunscreen.  But the vast number of different semi-empty bottles of the stuff was what was screaming "clutter!" at me.  The stuff inside is useful -- but who needs all the packaging that goes with the stuff inside?

Canning jars to the rescue.  Because.  Because I love canning jars, and I miss writing about them.

I emptied what was inside the four bottles of sunscreen into a single, cup-sized canning jar.  (For thick gooey versions that didn't want to flow quickly, I stuck the bottle in the microwave for about 15 seconds; that seemed to get things flowing beautifully).  Last year, K-daughter gave me a pump that goes on a canning jar, and so now I have the sunscreen all together in one easy place to get to.
Baking soda, lotion, and sun screen: my morning ablutions.

Ditto with the lotion; that goes in another canning jar (although no pump on that one).  All of these go on my dresser, which is where I actually use them.  Every morning I use lotion and baking soda as my deodorant, and then I put on my rosacea medicine and a bit of sun screen.

(Just to add: I was surprised at how little space the sunscreen took up once it was outside of the plastic containers -- those four big semi-empty bottles all condensed down into one little canning jar.  So now I'm even happier that I thought of this -- that's a huge reduction in shelf space).

So now, the next time I get into one of those gotta-clean moods, I'll have to dig even deeper.  Because my bathroom cupboards are looking pretty danged good.  Sigh


  1. oh, I love that idea! I have many partially used sunscreen bottles, and consolidating would be great. I have been working hard this winter at using up all my fancy lotions and such to work through my backlog. Our apartment is so small that it's hard to store a lot, but I still find pockets of clutter here and there.

    My weekend success was finally finishing up a scrapbook from a trip 10 (!) years ago. I save lots of little things like brochures, maps, etc to help me make interesting books. Once I got the scrapbook done, I was able to recycle a bag full of saved stuff I didn't end up using. Now on to the next project and another bag of stuff.

    1. Way to go on the scrap book! I don't like having project like that hanging over my head (my family tree stuff is weighing heavily on me right now), so i can *totally* imagine how nice it feels to have that scrapbook finished. PLUS, now you have a nice scrapbook of memories!