Clear the Hotspots Challenge Day #4 (Bathroom)

Are you joining me for our 5-Day Hotspot Challenge this week? WELCOME to Day #4! 

Here’s everything you need to know about this challenge:

  • Each day this week, we’ll be tackling one hotspot in our home. If you want to join us, GO HERE to sign up and I’ll email you the schedule.
  • Every morning, I will send you an email (and post here on KOAB) the details of that day’s challenge area. If you want to tackle something else, feel free. But I think it’s pretty fun and motivating to be doing the same thing as more than 500 other people!
  • Every evening, I will send you a follow-up email, detailing the progress I made in my challenge area — and asking you to share your success story (or struggles – that’s okay, too!).
  • Don’t worry if you can’t start with us on on Day #1. You can just jump in whenever, and catch up the next week on the challenges you missed.

Today’s assignment is a bathroom in your home. 

Originally, I planned to call this assignment the “master bathroom challenge”. I suspect that for a lot of us, disarray in our bathrooms means we aren’t as efficient at getting ready in the morning – and perhaps even not as likely to properly take care of our skin and teeth in the evening, since finding the right supplies is so challenging in a hotspot-of-a-bathroom.

You can definitely still work on your master bathroom (that’s what I’m going to be doing). But, as we were starting this challenge, I got the below email from a participant:

I’m so excited to join this challenge. Thank you for hosting it! Since you asked what our home’s biggest hotspot is, I wanted to share ours with you.

Believe it or not, it’s my powder room.

You see, we live in a pretty small apartment, and there isn’t a lot of storage space. Over the last few months (probably longer, actually), we have started “hiding” stuff we needed to quickly clear out of the dining room in our powder room. Weird, I know. But it was the only place that had a door and was easily accessible from the main living area.

At first, we just jammed stuff under the sink, but now that cabinet is overflowing and we have Target bags filled to the brim, just sitting there on the floor next to the toilet. It’s so embarrassing! When people come over for Shabbos, I just pray that they don’t have to go to the bathroom. Ugh!

Anyway, I am looking forward to whatever you have in store for us. But I do hope I’ll get a chance to fix this massive eyesore! ~ Sheerli 

Well, I couldn’t read that and NOT expand the definition of today’s assignment to ANY bathroom in your home. Choose that one that is your home’s biggest hotspot.

Maybe none of the bathrooms is as bad as your kitchen counter or your entryway. That’s okay: Do it anyway! Trust me when I tell you that if your bathroom is a balagan, nothing is functioning the way it should be in your home!

The goal today is clear out the clutter (do you really need 7 toothbrushes in a bathroom for 2 people? #askingforafriend), organize what remains, and then put a system in place so it’s easy to maintain the new order going forward.

My bathroom is T.I.N.Y. as you can see from this picture. I’m literally standing at the entrance to the room in order to take this shot, which shows the whole, entire room.

When I’m sitting on the toilet (sorry, TMI), I can literally reach the sink to brush my teeth. I mean, maybe that’s supposed to be efficient or something, but I’d really prefer a little breathing room.

(Speaking of which, my husband and I have to take turns brushing our teeth in the morning, because we literally can not both fit in there.)

With such a small space, organizing is essential. But as you can see, we’ve failed in this department.

A big part of the problem is that I don’t have good storage / organization systems in place. Even when I tidy up (which I try to do a least once a month), it’s impossible to maintain without a way to contain the stuff.

I don’t even have a place for my Q-tips! They just kinda hang out on a shelf. See them there, next to a deodorant and cotton balls? Ridiculous!

If you’re new to the challenge, here’s a quick tutorial on my 7-step process for clearing any hotspot in your home!

#1. Set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes

Working for longer than 20-minute stretches can lead to burn out. Work as quickly as you can, but don’t worry if you can’t finish all of it (or even most of it). Success begets next success, so if you make progress in these first 20 minutes, you’ll be much more motivated to set a timer & tackle your hotspot again in the future.

#2. Define the Zone

Decide which space you are going to focus on – and stay focused only there. Once that hotspot is 100% cleared, you can always turn your attention to another area. But for now, don’t be like the mouse in the book, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie. Focus, focus, focus.

#3. Toss the garbage / recycling

The quickest win you can get is by going through your hotspot with a garbage bag in hand and throwing out all the garbage (be generous with your definition of garbage!). Then do the same with the recycling. If the situation is really bad, you may just want to toss the recycling into the garbage. Just this once!

#4. Declutter

Grab an empty laundry basket and toss into it anything that shouldn’t be in the hotspot you are clearing. Clutter includes redundant items. For example, do you really need thirty five blue pens in your office? (Or, seven toothbrushes in your bathroom)? Keep in mind that the goal of this step is to CULL the clutter; do not worry about organizing or “containerizing” it yet.

#5. Organize

After steps 1-4, you should be left with only those items that you want to stay – somehow, somewhere – in the hotspot you’re working on.  It’s finally time to organize (YAY!). Gather like items into piles, so you can see what you have. Start to think about the most efficient use of your space to store these items.

#6. Containerize

This is the most fun step! “Containerizing” means finding a place to store/keep/display all the stuff you just organized. This is the end of the process, not the beginning, for a reason: Because you can’t organize clutter. If you focus all your energy on buying cute baskets and storage units, you will still be left with mountains of garbage and clutter. Focus instead on culling what you’ve got down to what you really need (some might say what really “sparks joy” 😉 ), and THEN figure out the best way to keep it contained.

#7. Maintain

Once your hotspot looks and functions how you want it to, it’s time to maintain it. Let’s face it: If you don’t spend 3-5 minutes on daily maintenance, you will revert to clutter and chaos in a matter of weeks (or days!). That’s why I put together this handy list of daily maintenance chores (those of you already in the challenge should have yours in your inbox). Sign up for the 5-Day Challenge to get your copy of the Daily Maintenance Chores Checklist.

Are you ready to conquer your biggest hotspot bathroom? Set your timer and let’s get to work!

P.S. Don’t forget to check off your daily maintenance tasks – especially the ones related to the landing spot, kitchen, and office/desk, which you have already cleared!

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