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The well-Organized Bathroom

The changing of the seasons is a great time to clean out the bathroom cupboards and medicine cabinet. Hair and skin products change with the weather as do allergy and other medicinal needs, so a rainy day is a great time to sort and organize this sometimes overlooked area.

Even if you keep the shower, sink and toilet rigorously clean, the state of your medicine cabinet and the drawers around the sink may surprise you. Even the most fastidious of us have to battle the hair and dust that collects in damp bathroom nooks and crannies. Because bathrooms are private areas, cleaning services rarely get into the drawers and cupboards. But fear not: With a little organizing beforehand, even the dreaded cupboard under the sink will be a breeze to clean.

Line the drawers and the floor of the cupboards with plastic liner cut to fit. Clear, ridged liner (available at Home Depot) is my favorite because it is so easy to pull out and wipe down. This type of liner is also a cinch to cut and the lines make it easy to get a good fit. If it gets stained or horribly sticky with cough medicine or something, it’s cheap to replace. We have come such a long way from floral sticky-back shelf liner!

The other tools that will make not only cleaning, but maintaining organization easier are white plastic drawer dividers. They are not the most sophisticated, posh items ever, but they are very inexpensive, look very clean and neat in a drawer, and protect your drawers from spills and stains. They also come in perfect sizes to organize meds and make-up — long for eye and lip pencils and brushes, very small ones for bobby pins and safety pins, and larger ones for lotions and compacts. Steve’s Hardware in St. Helena carries a good selection, as does Target in Napa.

As always, empty out a drawer at a time and sort like with like — all dental care items together, all eye health items together, all first aid together, etc. If it is still useable and has not passed its expiration date (which should be clearly marked on all medicines, sunscreens and some make-up) sort it into the white drawer dividers.

Each person in the house should have his or her own bathroom drawer or set of drawers for personal items such as toothbrush and make-up. You may want to try having each family member take responsibility for cleaning out their drawer or drawers, but in my experience the person who cares if it is clean and organized is the one who has to make it happen.

General family items can be stored together in larger drawers or cupboards. First aid items tend to be bulky, so a larger bin under the sink, preferably with a lid (and label it) is a good organizing solution. Large hair items that are shared, such as electric rollers or blow dryers also fit well under the sink, but if a blow dryer is used daily, hanging it on a hook near where it is used saves drawer space and keeps it handy.

A super-neat, organized bathroom will save you lots of time and will probably save you money too; if you already know you have three boxes of Tylenol Cold & Flu, you won’t grab another one when you feel the sniffles coming on at the supermarket. Also, how many eye shadows and eye pencils did you toss? Most of us have a few “What was I thinking?” colors in our make-up kits. If you have done your share of impulse buying in the make-up department, this is the year to get real and stick with your best look.