Clean Out Your Bathroom This Weekend


I’m no minimalist. You should see the first drafts I write of these things—I decorate sentences with too many adverbs and can’t stand to see a ledge in my apartment naked as the day they were painted. KonMari? Not my kind of cult. I want to drink the Kool-Aid, not throw it away because it expired in 2011! Sure, I can let go of inessentials like sticky-paged paperbacks that I’ll never read again, but you can pry my moth-eaten holey cashmere cardigan from my cold, dead hands.

Though when it comes to the sacred space of your bathroom—the shower where you have some of your best “that-could-be-a-rom-com-plot” thoughts and intensive morning meditation “did-I-just-shave-my-left-leg-twice?”—treat it with love and respect and plenty of bleach. But at least once a year you need to get more extreme than a few Lysol wipes. So this spring, spring forward into the trash basket with these five things you should really just throw away already.

Gone With The Loofah
Sniff it, I dare you. If you’ve owned that thing since the last time you called in a vote for American Idol, there’s probably some Real Monsters crawling around in their adorable microscopic way. And I highly doubt you soak that bacteria bomb in bleachy water once a week, which means you’ve got two months before it’s time to move on. And what, loofahs cost $2 now? Or try something new, like these Salux cloths Sandra swears by, or try dousing some soap into an old sock and rubbing it all over your bod.*

Sayonara Shower Curtain
Was that thing striped when you bought it? No, that’s mold and either you need to dedicate a Sunday afternoon soaking it in a bleach bath in the tub, wrap your Christmas presents in it*, or toss it and buy another for $10 on Amazon Prime. (You could also try throwing it in the washing machine but ...I don’t have one of those, sigh.)

Bye, Bye Toothbrush
Have you noticed that brushing your teeth lately has been surprisingly comforting? Like when you use a public restroom but the TP is actually Charmin? Yeah, that thing has been brushed to smithereens, and you need to replace it for your teeth’s sake. The ADA recommends a new tooth broom every three-to-four months, so basically every time you pay your quarterly student loan, ugh. Save the old one for cleaning out your humidifier, the grout in the shower, or under your toenails.*

Beat it, Old Mascara
You invested somewhere between $7 and $65 in that tube of Name That Sounds Appealing to Your Lash’s Interests and you want to make it last. You’re pretty sure it has another week in it but you’re ignoring the fact that your lashes are clumping, it’s drying out and flaking by cocktail hour, and the way you dip it three times per eye. Every time you use mascara, you’re letting oxygen into the tube and drying out that definitely-hopefully-not-tested-on-cute-bunnies liquid, and it really doesn’t last longer than two-to-three months, according to germaphobe cosmetic chemists, or six months, per Bobbi Brown. Toss, and treat yourself to a new one while racking up Sephora points.

Don’t Let The Door Hit You, Dregs Of Shampoo
I once read that the goddess Amy Sedaris sometimes holds sales in her apartment where she sells all of her half-bottles of shampoo and things like that for laundry quarters. Everyone knows that one of the greatest pleasures in life is sniffing all of the shampoos in the aisle and buying a new one, so toss them or sell them to quarter-rich friends. Just get that grimy bottle out of the shower, please. There’s usually a little icon of a jar with “12M” or “6M” on the packaging, and that’s how long they last, though I never remember when I bought them. None of my shampoos have actual expirations on them because apparently the FDA doesn’t care, unless it’s considered a drug, like some dandruff shampoos. If it’s open in your shower, you’ve got around three years before it starts to lose its juju from all of the exposure to light, humidity, and BACTERIA. If they smell off in any way, it’s expired. If there’s a funky buildup around the cap, that’s just an all-inclusive bug resort. (This also applies to lotions that aren’t pumping anymore, body washes you’re pretty sick of now, and exfoliators that gathered dust made from the skin you haven’t exfoliated in a while).

Shove It, Expired Sunscreen
I buy a new bottle of sunscreen at the start of fall, because that’s when it’s on sale and I know I’m going to need a new bottle for next summer. Depending on how it’s stored, sunscreen can last up to three years, and many have an expiration date on the package (get on the train, Coppertone!). But I’m a sun-worshiping fiend and go through a lot, so I aim for a fresh tube every year, especially because the temperature in my apartment fluctuates like crazy, messing with the stability of the ‘screen. It’s arguably the most important part of your beauty routine; it needs to WORK; and that’s a risk you shouldn’t take on that vintage 2014 Coppertone with Added Glitter for Lustrous Legs. Because year isn’t the only thing wrong with that bottle.

What else are you tossing this spring? Duplicate makeup brushes? Stained bath mats? Soap-encrusted hand soap pumps? Perfumes gone rancid? Friends who don’t have Venmo? Boyfriends who use your deodorant? Share in the comments.

*JK but you do you

—Alex Beggs

Photo via ITG.

While you're at it, better break out the Swiffer and the face scrub: it's high time for a weekend deep clean. Or eschew work entirely and treat yourself to a drugstore spa day.