Almost five years ago, while reorganizing my bathroom products, I discovered I’m a bathroom hoarder. I had lots of products and lots of waste, namely expired or partially used products. Some products were untouched, still packaged. Since then, I worked hard to use my bathroom items.
When the pandemic started, I made it a mission to reduce non-essential trips, and save money, by finishing every product in my bathroom before buying anything new. This included sample tubes of toothpaste and little testers of creams, tonics, toners, and other beauty products. I devoted myself to this task, routinely checking under the bathroom sink and reaching to the back of the cupboards.
Even so, when we packed up to move last December, our bathroom stuff filled three tubs! Each tub was approximately the size of two bankers’ boxes. To be fair, most of the bathroom stuff was in a single layer, but still… three tubs! I was appalled. Three tubs even after a thorough purge of all the expired, old, and grungy stuff. I filled almost two grocery bags of bathroom stuff to dispose.
Naturally, this got me thinking about why we tend to accumulate so much stuff in the bathroom. One challenge for me is when I need to buy something specific for a one-time, or infrequent, use. This includes things like first-aid supplies, cough syrup for the cough I had three years ago, allergy medication for when I visit someone with cats (definitely not needed during the pandemic), supplies for failed beauty routines, gifts, etc.
Another challenge is overbuying when one of my favorite products is on sale. It’s hard to resist the temptation to buy an extra bottle or two. This is the case even when I don’t need to buy the product. The allure of a sale is strong.
Lastly, some of the build up is situational. I hardly used any sunscreen last year. With things closed last summer, combined with dangerous heat and polluted air warnings, there wasn’t a lot of incentive to be outside.
I have a new awareness of my bathroom hoarding tendencies. I’m more mindful about what I buy and when. With the exception of heavy-duty, industrial grade hand cream, a necessary accompaniment to frequent hand washings and using hand sanitizers, I haven’t bought much in the last year. Maybe there’s hope after all.