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I am finally getting to a little decorating in our home. Yeah, we’ve lived here for over two years… the walls are still white, the carpet I hate is still in place and the bedrooms don’t even have pictures on the walls. We’re homey like that. I decided to take it slow. I didn’t want to scare myself into never taking on another decorating project again. And the idea of half-painted walls and unfinished projects didn’t totally appeal to me either, but I’ve had a major case of craft A.D.D. recently. Anyway…
Our house has two bathrooms and three bedrooms. There’s a bathroom in the master bed and one to serve the rest of the house. Not a big deal until we have guests… because it’s also the boys’ bathroom. Ever been in a boy’s bathroom? Eesh, did you just shudder too? So, how do we make this bathroom suitable for guests as well as our boys? Well, we try really hard to train them to aim… and a few of these things too:
10 Easy Ways to Make Your Bathroom More Functional
2. A trash can that is obviously a trash can. This may sound silly, but when I was 15, we were visiting some of my mom’s family that I’d never met before. Their bathroom was nicely decorated, but nothing over the top. I had some, ahem… girly items… I needed to discard of and I honestly couldn’t tell if the trash can actually was a trash can or not. It was a nice, medium-sized wicker basket with no liner. For all I knew, it held towels or dirty laundry. How mortifying would it have been to toss my trash in there and find out it wasn’t a trash can? I opted to carry it tucked in my hand until I could find a more easily identifiable garbage receptacle. Awkward… and really gross. If you opt for a basket, at least put a grocery sack in it as a liner… not as classy, but that way you won’t end up with feminine hygiene items in your laundry. EWWW. A trash can with a lid is also another good idea to help keep the odor down.
3. Common toiletries and supplies in easy to see and use containers. Because who really wants Grandma or Uncle Billy searching their drawers and medicine cabinets for Q-tips? Q-tips, cotton balls, safety pins and band-aids are a few items to consider storing in an apothecary-style jars on counter tops or on shelves.
4. Keep the hand soap stocked. I ran out of hand soap in our main bathroom while hosting a gathering once. Someone had refilled the bottle with water, in hopes of getting a bit of soap out. Not the end of the world until my three-year-old used the restroom and used half the bottle of soap-water to wash his hands. It was so runny, he kept squirting more into his hand, but he could never get it to lather enough to his liking. It was a huge, bubbly, slimy mess for the next guest and I didn’t particularly enjoy cleaning it up either. So, now I double check the soap levels in the bathroom before we have visitors and refill the bottles.
5. Appropriately stored cleaners, medicines and any other items you wouldn’t want people to discover. Sometimes, people find themselves in a position where they feel they need to search the drawers or cupboards in your bathroom. Looking for more toilet paper or a band-aid, for instance. Kids get into everything and have no sense of privacy… and some people never grow up… Store your personal items (or cleaning supplies) where they won’t be found. If you have to store personal items in a commonly used bathroom, consider a magnetic child lock that you can remove the key from the room if you need to. Keep your skeletons – and chemical cleaners – in the closet. With the magnet locks, no one will even know you have them with the cupboard doors closed.
6. Make sure there is something for guests to dry their hands with. I once read something that said public restrooms that offer paper towels have a 34% higher rate of hand washing than restrooms with just air dryers. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s really gross if it is. But I get it. The air dryers are time consuming and don’t work well even if you do spend 3 minutes trying to use one. No one likes to walk around with wet hands and no one wants to dry their hands on their clothes… so, let’s just skip the washing altogether, right? Yeah, hang an extra towel.
7. If you have overnight guests – or kids – install a night light. LED lights are bright and use very little energy. If you run into your (for some reason…) half-dressed house guests in a dimly lit hallway at 3am, you’ll be glad that you saw just enough to avoid a full-body collision but not so much that breakfast is an incredibly awkward affair the next morning. And it’s nice when the kids scream out in the middle of the night and you jump out of bed without thinking. You’ll have just enough of your senses to not instinctively flick on the light and blind yourself… which probably would have cause you to step on that Lego house your kids left in the middle of the floor… double win. And night lights don’t have to be ugly. There’s a huge variety of designs, with a little looking, you’ll probably find something to suit your tastes.
8. Bath toy storage. My kids are still little enough for bath toys. Most of my house guests, not so much. While there are days I’d love to lounge in a warm bubble bath with some foam letters and a rubber ducky or two, that’s very rarely on my to-do list as a guest in someone else’s house. While I’d have no problems with my guests indulging in a round or two of “Rubby Ducky, you’re the one…”, they would probably rather not have toys underfoot in a wet shower. We use a mesh bag to store and dry the toys after our boys’ bath time. The bag can easily be hung over the tub faucet or removed from the shower all together when someone uses the tub for cleansing, rather than pirate adventures. Again, there are tons of options. Choose what works best for the space and use you have available.
9. A functioning door lock. I am still at the stage where I use the bathroom with an audience. Hellllloooo, Motherhood! To be completely honest, during the day when I’m home alone with the kids, I don’t usually even shut the door. I like to hear the calamity and mayhem at full volume, rather than muted through the door. Glutton for punishment I guess. However, my guests, more often than not, do shut the door. Thank goodness. This is all well and good, except my boys still struggle with the idea of privacy sometimes. “We hang out with mom in the bathroom, why not Grandma, Uncle Billy and the dinner guests too?” Our guests like that they can lock them out… (Side note: We have also had a problem with Little J interrupting Big J in the bathroom. Because one boy in the bathroom just doesn’t make enough of a mess on his own, right…? Soooo, we have a child lock on the outside of the door to keep Little J out, but the door unlocked while Big J is doing his thing. If he needs help, I can still get in.)
10. Disinfectant wipes. Because it’s first and foremost a boys bathroom, there are always puddles of something on the counter tops, the toilet, the floor and I’d bet money there are currently water splashes on the mirror. To keep from having to do a major clean every week or every few days, I keep disinfectant wipes easily accessible. I can wipe down the counter tops while I wait for Little J to figure out if he really does need to go or not. I can wipe up the toilet real quick and drop in a toilet fizzy in before bed and it helps keeps the “boy bathroom” smell down. I’ve found the best way to keep this bathroom in presentable condition is to clean a little each day and disinfectant wipes are great for quick little clean ups. It also encourages guests to clean up any messes they may make.