3 things professional organisers don't want you to throw away when decluttering a bathroom

You'll thank yourself for holding onto these later down the line

Black and white bathroom, modern basin, lattice window mirror,. black tiled splashback, black wall light, hand towel
(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

Following the chaos of the festive season and ringing in the new year, the urge to declutter and throw away items in an attempt to create a fresh, clean living space is one that's likely crossed our minds – and for many, this will start with decluttering a bathroom.

While it's tempting to feel the need to start completely anew and give your home a good old January reset, decluttering experts warn us not to be too quick to 'panic declutter' at the start of the year and to carefully consider your items before throwing them out to avoid accidentally falling victim to declutter regret.

It's easy enough to consider the many things to declutter for 2024, but what about the things you shouldn't throw away when trying to organise your bathroom and get it up to scratch for the new year?

Handbasin with white and grey marbled top, blue vanity unit, wood panelled wall and original cast iron radiator

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

What not to throw away when decluttering a bathroom

Before you go on a decluttering frenzy, make sure these items don't get pushed too early on in the process.

1. Spare towels

Considering prime hosting season has just been and gone, we can only imagine you've probably got enough towels to last you a lifetime. Especially if you went down the route of preparing 'pamper hamper' guest baskets and providing them with some of the best bath towels. But, don't get rid of those spare towels just yet.

'Unless they really are excess and never get used, you want to make sure you have enough should visitors pop in unexpectedly,' begins Siân Pelleschi, APDO president and founder of decluttering and organising service, Sorted!

Portrait of an expert
Siân Pelleschi

Siân Pelleschi is the owner of Sorted!, a Cheshire-based home and office decluttering and organising service, and the current President of APDO – the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers. With Sorted!, she aims to take away the stress and hassle that everyday life can sometimes bring, both in your home and working environment.

'High-quality towels and linens, even if infrequently used, are worth keeping. They can last for years and are indispensable when hosting guests or during household emergencies,' adds Ava Wilson, chief editor at cleaning and home organisation blog, Unclutter. Not to mention, they can serve as backups when you're washing your regular bath towels.

A basin unit in a bathroom with tiled walls, a square basin and mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alexander James)

2. Essential toiletries

Again, following from the point on hosting, you probably have a lot of unused toiletries and beauty products lying around. While it's pretty common practice to clear these out as part of our New Year's reset, if these haven't expired, it's worth holding onto them for emergencies.

Alternatively, if you're really keen on clearing out your bathroom storage littered with excess products, Siân advises giving yourself a chance (and a deadline) to use items that may have been forgotten about before letting them go.

Wood towel ladder on tiled green bathroom wall with toiletries displayed in wire storage racks

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

3. Functional small appliances

While the sentiment of 'new year, new me' looms over us heavily at the beginning of a new year, it's important to remember that you don't need to upgrade everything you have to feel refreshed.

This especially goes for some of the key electrical appliances you may reach for in your bathroom: whether it be electric shavers, toothbrushes, or scales. Or, even the likes of a heated towel rack or floor mat.

'You might feel the urge to upgrade everything you have, but consider the cost implication it may have and work out if you could either make-do or upgrade without buying new,' advises Siân.

White tiled bathroom with oval mirror and sink with dark vintage wood cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Nathalie Priem)

Tips to avoid panic decluttering

While we've only listed three key things to mull over before you get started on your big decluttering checklist, there will also likely be some additional (albeit rogue) items you may have not initially accounted for.

In that case, Simon Glanville, managing director at home storage specialist, A Place for Everything reminds us to keep these points of consideration in mind:

  • Consider the last time you've used an item before you declutter – If it's within the last year, then keep it. If it's over a year, then you probably don't need it.
  • Positive thinking saves the day – Donating your unwanted items means you're going to be helping someone else who does need the item that's cluttering up your space.

Black and white bathroom, modern basin, lattice window mirror,. black tiled splashback, black wall light, hand towel

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

The biggest thing to take from this is to allow yourself time to really give your brain time to consider if you still need the item or not.

Siân's advice to her clients is that when they come across something they had for years but have not seen for a while, to give themselves up to a couple of weeks to allow their subconscious brain to decide whether they need to keep it.

This is because often if you purge something immediately after not having seen it for a while, inevitably a situation may come up a couple of weeks when you 'could have used it'.

Therefore, she assures, 'if it's not caused too much havoc for a few years, keeping it that little bit longer (but remember to put a deadline on it) won't hurt.'

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.