Friday, March 22, 2013

Decorating and Organizing Bathroom Areas on a Budget

Dear friends,

Creating a post about bathrooms seems trivial compared to a lot of more important things I could be writing.  I have a whole list of posts I want to do!  But this morning, the bathroom. Why?  Because it's such a practical place, and finding new ways to make it work can bring more shalom and beauty to your day.  Besides, as you'll see, there is a little bit of a social justice theme in this post anyway.

I'm on a pretty tight budget, so a fancy bathroom redo is not in my near future.  But there are always little things we can do to perk it up and organize it more effectively.

Here's a little tour of my master bath area and then two pictures from our hall bath.

I use a full size garden flag for my bathroom curtain.  It lets the light through beautifully, while providing enough privacy.  It's also moisture resistant.  There are mini-blinds behind it, as well as a Renuzit air freshener bought for a dollar at Walmart.

My bathroom walls are painted peach, and I've certainly got a springtime theme going on in there.  My mother made these two small stained glass pieces, choosing the camellia and magnolia because they grow in our back yard.

I just installed this wall hook to hold my clothes while I'm the shower.   (I don't like setting them on the small sink counter or trying to hang them over the towel bar.) This hook is extra sturdy, and cost about $3 at Walmart.

The back of the sink can get really cluttered and cruddy if too much stuff is stored there.  I left out just the basics. I put a bunch of the stuff up in the medicine cabinet, like our deodorants and my husband's shaving cream can that kept leaving a rust ring on the counter anyway.   You can read about how I organize the medicine cabinets in our house here: Organizing First Aid Supplies, Medicines and Supplements.

I just gave up using a traditional toothbrush / toothpaste holder because I could never fit the folded end of the toothpaste tube in the hole they provide.  I bought this cheery flowerpot at Deals for $1.  I like the combination of colors on the three items I left out.  And I love the lever style sink handle.  I can turn the sink on with the back of my wrist if my hands have germs on them.

Under the sink, I store sanitary supplies and cleaning items in bins, along with a container of peroxide.  We keep a bucket underneath the sink pipes to catch any possible leaks.

We salvaged the cabinet above from a neighbor who was moving. I replaced the existing handles with decorative knobs from Walmart.

The metal toilet paper roll rack is another new addition. It holds four rolls, and it's easier to get to than the cabinet if you're sitting on the toilet and realize there is none left on the current roll. :-) I bought it for around $7. We buy our toilet paper in bulk at Sam's Club. Each roll is individually wrapped.  I think that is so much more sanitary!

Our house is about forty years old, and we've lived here about half that time. We finally had to replace the shower door several years ago. My smart husband decided to hang a shower curtain on the inside of the shower door to keep the water off it. It keeps it so much cleaner, and will certainly extend the life of the door. He can easily take the curtain down for cleaning, or replace it cheaply.

My husband just bought this shower rack for me.  We used to keep the shampoo bottles in a bin on the shower floor, but I prefer this!  I used a little white duct tape to keep it snugger against the wall.

We also store big bottles on the towel bar at the other end of the shower.  A narrow little basket (which rests on the bar) and a suction cup caddy hold smaller items like razors or tiny bottles that would otherwise fall down.

We had a ceramic soap dish that hung from a bracket that was bolted to the wall.  Unfortunately, it fell down and cut my ankle up.  I replaced it with this suction cup soap dish, $1 at Deals.

We have periodic plumbing problems, and the toilet has been known to overflow into the adjacent dressing area.  We had to rip the carpet out and replace the whole floor in that area with ceramic tile, which I love.  That's a good thing, since we just had another bad backup a week or so ago.  So easy to clean!

Speaking of plumbing problems, we also had a leak in our shower behind the wall a while back.  My husband had to cut the drywall in our dressing area to get to it.  That left two damaged areas of drywall.  Until recently, the top one was covered with a tapestry, and the bottom one was just there for all to see.  During my little bathroom redo, I decided to do something about it.  I moved the Success poster from over my desk. (You'll see in a minute why I needed to do that.)  Then, to cover the smaller hole, I bought a sturdy basket (wire frame reinforced) to hold my hair dryer.  I found it for $5 at Walmart.  The ceramic bells to the right were a gift from my husband when we were dating; they are from his trip to Venezuela.  You might see the edge of a set of white ceramic birds at the left.  One of my daughters bought them on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. 

Two other sets of South American bells -- these from Bolivia -- were gifts brought back from mission trips by another two daughters.  They hang from the top of the mirror.  

The rack below (also seen above) is a very recent gift from a daughter who ordered it from Ten Thousand Villages, a partner of the Mennonite Central Committee.  It was created by Cooperative le Semilla de Dios (the seed of God) in El Salvador.  The stories of these two fair trade charitable organizations are fascinating, so be sure to click those links and check out their beautiful gift items that benefit the local economies in Third World communities!  Did you notice the theme of social justice in Latin America for my dressing area?  Yeah, that just all came together nicely.  You can't read the poem on that Success poster two pictures up but the last lines are, "To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition, To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success." You can read the rest at A Desk for Mom.

Also in this dressing area, on the floor underneath the counter, are a large basket to hold clean towels and a small bucket to hold used wash cloths and hand towels before laundering.  Clean wash cloths and hand towels are stored in the drawer attached to the counter.  You can see those here: Organizing and Laundering Your Linens.

We also keep toiletries and personal care in other areas of the bedroom.  Some of mine are in this white cabinet that sits on my desk.  That's where the Success poster used to hang.  My neighbors gave this cabinet to me several weeks ago, and it's just right for making the most use of my space.  Small kindnesses like this are such a blessing.  What can you do to bless someone else?

My husband's dresser has a tray for his personal supplies and favorite medicines.

In the full bathroom down the hall, I just want to show you two things...

This shelf sits above the toilet, with the vertical pieces going down to the floor on the sides.  The kids tend to be a little sloppy with their stuff, but that's just real life.  I rarely go in their bathroom! The shower curtain is an under-the-sea theme.

And finally, a bit of humor...  I found this at Salvation Army for 79 cents, and just hung it up!  I guess charity and justice start in the home, in little ways.

Well, those are my bathrooms -- or at least the parts I'm willing to show!

I hope you've come away encouraged that you can make even "the least" parts of your home look pretty without breaking the bank.  Use what you have, buy inexpensive stuff at the dollar store or Walmart, and then you'll have more money for the important things in life -- like being kind to others around the world.

For shalom and beauty, 

Virginia Knowles

P.S. This post will be linked at several blog parties.  You can find the list of my favorites here: Link  Ups.

1 comment:

  1. This was ecute and I enjoyed my visit with you today. Thanks for sharing over at WholeHearted Home this week.


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