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Bathroom Closet Cleanout


Allison Walsh

If there’s one storage area in your home that gets neglected, it’s your closets – it’s so easy to simply shut the door and pretend the clutter isn’t there. Today we’re discussing the bathroom variety, to ensure you and your family only use safe products in the year ahead. C’mon, cleaning is cathartic – let’s turn up the safety and ditch some expired and unused stuff!

Prescribed medicines. 70% of opioid dependence, overdose and death starts with leftover drugs around the house. It may be teens visiting or even your own family. One of your first steps is to look at where you keep your medicines. Are they in more than one place? Gather them all up from your medicine cabinet, drawers in your bathroom and even your travel kits. Next, you will create a box or bag of medications to discard. Check the expiration dates and discard any medication that is over one year old, look for faded colors or loss of integrity of the capsules/pills, and discard containers with a few pills leftover or pills you know you will not take.1

Keep in mind that a medicine cabinet located in in a warm, humid bathroom may not be the best place for medicine storage. Consider securing remaining medicines in a small lockbox kept in a cool, dry place.2

Over-the-counter medicines. The dates on these products make it super simple to know which need to go. If they’re expired, ditch them. Some medications may be flushed down the toilet, but check first with your local community and the drug label to see if it is safe to do so.3

Makeup. Over time, it’s easy to amass a large collection of makeup products, yet very rare that we pull it all out and purge old or unused items. Once opened, makeup becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure your stash is in top shape by sorting through all your makeup products. Toss anything you don’t use or that’s broken, keeping in mind many cosmetic brands offer recycling programs. Here’s how to gauge the age of your glam:

  • Don’t stretch mascara too far – it can be the culprit of eye irritations and infections. If it’s older than three months, say goodbye.
  • Foundation lasts up to 12 months, but if you notice off-putting smells or texture changes before then, pitch it.
  • Powder concealer may last you two years, liquid concealer only one. Changes in color tip you off to expiration.
  • Powdered blush and face powder can last two years if you avoid cross contamination from water or oils from other products.
  • Bad news alert: eye shadows and eyeliners are healthy for about three months only. Anything older should go.
  • Change out lipstick about once a year, when it shows signs of hardening or texture change, or when you’ve been especially sick.
  • Your makeup brushes should be washed once a week minimum. They can last pretty long especially if you know how to take care of them (3-4 months).4
  • Toiletries. First question: do you still use it? If you don’t, or you won’t, it’s time to get rid of it. For those items you plan to keep, do a second scan. If you find discoloration, or a product smells differently from when it was purchased, purge those as well. We all love our bathroom and beauty products, but we only need the ones we use that remain in good shape.

Once you’ve done your bathroom closet clean out, reorganize your storage space so items are easy to spot and reach. And come back next year to do it all again!


2- Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Disposal of unused medicines: What you should know. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from

3- March 25, 2., June 17, 2., & June 11, 2. (2021, March 25). Why it's time to clean out your medicine cabinet. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from

1- Read more posts By Richard C. Senelick. (2021, April 16). When is it time to clean out your medicine cabinet?: Encompass health. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from

4- When to throw away makeup brushes. (2011, August 18). Retrieved June 18, 2021, from