Guide to Guest Bathrooms

November 4, 2023

Bathrooms are the double-edged sword of hosting: essential to guests, perilously easy to forget about while we’re preparing for them. And this certainly isn’t a job you want to leave to the last minute! Whether it’s a small water closet for dinner parties or a full bath for overnight visitors, bathrooms can be deceptively time-consuming to prepare. Check out our step-by-step guide to guest bathrooms below if you want a little extra help with the process. We’ve got you covered from clearing out to sprucing up!

Checklist: Decluttering

If your guest-accessible bathrooms are already minimally stocked, you can skip this step. However, if these spaces became hosts to wayward supplies and clutter during the off-season, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. We’ve got your back!

          (1) Pull everything out.

This includes items on countertops, like soap, toiletries and towels. Be sure to check drawers, behind the toilet, in the shower and under the sink. Don’t get sidetracked by any mess or grime you find as you clear items away. We’ll tackle cleaning in the next section.

          (2) Sort.

Use an open surface to spread out the stock you’ve pulled and sort like with like.

    • Toiletries, linens, paper products, cleaning products and decor are common categories.
    • This is a good opportunity to thin the herd. Toss out any expired toiletries or cleaning products and consider replacing old or stained linens.
    • Some items are more likely to get out of hand than others. Check out our article on decluttering cosmetics for some great tips on thinning out and organizing personal care products.

          (3) Re-home.

Now that you can clearly see what you have, it’s time to make decisions about what will be staying in the guest bathroom.

    • Ideally, these bathrooms will only have what your guests actually need and use. Stick to the essentials: hand soap, one set of towels, lotion, etc. Aside from toilet paper, try to limit yourself to just one “extra” per item.
    • As for all other backstock, consider moving the excess volume (and any other household supplies) to a different space. If you already have a home for certain items (ex: cleaning under the sink, utility supplies in the garage), consolidate what you found into those areas. Use your discretion, of course–don’t declutter one room just to clutter another!
    • We’ll focus more on actually stocking the bathroom in the last two sections. For now, just put aside what you’ve decided to keep.

Storage areas can be their own not-so-mini decluttering projects. If any dark corners are halting your progress, our guide on tackling out-of-control closets is a good place to look for guidance.

Checklist: Cleaning

Next to kitchens, bathrooms are the most irritating places to clean thanks to their odd corners and varied surfaces. It’s best to go in with a clear plan and tackle tasks one step at a time.

          (1) Clean any mats, rugs and linens.

Depending on the type of mat and how soiled it is, this may require a quick vacuum or a trip to the washing machine (or both). While you’re at it, chuck any linens you’ll be using in the wash as well.

          (2) Dust.

Doing this first gets rid of a lot of the gunk that would otherwise clog up your cleaning rag. Start high and work your way down (for example, from light fixtures to the baseboards) to prevent re-dirtying surfaces.

          (3) Wipe down.

For most surfaces, a multipurpose cleaner or distilled white vinegar will suffice. You may need to whip out your scrubbing powder (like baking soda) or specialty cleaners for more stubborn spots. If you are disinfecting high-touch areas or dirtier zones like the toilet, wait until after you’ve completed your wipe down.

          (4) Work one area at a time!

To keep the number and variety of tasks from distracting you, start by making a step-by-step list. Then you can focus on each step in turn without worrying that you’re missing something. In order, your checklist might look like this:

    • Ceiling fan/vent
    • Light fixtures
    • Mirrors
    • Counters
    • Sinks
    • Inside cabinets and drawers
    • Tub/shower
    • Toilet
    • Baseboards
    • Floor

For a full step-by-step guide on cleaning different bathroom areas, check out this great article.

Checklist: Stocking

Now that the dirty work is done, you can finally get to the fun part! It’s super satisfying to stock a freshly cleaned bathroom. If you’re including a lot of supplies, you might want to invest in some organizing products to keep everything tidy.

          (1) Essentials.

Any room with a toilet should include these basics.

    • Toilet paper. Keep several extra rolls tucked away within reach of the toilet.
    • Hand soap. Wipe down and refill your dispenser or wash your dish/holder and provide a fresh bar of soap.
    • Hand towel. Keep a few clean back-ups in a nearby drawer so you can change them out during larger parties, since heavy traffic can over-saturate towels quickly.
    • Lotion. In the dry winter, this is basically as essential as hand soap. Your guests will be thankful!
    • Air freshener. You’ve got a wide range to choose from, including spray-in products like Poo-pouri, candles and diffusers. If you decide to include several, make sure the scents don’t clash.
    • A clean plunger. ‘Nuff said!

          (2) Overnight guests.

It’s easy to assume that guests will bring everything they need, but we all leave something at home from time to time. Providing a stock of small toiletries and other supplies gives your guests a safety net. It’s also a great way to show loved ones that they are welcome in your home. You can keep your supplies away in drawers, cabinets and the shower, or you can stage some of them in attractive containers on the counter. Whichever you choose, place everything neatly and with purpose.

    • Shampoo/conditioner.
    • Body wash.
    • Body lotion. (Bonus for something with a pleasant scent!)
    • A loofah or washcloth.
    • A set of fresh towels.
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
    • Feminine products. (Be sure to include a variety here. Having one’s preferred product on hand is a huge comfort.)
    • Hair dryer.
    • Tissues.
    • Nail clipper and file.
    • Basic first aid kit.

          (3) Extra touches.

Most of these only apply to overnight guests, as well. If you’re shooting to give your guests an even more extravagant “spa” experience, though, they’re a lot of fun to add.

    • Bluetooth speaker.
    • Slippers and bathrobe.
    • Facemasks.
    • Shower steamers or bath bombs.

If you want to share your own checklists, find extra tips and tricks, or just see how everyone else is doing with their holiday season preparations, head on over to the Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook! We’d love to hear from you.