Photos and text by Gabrielle. Photos of me were shot by Maude Blair. This post is brought to you by IKEA.
So I’m totally into this project! I can’t wait to tell you all about it. IKEA issued the Daily Creativity Challenge: Take one area of your home, and organize it or make it more efficient, so that it frees up a few minutes of your day. Then take those minutes and use them to focus on a creative pursuit. Awesome, right?
I love this, because I’m always up for making the house run more smoothly, and because making the most of small chunks of time is something that has been on my mind. I have a lot of very different projects I want to take on this year, and I’ve been thinking about how to divide my day into small segments — each segment dedicated to a different project — in order to move them all forward. So this challenge really came at a perfect time.
I thought about this challenge for awhile, and decided that at our house, something that could really help free up some brain space, and keep our mornings running smoothly, would be to create a “bathroom pantry” for the kids. If we don’t stay on top of our supplies, it totally causes preventable stress — like having Olive realize mid-shower there’s no more conditioner, or hearing Oscar report that we’re on the last role of TP and wondering if it will last until I can get to the store that evening.
Historically, we’ve been pretty good about staying stocked up on bathroom supplies, but in this house, we don’t have much in the way of cupboard space in the kids’ bathroom, and it’s been more challenging. So I figured we could use some blank wall space to add some shelving and create a bathroom pantry.
Yes, it’s out in the open, which is tricky, because bathroom supplies aren’t necessarily handsome, but IKEA is actually perfect for that sort of challenge — they’re all about affordable storage solutions! That fantastic red shelf? It’s called VITTSJÖ and it’s $49 bucks! That green rubber laundry basket? It’s called TORKIS and it’s $4.99!
And it turns out there’s actually a big benefit to having everything out in the open: It’s much easier to stay aware of our stockpile. I’ve instructed the older kids to text me whenever they see any bathroom supply hit the 50% mark. Then I just copy the text to my ongoing grocery list and — tada! — we’re doing a much better job of staying on top of our supplies.
If you’d like to use this idea, here are the products we’ve found most helpful. The VARIERA bins. We used these for the TP, and for general supplies. I like the red and blue interiors combined with the high gloss white — such a fun way to add a color accent. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but they coordinate really well with these GESSAN boxes. Plus I really like the nesting blue PALLRA boxes. These are great for storing things like first aid items and ointments that call for more privacy.
Little silver GRUNDTAL knobs to hang the towels, green TOMAT spray bottle (only .99¢!). Everything I used was totally affordable. That’s a nice thing about refreshing a bathroom — you don’t have to spend a ton to make a big impact! Here are the before and after shots:
Much better use of space!
And now, the best part. What is the creative pursuit I’m working on for this challenge? Textile design! A few months ago I was talking with my sister Rachel when she was in town for a wedding. She’s a quilter and we discussed collaborating on some baby blankets together.
I would design the fabric, and Rachel would make the blankets. So I’m using my freed up minutes to start working on possible designs!
Okay. That’s my report. Now it’s your turn. First of all, I’d love to hear how you handle bathroom supplies. Do you stock them deep? Or prefer to keep just one bottle/tube/roll at a time? If you have a good system, please share!
Also, would you like to take the Daily Creative Challenge? Go for it! Take 20 minutes every day for a week (or a month!) doing something creative that is out of your ordinary routine. Ideally, do this in the morning or evening, so you can see how a quick creative exercise affects the start or end of your day — and if you need to, you can free up those minutes with clever IKEA products to get yourself organized. Then snap a photo of your creative pursuit and share it on Instagram using #iamcreative.
I can’t wait to see what you share! It’s always fun to see the cool things you are working on.