Space-savvy + Low Waste Bathroom Swaps
It’s easy to be tricked into thinking that reusable goods consume more space than disposables, and thus are not small space friendly. However, I find the opposite to be true! Let’s look at some quick, affordable, and effortless bathroom swaps. If you select your eco-friendly bath items carefully, not only will they take up less storage space and fewer surfaces inches, but they’ll also look better than their single-use or plastic counterparts.
Shampoo + conditioner bars are becoming increasingly available. I found mind on Etsy, and will continue to test out various types instead of buying disposable shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles. And a simple wall-mounted, hanging or standard wooden soap dish is all one needs to accommodate these bars.
Adam and I recently made the switch to Leaf (for me) and Rockwell (for him) razors. Up front the cost is higher, but over time they save so much money and reduce a ton of unnecessary waste. (And let’s be real— they’re far prettier on the eyes than loud plastic designs.)
It takes just 1 pint of water to properly wash with a modern bidet like the TUSHY. It takes 437 billion gallons of water, 253,000 tons of bleach, and 15 million trees to make toilet paper annually. And Americans make, move and use 34 million rolls of toilet paper every day. The problem is not just the 54 million trees cut each year to keep up with demand, but also the enormous amounts of water, chemicals, and energy used in the destructive production process of toilet paper.* And a modern bidet attachment simply attaches to your toilet in minutes— no extra space required… and no need to continue stockpile toilet paper.
* Source: HelloTushy.com
Reusable ear cleaning tips are arguably more effective than Q-tips, and are easy to clean and require far less storage space.
Machine-washable cotton rounds are every bit as effective as disposables. They’re a one-time purchase that can last a lifetime. No need to store backups. 10 or so should be just fine if you do laundry at least once per week.
MAKEUP REMOVER WIPES
Similarly, machine-washable makeup remover pads are an easy alternative to disposables. If you prefer wipes or simply need a single-use alternative while on-the-go, these compostable wipes are a solid choice. (And don’t forget that coconut oil can make a great, low-waste makeup remover!)
Reusable tissues can serve as miscellaneous cloths as well. We keep small baskets of them stashed around the Cottage. No need to buy and store tissues, tissue box covers, or wipes.
To dry your towels, reusable rounds, cloth diapers, laundry, and even wraps and bags in your small space, consider the foldable Helen Milan Birch Clothes Horse. When folded up, it tucks tightly against a small stretch of wall. (And it’s so lightweight that it can also be kept on a hook if you’d prefer to keep it off the ground when stored.) Even when it is in use, the rack consumes very little space (26″ L x 19.5″ W x 33.5″ H). Or a good old fashioned clothing line made of twine and tacks can work just as well, depending on your space and needs.
Skip the plastic plug-ins and synthetic air fresheners. When used safely (and in accordance with your building’s codes, etc.), hand-poured scented candles are effective and lovey little touches for a small bathroom. When the wax is burned out, you can clean and repurpose the container for a number of uses… such as holding your reusable bath goods!
Adam just can’t quite get into using a bar of soap at our sinks (grumble), but obviously that would be the least wasteful way for us to go. Until we find a nearby refill station to which we can bike to replenish our inventory of cleaning supplies, we’ve started refilling containers here at home with liquid soaps instead of buying entirely new bottles.
Some other easy swaps include:
(Note: This post was initially published on the blog in October 2018. It was updated with additional imagery and ideas in April 2019.)