Happy Herbivore Blog

Minimalist Monday: Declutter Your Bathroom

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

Apologies to my guy readers in advanced for the tampon TMI. I couldn't find another way to tell the story. (We're all adults right? )

I was visiting a friend recently when I realized I needed a tampon. Normally I carry a spare in my purse but my purse wasn't with me so I opened the bathroom door slightly and called out to my friend, asking if I could have one of hers. She yelled back to help myself and that they were probably under the sink or in a nearby drawer.

I looked under the sink first. She had spare toilet papers and tissue boxes, bottles of bath products (i.e. shampoo) and cleaning products but not what I was looking for so I moved on to her drawers. Those were filled with makeup, hair dryers and curling irons, nail polish, first aid stuff (like boxes of bandaids) and other hair or personal care products.

Compared to some bathrooms I've been in, she didn't have a lot, certainly no more than most people, and to her credit she did have it fairly organized, but it was just everywhere. In the drawers I had to root around and move things just to see all what was all there.

"Did you find them yet?" she yelled through the door. "Nope. Not yet" I replied. Then my friend asked if she could come in and help me look. She started pulling all sorts of products out in a frenzy but alas, we finally found a lone tampon and then eventually, the whole box.

"I know it's a mess" she said to me, "I really don't know how I ended up with all this crap. I really need to declutter."

I told her that organization and decluttering helps, but only after you've first done a really big purge.

"I don't know -- I need a lot of this stuff" she explained. "I can't just throw out all this makeup. I use it all, not every day, but I use it. And why would I get rid of all these medicines that are perfectly good? I don't want to buy a $9 bottle of advil every time I have a headache."

I told her she could get rid of some of it, but still keep a lot of it -- and without her bathroom looking and feeling this way. She didn't have to have stuff spilling out everywhere. She could be more minimalist. But she didn't believe me.

So as soon as I got home, I took a picture of my bathroom for her. Straight from my iphone:

I have a trash can, spare shampoos for guests, dog shampoo, tampons and toilet paper under the sink.

We keep all our items we don't use everyday in a container -- this one holds all of our first aid stuff plus some spare items like an extra chapstick since I bought a pack of 3. The other one contains dog stuff (like their brush, nail clippers, toothbrush, etc).

Having all these little things in a container makes such a difference. Just a few days ago Andrea was over and needed a bandaid. I pulled out my little "first aid kit" and she commented on how much she liked that I kept all my things in two small containers.

I've talked about how clean counter tops are key to a minimalist and clean space before but that couldn't be more true in the bathroom. It really makes you feel zen.

Here's what you'll find in drawers:

My workout watch, razor, hair brush plus my everyday makeup bag and Scott's shaving bag.


My big makeup bag (all the stuff I don't use daily but have for special occasions, etc) and hairdryer.

and lastly, the other sink: nothing but baking soda for cleaning plus a humidifier and hair clippers.

Even our bathroom cabinet is pretty bare bones:

Here's how to get a minimalist bathroom:


2. Place small items into a pouch or box. Keep them contained. CONTAIN YOURSELF

3. Keep the surface clear

This Week's Q&A (Talking Cupcakes, Dairy & Getting on Track)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

You've got questions and we've got answers!

Q: I am desperate with myself. I used to be a vegetarian and now I started smoking(I can't believe this) and eating meat and all kinds of junk food. I don'`t know what got into me and what's wrong. I can't seem to go back to my good old ways. Any advice? My taste buds are changed I guess and I crave the worst stuff...

A: Try our meal plans. I find having a plan in place and meals always ready for you makes it much easier to transition and less likely to make poor choices. You will have to break your bad habits and develop newer, healthier ones. You will also have to readjust your taste buds. All this takes time, but cannot be done as long as you continue with bad habits. You just have to do it. Take it one meal at a time. Put your mind to it and do it.

Q: I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years and am reading as much as I can and learning about a plant-based diet. I have also been experimenting with vegan recipes (BTW, I have made several of your recipes and love them). Anyway, one of my biggest drawbacks from going fully plant-based is that I can not find a good low-fat sliced non-dairy cheese because one of my favorite things to make are grilled cheese sandwiches. Any recommendations?

There's a grilled cheese recipe in Everyday Happy Herbivore that's great (even kid approved!)- and there's also many cheese sauce recipes in HHC .

Q: I have a silly question - I haven't a cupcake/muffin pan! Can I make the cupcake recipes as a cake and will I need to adjust the temperature or baking time??

A: The temperature should stay the same, but bake time will be much longer for a cake than cupcakes/muffins. Check on it and make sure to use a toothpick in the center so you'll know if it has baked through.

Q: Question about non-dairy milk in cookbooks. Are you recommending unsweetened? or "regular" soy or almond milk that is sweetened? Sometimes it specifies and others not.

A: I recommend people find a brand and type they like and stick to it. We use unsweetened almond milk, sweetened fatfree soy milk, unsweetened rice milk, homemade rice milk, depends on whats on sale. I recommend any of the non-dairy milks, except for hemp and coconut, they sometimes alter the taste and chemistry.

Smoking Isn't Okay, But Junk Food Is?

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Advice

A Herbie sent this email in:

"I was at a deli picking up some lunch with my buddies. As I waited for my veggie sandwich, one of my buddies had started a conversation with another customer. I am not sure what started the conversation, but the next thing I know my buddy points to me and tells her, "He's vegan." She looks at me and asks me if this is true, and I say, "Yes."

She then goes on to talk about how she is supporting an industry by eating meat, and so on. Then she makes two statements that I found sad. She tells my buddy, "Well, maybe that's why he is thin, and I am overweight." She then goes on to say, "I'll probably be on Lipitor, but oh well."

I just politely looked at her this entire time. What saddens me is not having a complete stranger hard time me about my dietary choices, but the fact she realizes she is overweight and will need meds soon to cure something caused by her food choices."

This story reminded me of an experience I had. I was in a gas station buying magazines for my flight later that day. The man in front of me asked for pack of cigarettes. The cashier had been eating a glazed doughnut before he and I walked up, and disgruntling put it down saying to the man, "you know those [pointing to the cigarettes] are bad for you, right? smoking will give you cancer." The man didn't respond, but all I could think was, how is it socially acceptable to make that kind of statement to a stranger especially when you consider what might have happened had I said something like, "You know that doughnut could lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity and possibly, cancer." Had I said that to her, I would be considered out of line, insanely rude. That kind of statement is not socially acceptable.

When I walked outside I heard the man retelling the story to his girlfriend, who was the smoker that wanted cigarettes. The girlfriend got really agitated and told her boyfriend she was going to walk inside and give that [name calling here] a piece of her mind. Her boyfriend kept saying, "it's not worth it baby, let's just go" and the girl would respond "who is she to judge me when she's not making good choices herself!"

A few hours later I was at the airport and my terminal happened to be next to a Burger King. I watched as they had a steady stream of customers and I wondered what would have happened if BK's cashier had made a comment or provided a "warning" about the food served the way the cashier did at the gas station.

Except that wouldn't happen. Why? You might say, well, because the cashier would be fired for disparaging a product, but isn't that exactly what the cashier did at the gas station? Or maybe "well, they can't, or people wouldn't buy the burgers" but the man still bought those cigarettes.

Why do you think it's socially acceptable to make a comment regarding smoking, but not regarding food?