The bathroom is my “zone”. It’s my space to relax in at the end of the week; soaking under a mountain of bubbles next to enough candles to create a fire hazard. It’s also where I tackle my beauty regimen and like to keep all of my tweezers, combs, dyes, wipes, creams, varnishes, lotions and oils… You get the picture. My sanctuary of femininity allows me to enter like a fuzzy, half-asleep caterpillar, and emerge a plucked, preened and fabulous butterfly.
For my darling boyfriend, it’s simply a place to s**t, shower and shave.
When we moved in together, this dichotomy caused more than a little strife. While I was blind to the eleven different hair products lining the tub, I was painfully aware of the minuscule scraps of stubble on the countertop. My SO was unmoved by empty cardboard on the toilet roll holder but crippled by my ability to consistently clog the bath with my hair. After a few short weeks, the bathroom became a passive-aggressive warzone, strewn with debris of the worst kinds.
Thankfully, we negotiated a truce, and I’m pleased to say that our bathroom life is happy and hygienic once more. In a bid to help even one couple restore the peace, here is how we did it.
Battle 1: Accountability
The first step is admitting that you make a mess in the bathroom. You know how I know that you make a mess in the bathroom? Because EVERYONE makes a mess in the bathroom. It’s the reason why every single surface is wipe-clean! Accept that the person who shaves over the sink is the person leaving stubble around it, and the one with long hair is the person clogging the drain. Once you’re ready to acknowledge a portion of responsibility, you can move on.
Battle 2: Delegate Cleaning
Next, you need to tidy up your mess. In our house, we initially agreed that I would empty the plug after every hair-wash, and Dearest Boyfriend would give the counter, sink and bathroom taps a post-shave rinse. (See here for some of the most stylish and easiest bathroom taps to clean). To be frank, he was rubbish at spotting stubble between the flecks in the counter, so we renegotiated after I kept getting annoyed. We decided that I would clean the entire bathroom to my exacting standards, and he would keep the kitchen spick-and-span. Harmonious living is sometimes about being fair, not equal.
Battle 3: Shelf Space
Just like cleaning, shelf space should be divided up fairly… which doesn’t necessarily mean 50/50. Work out how much gunk you both use, and then divide up the available space proportionally. Now is time to consider whether you actually need to keep EVERYTHING in the bathroom (my hair products got relegated to the dressing table so we could have room for loo roll and toothpaste). Once you’ve allocated spaces, stick to them – I don’t care how many moisturisers you own.
Battle 4: Agree on Communal Items
Obviously, when you share a bathroom you won’t need to double up on the basics like soap, toothpaste or toilet roll – huzzah! However, make sure you’re crystal clear about any items that aren’t up for sharesies. If not, you could end up discovering that the special occasion conditioning balm which you emptied your bank account for is almost empty, “because the normal stuff ran out and it smelled nice”. I’m not one to hold a grudge, but trust me when I say: it hurts. You have been warned.
Battle 5: Synchronising Schedules
Prevent pre-coffee rage every morning, and plan a routine. Does one of you take half an hour to just stand under the shower and contemplate life? Is it possible to alternate hair-washing days? Be honest about the average length of your shower / toothbrush / hair ritual and consider the other person’s needs. Maybe that means one of you washes the night before, or has to make an effort to jump straight in the shower at the first buzz of the alarm – it’s worth it to keep the peace, trust me.
Battle 6: Maintain some space
Some couples are mortified by the thought of sharing bathroom habits, while others maintain a consistent open-door policy. Wherever you and your beau fall on that spectrum, due to the personal nature of most bathroom activities, you should factor in some privacy ground rules, even if you never need them. Establish what an open door, closed door and locked door means in terms of walking in, knocking or steering clear – and respect those boundaries.
Sharing a bathroom with someone you love can get messy, but it doesn’t have to be – I promise!
*This is a collaborative post.