This $35 Target Buy Dramatically Improved My Family Bathroom

published Jan 21, 2021
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Most of the time my house is, shall we say, messier than one would strictly like. With a five-year-old and a three-year-old, c’est la vie. But up until recently there was one room that stood out as weirdly miserable: my family bathroom. This bathroom was the victim of a bad, sad patch job before we bought our home eight years ago. It has drippy plumbing (I have a spot on the living room ceiling to prove this), awkward corners, and a curious lack of storage. The tub is set into a walled area where there isn’t an edge between the bathtub and the wall — no room even to hold shampoo bottles.

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While we save our pennies for a modest remodel, I have struggled with the mess that bathing my two little mermaids makes. I felt like I was constantly scrambling for the soap, the shampoo, the towel to get water out of their eyes. Bathing two slippery little people in various states of existential angst requires not just personal composure, but a near military precision of your gear: you need your diapers, sponges, lotions near to hand like a surgeon to her tools.

I tried corralling shampoo and toys in plastic totes but my kids loved to dump them out. Toys rolled across the floor; bath paints scattered.

Then, on a whim, I made the best bathroom decision I could have made. I brought one little thing up from the kitchen: This Target cart.

I had this in the kitchen for craft supplies, but I realized it was the perfect size to snuggle against our oh-so-lacking tub. It fit perfectly in our small bathroom. I organized it with a few often-used toys on top. I put shampoo and conditioner in the middle, near to hand, and on the bottom, Pull-Ups, sponges and bath scoop.

Credit: Faith Durand

This one tiny change made such a difference. Call it the magic of organization; the “actually I don’t need to live like this” self-determination, or simply the joy of actually outwitting your children when they run for the door before their hair is washed. But this cart is (almost) as good as a remodel, and certainly a whole lot cheaper.

In My Bath Cart: A Few Favorite Bath Things

Here are a few favorites that you’ll find stashed in my bathroom cart or in the bathtub.

Skip Hop Moby Shelfie Bathtub Play Tray These brilliant bath trays are right up there with the cart for inexpensive solution to problems I wish I could remodel away. If you have a narrow bathtub lip and kids who love to pour water (lol, what kid doesn’t?!) these suction trays affix firmly, give them a flat space to play with toys, but then ensure the water tips back where it belongs.

Natural Sea Wool Sponges I got hooked on these when my kids were infants; they are so gentle! So natural! So romantic! Well, it turns out that they are also superior to washcloths in every way. They dry quickly and without mildew; their palm-filling size makes it easier to wipe a fussy kid’s face gently.

Skip Hop Moby Bath Rinser This is at the top of my “never thought I would love this seemingly unnecessary and extraneous thing so much!!!” parenthood list. I mean, a cup is fine for pouring water over my kid? Right? No. This thing is so superior; it scoops up way, way more bath water (hair wash over faster!) and has a cunning lip that makes it easy to pour water without it getting in the eyes. Just a brilliant use of $10 if you have a child under six.

Alaffia Bubble Bath – My girls have eczema-prone skin so we have to be careful about bubbles and fragrances. The Alaffia bubble baths are very gentle and we have never seen reactions. (And they make a ton of bubbles!)

Intergalactic Bath Bomb from LUSH The mama of all bath bombs, this is an extra-special treat. We split these into two to four pieces to make them last. I also appreciate that Lush never seems to make their rashy skin break out.

What Color Am I Bath Book My kids are drawn to anything that changes colors in the bath. This book is the latest find: use to teach colors and the power of transformations.

Vitamin E Oil Last year at the end of my wits about my daughter’s very dry and eczema-ridden skin, after a bad round with a prescription cream that really didn’t work, I dove into eczema Reddit forums and found this post that recommended a pure Vitamin E oil plus a high ceramicide cream. This was the magic ticket: a light rub of oil every night and my daughter’s skin cleared up so well. (We also love this Gro-To Skin Wizard Body Oil; it’s a little splurgey but smells like coconut cookies.)

Wet Brush Detangling Brushes Nothing makes brushing out tangles fun but these brushes are still the least painful option.

Heart Kids Hooded Towels These monogrammed towels are a little bit of a splurge, but have held up really beautifully in our bathroom. They’re a favorite gift to give too.