Iâ€™m going to talk about a topic that may make some of you uncomfortable. Itâ€™s a subject thatâ€™s not normally discussed in public but is a fact of life. The bathroom.
We ranch, therefore my family and I live in an old house with old updates, and is the reason why our home is paid for. Yes, Iâ€™m aware of how lucky we are.Â Our .25 version of a bathroomâ€”Â¼ the size of one average bathroom in an American homeâ€”was originally a pantry.
According to a recent study done by me, most new American homes come standard with one bathroom per family member. Prior to 1963, our homeâ€™s toilet had its own house. A bragging right that new houses canâ€™t claim.
Unlike homes with seldom used guest bathrooms, ours looks nothing like those museums. Originally, bathrooms were designed to be used, so we do.
The advantage of one tiny bathroom shared by a whole family is in the savings it provides. Itâ€™s efficient to clean and conducive to bathroom multi-tasking. The only way I can put towels away, clean the bathroomâ€™s shower doors and sink, tidy vanity drawers and under the sink area, or sweep/mop the bathroom floor is if I get out of the way and sit on the toilet seatâ€™s lid. How many modern American bathrooms have you sat in that allow people to clean in any direction from their toilet?
Miniature bathrooms fit the â€œgo greenâ€ trend. My family takes two-minute showers because someone else usually wants to shower too, and if you enjoy cleaning toilets like I do, I donâ€™t have to tell you that four toilets takes more motivation, encouragement, and effort to clean than one.
Small bathrooms donâ€™t require downsizing (ours always has been) in order to reduce clutter. Our bathroom stays tidy because itâ€™s hard to find clutter small enough to set on the 2Â½ inches of vanity counter space surrounding the sink. With minimal bathroom space, thereâ€™s no room for wet towels on the floor or extra makeup and hair products, which also saves time by not having to use it. If occupants set their stuff on the toiletâ€™s lid, our bathroom is standing room only.
Using our bathroom does require taking cautionary measures. Guests are forewarned about our bathroomâ€™s size in case they are claustrophobic. Theyâ€™re also advised to take care when moving around within our bathroom to avoid injury. Iâ€™ve hit my tailbone on the corner of the bathroom sink several times and head-on collisions with obstructive shelving or incoming people when exiting do occur.Â Occasionally, people get hung up in our bathroom because they hastily try to exit and close the bathroom door simultaneously and get wedged between the door and the bathroom sink.Â Fortunately, someoneâ€™s always been around to dislodge people whoâ€™ve gotten stuck.
Homes that have bathrooms for each family member hinder the learning opportunities gained from sharing one little bathroom. My family has learned respect, patience, and pre-planning through bathroom usage. Thereâ€™s no loitering when in the bathroom and utilizing room spray if necessary, is expectedâ€”our bathroomâ€™s not for private use only. Wait your turn if someone else gets there first, and expect morning rush hour traffic when heading to the bathroom if you donâ€™t plan in advance.
Our bathroom may not be big and fancy, but to get in at ours is a first-come, first-serve place for business that doesnâ€™t take reservations.
This column was originally published January 17-23, 2010