A bathroom remodel can be an exciting project that allows you to update and customize your space. However, it also requires some preparation and planning to make the process go smoothly. An important part of getting ready for a bathroom renovation is paring down your belongings and packing up what you’ll need access to during the remodel. Careful planning and organization will help the project stay on track.

Why Pare Down Before a Remodel?

Paring down before a remodel serves several purposes:

  • Maximizes space for contractors – Removing excess items from the bathroom clears the way for contractors to work efficiently. A cluttered space is more difficult to work in and can slow down progress.
  • Protects belongings – Packing up valuables reduces the risk of damage during demolition and construction. Tile, drywall, and other debris can easily destroy left-out items.
  • Simplifies moving back in – Having fewer items to relocate makes moving back into the finished space much easier. You don’t want to be overwhelmed trying to find new homes for everything afterward.
  • Provides a fresh start – A remodel is a great opportunity to declutter and get rid of things you no longer use. This prevents clutter from accumulating again in the new space.

How to Pare Down Effectively

Pare down bathroom contents using these tips:

Remove rarely used items

If you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it. This includes old makeup, expired medicines, extra towels, and outdated cleaning supplies. Donate or trash these items.

Store duplicate products elsewhere

Keep just 1-2 of your everyday toiletries in the bathroom during the remodel. Box up extras and place them in a closet, under a bed, or in the garage until the project is done.

Let go of broken or worn items

A bathroom upgrade is the perfect time to replace threadbare towels, corroded metal fixtures, and cracked decor items. Recycle or donate anything you don’t plan to repair.

Consolidate and contain bathroom accessories

Group all small accessories like candles, lotions, razors, and makeup into organizer boxes. This keeps like items together for easy access later.

Plan for multi-purpose furniture

Choose streamlined storage pieces, like cabinet towers or shelves that can hold folded towels and toiletries. This eliminates clutter from narrow spaces.

How to Pack Up a Bathroom for Remodeling

Carefully packing up a bathroom prepares your belongings for temporary storage during the remodel. Follow these tips when packing:

Use sturdy boxes and bins

Pack fragile items in small boxes and combine sturdy items in larger bins. Plastic totes with lids allow you to stack and slide containers around.

Wrap fragile items with padding

Use towels, clothing, or bubble wrap to pad delicate decor and dishware. Secure with tape and mark the box “Fragile” if needed.

Label all containers

Identify what’s inside each box and bin using a permanent marker. Include basics like “Medicines” or details like “Guest towels, hand towels.”

Keep necessities easily accessible

Leave one box of daily essentials like medications and makeup unpacked until the last minute. Re-pack this into travel cases to take with you if you’ll be out of the house.

Store items climate-controlled

Place containers in an air-conditioned closet or room to prevent damage from humidity, direct sunlight, or wide temperature swings.

Use waterproof storage when possible

For important papers or soft goods, choose water-resistant plastic bins or enclose in waterproof bags. This adds protection in case of water leaks.

What to Remove from the Bathroom Before Remodeling

To maximize space for your remodel, remove as many items as possible from the bathroom. Typical things to take out include:

  • All medications, first aid supplies, and toiletries
  • Makeup, hair appliances, and grooming tools
  • Towels, washcloths, bath mats and shower curtains
  • Rugs, decor, framed pictures, and wall hangings
  • Shower caddies, dispensers, hooks, and shelves
  • Hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, and charging cables
  • Scale, hamper, waste bin, and cleaning tools
  • Shampoo, soap, lotion, and cleaning products
  • Toilet paper, tissues, and paper towel rolls
  • Plungers, brushes, and other removable accessories
  • Shower heads, towel bars, and other unattached fixtures

Only leave the absolute essentials that you must use daily, like a toothbrush and soap. Check all drawers, medicine cabinets, the shower, under sinks, and closets to ensure you don’t overlook anything.

How to Create a Temporary Bathroom During Remodeling

You’ll need a functional bathroom during your remodel, even if it’s just the basics. Here are some options for temporary facilities:

Use a spare half-bathroom

If you have a powder room, set this up to use for the duration of the remodel. Add a folding privacy screen if it lacks a door.

Install a portable toilet

Hire a rental company to deliver an exterior portable toilet and hand washing station. Place near an outdoor faucet for refilling water.

Rent a toilet trailer

For larger households or long remodels, you can rent a multi-stall toilet trailer. These have flushing toilets, sinks, and sometimes showers.

Get a membership at nearby gyms

Arrange to use shower and locker room facilities at a local gym or community center during the remodel.

Schedule work around a vacation

If you’ll be traveling during part of the remodel, arrange your schedule so contractors complete demolition and dusty tasks while you’re away.

Book a hotel or rental nearby

For a large whole-home renovation, consider relocating your family to a furnished rental apartment or extended stay hotel suite for the duration.

How to Pack an Overnight Bag for Remodeling

If you need to stay outside your home during part of the remodel, pack wisely:

  • Toiletries – Pack travel-size containers of shampoo, toothpaste, and other daily use bathroom products.
  • Medications – Bring any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and first aid supplies you may need.
  • Electronics – Include phone and laptop chargers, earbuds, and any small electronics you use regularly.
  • Clothing – Bring enough outfits, underwear, and sleepwear for however long you’ll be away.
  • Footwear – Pack comfortable shoes, sandals, and slippers to wear in your temporary lodging.
  • Documents – Keep insurance information, identification, payment cards, and other important paperwork with you.
  • Entertainment – Toys, books, magazines, and tablets can keep kids occupied in a hotel.
  • Snacks – Pack some favorite non-perishable snacks and treats.
  • Pet supplies – If bringing pets, include food, medications, leashes, beds, and crates.

Protecting Appliances and Fixtures During Remodeling

Take steps to secure appliances, plumbing, and fixtures that will remain through the remodel:

Disconnect and drain appliances

Turn off and unplug any appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. Drain the water lines.

Shut off water supply lines

Locate the shutoff valves for sinks, toilets, and other fixtures and turn them off before demolition.

Remove light fixtures

Take down pendant lights, sconces, and vanity lighting so they aren’t damaged. Leave recessed cans in place.

Cover remaining fixtures

Wrap toilet bowls, bathtubs, and sinks in plastic drop cloths and secure with painter’s tape.

Cordon off with barricades

Place cardboard or plastic sheets around appliances and delicate tile to protect from debris.

Remove mirrors and shelving

Take down removable medicine cabinets, mirrors, shelves, and accessories so they don’t get broken.

Extract and store cabinet doors/drawers

Label and pack cabinet fronts to reinstall later. Remove only if necessary.

How to Move Out Efficiently for a Remodel

If you need to fully move out during the remodel, make it go smoothly:

  • Plan timing – Schedule your move-out date to start 1-2 days before demolition so things are clear for contractors.
  • Rent moving help – Hire a moving company or helpers to safely move large furniture and fragile items.
  • Pack room-by-room – Pack up one room at a time, starting farthest from the bathroom. Label boxes by room.
  • Transport valuables yourself – Use your own vehicle to move jewelry, important documents, and small valuables.
  • Clean as you go – Wipe out drawers, cabinets and appliances as you empty each area to speed cleaning later.
  • Leave contractor supplies – Provide drop cloths, a stepladder, and other requested supplies for contractors.
  • Take photos – Document the existing space thoroughly so you can replicate your layout accurately later.
  • Update address – Provide a temporary address to employers, schools, and any services that will need to contact you.
  • Arrange for maintenance – If staying in your home part-time, set up mail holds, newspaper stops, and pet care.
  • Plan the return – Schedule your move-back date for 2-3 days after the remodel finishes so paint and grout have time to fully cure.

How to Stay Organized During a Bathroom Remodel

Staying on top of all the details during a remodel takes planning and organization:

  • Create a contacts list – Compile phone numbers for all contractors, suppliers, and professionals involved in the project.
  • Set up a file box – Keep contracts, invoices, product info sheets, and swatches together for quick access.
  • Bookmark inspiration photos – Save magazine clippings, Pinterest pins, and online pics of design elements you love.
  • Maintain a decision log – Use a notebook to track all material, finish, and layout decisions as you make them.
  • Request project updates – Ask contractors to email weekly progress photos so you can monitor work remotely if needed.
  • Handle deliveries promptly – Have someone available to inspect and sign for material deliveries as soon as they arrive.
  • Book appointments ahead – Line up final walkthroughs and inspections early so they happen on preferred dates.
  • Plan the punch list – Develop a checklist of minor defects, touches, and details for contractors to finalize.

Staying on top of all the moving parts will help your project stay on schedule and within budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About Preparing for a Bathroom Remodel

How early should I start packing for a bathroom remodel?

Ideally, you should start packing 2-3 weeks before demolition day. This gives you time to pack methodically, pare down belongings, and arrange temporary living quarters if moving out.

Should I empty bathroom drawers and cabinets before remodeling?

Yes, completely empty all cabinetry so it’s easier for contractors to remove and install new units. Label contents clearly.

What’s the best way to pack a medicine cabinet?

Remove all contents and wipe down shelves. Place fragile items like bottles in a small box padded with towel and label it “Bathroom Medicines.”

Where should I store bathroom contents during a remodel?

Designate an empty closet, garage bay, basement area, or spare bedroom to neatly store all boxes and bins together while the bathroom is under construction.

What if I’m running out of time to pack before contractors arrive?

Focus on removing irreplaceable items first, like family photos and heirlooms. Double-bag toiletries and towels so they can remain in the bathroom until the last minute.

How do I safeguard my bathroom fixtures during a remodel?

Removing medicine cabinets, mirrors, and sconces eliminates the risk of damage. Cover and tape off remaining sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets securely with plastic.

What basic toiletries should I keep handy during a bathroom remodel?

Pack a small bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, body soap, shampoo, razor, and other necessities to take with you when using temporary bathroom facilities.

Where should I store cleaning supplies before a bathroom remodel?

Designate a small box of essential cleaning products like disinfectant wipes, surface spray, and toilet brush to keep in your temporary bathroom during the remodel.


Preparing well for a bathroom remodel involves carefully packing up belongings, removing items, creating temporary facilities, and staying organized. Although it takes some work, these steps help ensure your project stays on track and protects your valued possessions. Thoroughly pare down and pack up so your contractors have full access and you have the essentials on hand throughout the renovation process. With good planning, you’ll be able to enjoy the stylish results for years to come.