Tuesday, May 18, 2010

11 IHeart Answering: Bath Bewilderment

I recently received an Email from a reader, which was looking for some guidance in getting her bathroom cupboards under some organized control!

Choleia wrote:

Hi Jen,

I am a new reader to your blog and I am really enjoying it and learning a lot. After reading about your Q and A and your mom's bathroom, I decided to write you for HELP! The closet in the guest bath is a horrific mess. I have a three year old son who gets into everything and a master bath that does not have a closet, so toiletries and toilet paper are kept in here. In addition to toiletries I also use these bathroom frequently since our master bath is small. So I keep all of my hair products, tools, etc in this bathroom. I would also like to space for towels and wash clothes. I have a large vanity with 6 shallow drawers and a large area underneath but no medicine cabinet. Please help!



She was even kind enough to share some visual's for me to work from!

And here were my thoughts back to Choleia:

Here are a couple of general ideas and tricks that work great in many bathrooms, that should definitely give you a jump start on your upcoming organizing project as well!

1.  Start out by taking everything out of your cabinets and starting from a blank slate.

2.  Pair Down/Throw Out/Combine items.  Toss items that haven't been used recently {or are expired}, only keep items that you use on a daily or very frequent basis, and combine half used like items, into one container {for example, multiple used lotion bottles or shampoo bottles into one bottle vs. multiples}.

3.  Use empty box lids, trays, baskets or canvas bins to corral like items when returning them to the cabinets.  For example, you may place all of your lotions/perfumes together in one basket, and all of your overstocked supplies in another, and all of your feminine products in yet another.  Add some labels to go that extra organized mile!

Some options that I totally heart {linked above}:

4.  Snag a decorative tray to keep out on display only eye appealing items/toiletries.  And if counter-top space is limited, a floating shelf can instantly add some additional space!


5.  Roll washcloths in an easy to access basket near the sink/bath.

6.  Pick up a pretty drinking glass {one shouldn't set you back too much} to keep your toothbrushes in.

7.  Use clear containers {remove labels off of applesauce or condiment glass jars for an on the cheap solution} to display cotton balls, bath salts and cotton swabs.

8.  Bring together first aid items in a portable tote {one with a handle works great}

9.  Combine cleaning supplies/sponges/rags in a small caddy/basket under the sink for quick cleanup!  A small toilet brush is also best stored under the sink.

10.  For the floor of your closet, grab a drawer or shelf system to store towels/extra toilet paper/bathroom electronics/etc...

I am unable to see a bathroom layout or size, however, another option if you are looking for more storage in any bath, would be a five cubby vertical storage shelf, that is fairly narrow, yet offers height and loads of additional storage potential.  Here is an inspiration shot of the shelf being used in a bathroom space.  I am totally crushing on the versatility and added storage the shelf provides!!

 {Image courtesy of bhg,com}

And lining your cabinets and/or shelves with some decorative shelf liner would also add a fresh and clean feeling and look.

I would also recommend snagging a thin board cut to size and topped with some decorative paper to place in front of the back wall in your cabinet {like a faux wall in front of your real wall}, this will also clean up the appearance and disguise the wall and glue markings.  I scanned in an inspiration photo from an old Storage Magazine.

Another option would be to snag a vase or other tall and narrow container to keep by your toilet with a couple of rolls of toilet paper stacked inside {just make sure to measure the opening/width first}

 {Image courtesy of realsimple.com}

Lastly, it sounds as though you travel between bathrooms {as I do in my home from time to time as well}.  What has worked best for me is to caddy my hair heating tools and other toiletries in a canvas bag {and keeping makeup in a makeup bag}, that I can bring back and forth with ease.  It's also a quick grab for traveling.  A handled plastic basket could work well also!

Here is one made especially for moving between spaces!

And there you have it!  Some simple solutions to getting your bath in tip top organized shape!  I am a big believer that an organized space is a more enjoyable space, and I also believe that when organization meets design, then not only will the room be functional, but it will also be one that you will want to spend loads of time in!  Never under estimate the power of paint, fresh wallpaper prints and decorative storage options.  When put to work together, amazing transformations can be made!  And if on a tight budget, search for items around the homestead to use vs. buying new.  Old condiment jars, decorative boxes and baskets, a satchel from your closet or trays, plates and cups from the kitchen. 

Best wishes Choleia in your bath organizing endeavors!  And we would love to see any after pictures you would be willing to share with us!!  And for the rest of you, if you are feeling generous, send your organized bath spaces and storage solutions right over!  I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!


  1. Great ideas! Now what do you do with your coupons? Pretty please!!


  2. Hi Heather!

    I currently just use a coupon organizer, as seen in this post: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/03/hungry-for-some-meal-planning.html

    Fits in most of my purses since I tend to carry larger sized bags, which means they are always with me!


  3. Sorry I missed that. I will be checking it out!!! Thanks for the heads up.


  4. The BEST thing is to get one of those over-the-toilet shelves. They hold a lot and they only take up vertical space. If you have anything else over your toilet right now, consider replacing it with something that will provide more storage for towels or toilet paper.

    Baskets, baskets, baskets! Ones that match look the best. I got 4 square wicker ones to corral my stuff. Two are for washcloths, one is for TP, one is for hair dryer/mirror. I have lots of other baskets under my sink.

    I also make a rule about what will go on my counter. It's one small dish to corral daily-used stuff like brushes, nail clippers, toothpaste, etc. Then the soap, lotion, and deodorant because they are also daily-used items. Everything else has a place in a cabinet. It is important to assign items a spot or a basket where they belong.

    Shelf inserts are amazing, such as this one: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80136622
    They automatically give you lots more storage, like under the sink or in a cabinet/closet. You can stack them and put baskets in between them.

    Like Jen's solution - Always have the TP out in plain view so you know when you're going to run out! I don't know how that would go with a 3 year old, but hopefully keeping in a basket out of reach would work.

  5. Don't forget she doesn't need to buy the floating shelves, she can diy..anna at http://www.knockoffwood.blogspot.com did a knock off of the floating shelves that the youngsters have in their dining room. She did a post with them on knocking off thier floating shelves http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/04/build-it-with-ana-floating-shelves Another option is the flat wall book holders. Those could be made deeper, size depending on what you want to store, and then hung at levels that little ones can't get to it.

  6. Thanks for the additional suggestions. I am almost done with the bathroom I have to work on shelf paper and waiting for a shipment. I love the flat wall book holders that is a great idea! I am going to have to work on that for above the potty. I promise to post pics soon!

  7. Since u are concerned about your 3 yr.old also and mentioned u had no medicine cabinet I would consider a locking medicine box, for any prescriptions it would fit neatly in the vanity,or if u do not have haredware on the cabinets install and childproof.

  8. I just love your blog. These are some GREAT suggestions!

  9. Hurray! Thanks for posting this! I'm no inspired to tidy up my vanity this weekend. It's the perfect starter project. Yay!

  10. Aww Jen! What a sweet guy you have!! Love the color of the egg crate you chose!


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