Wednesday, October 20, 2010

11 You Asked: Quest for an Organized Bath

I had received a letter from Jaime looking for a little help with her bathroom...

Jaime wrote:

First, I want to thank you so much for your blog!  I just found it this morning, when I went searching for a way to store our dvds.  I was so excited, I went on and on about your website to my husband.  I absolutely love organization; I go crazy whenever I find a cute bin or organizational tool.  Unfortunately, I'm not so good at coming up with ideas on my own {and I absolutely hate shopping}.  I have 2 boys, ages 4 and 18 months, and I work 3 12-hour shifts/week.  Right now our entire house is in desperate need of organization, but I feel like I have no time to think up ideas.  I think I would be able to follow through with ideas - but I can't come up with any!  I'm hoping that I'll be able to look back at all your amazing ideas and hopefully be able to apply them to my home.  I wanted to send you some pictures of my downstairs bathroom.  It makes my stomach hurt just to think of what it looks like.

We really need a shelving unit, but there is no room, with the radiator and toilet in the way.



Above the toilet, we have these 2 random small shelves.  The only time I put anything on them is to decorate at Christmas time.


We have a large counter top area, but I have no idea how to use that space to our advantage.  It tends to just get cluttered with used facecloths and towels from the boys, since they can't reach the towel bar.


Here's the bathtub with all of the tub toys.  I bought a little tub rack from onestepahead, but we have too many toys to fit in it!


And this is our horrible closet.  There is a chimney running through the center of it, so it's very difficult to store things in it.  I tried to put medications and first aid supplies in bins, but because of the odd shape of the closet, they don't fit well.




Under the counter is just crammed with lots of random items.


Anyway, thank you for looking.  I'm hoping that by sending this email it will give me the impetus to start moving.  I just feel so overwhelmed!  So much to do, so little time.  Maybe some day I'll be able to send you updated pictures of the bathroom, clutter free and organized.  

I can't wait to look more through your blog.  And by the way, your boys are adorable. 

~Jaime


I couldn't wait to get back to Jaime with some ideas.  Often times, it takes a fresh eye to look at a space to come up with something fresh.  And even buy analyzing your own spaces by taking pictures and typing up your problem areas, may spark some solutions right as you go?!

Here is what I had come up with for Jaime and her clan:

"Hi Jaime!

Thanks so very much for your email! 

I can totally understand feeling overwhelmed with organizing, especially when you are working with little ones, and I absolutely agree that shopping with kiddos isn't always easy.  Just take your time and focus on one space or zone at a time when you have time.  Schedule it in here and there and do it in small spurts rather than trying to tackle it all at once.  It takes time to get organized, but hopefully once you are done, you will have a smooth working system that maintains itself for the long term!

I have taken a peek at your pics and through together a couple of ideas for you.

"We really need a shelving unit, but there is no room, with the radiator and toilet in the way"

What types of items are you wanting to store on the shelving unit?  They do have wall mounted options that could float on the wall above the radiator or toilet, depending on how much you are looking to store, like this one from Walmart which is super adorable and has both open and closed storage! 



"Above the toilet, we have these 2 random small shelves.  The only time I put anything on them is to decorate at Christmas time"

Those shelves could become functional in the space.  Take a second to peek around the bathroom to see if there are display items that are out that you might want up and out of reach from your little ones.  If not, you could always use those shelves to put a small basket of extra rolled up washcloth's, some bar soap or an extra roll of toilet paper.

"We have a large counter top area, but I have no idea how to use that space to our advantage.  It tends to just get cluttered with used facecloths and towels from the boys, since they can't reach the towel bar"


I would take advantage of that counter top space by snagging some cute/decorative cups for the kiddos to use when brushing their teeth, that can be left out with their toothbrush and toothpaste in the cup when they are not in use.  One for each kiddo.  As far as the facecloths and towels, I would recommend an over the cabinet towel bar at their level, and possible a step stool for them to use when washing/brushing.


"Here's the bathtub with all of the tub toys.  I bought a little tub rack from onestepahead, but we have too many toys to fit in it!"

I can see that you have an abundance of bath toys.  A couple options might be to either pair down and only keep favorites, or add secondary storage in the form of wall toy storage.  There are many options that are fairly inexpensive, so going with two/three of them to hold everything might help?

Here are a couple that I found:

Bath Toy Bin
 and:

Safety 1st Bath Toy Bag

"And this is our horrible closet.  There is a chimney running through the center of it, so it's very difficult to store things in it.  I tried to put medications and first aid supplies in bins, but because of the odd shape of the closet, they don't fit well"
Wowzers, there isn't a lot of space in that cabinet with that chimney there.  I would have to say using bins like these would probably be the best option for getting any kind of good storage in there.  They are tall and come in a couple of different sizes but would be great for all those meds and first aid supplies if placed up high out of little one's reach.

Towels could either be rolled and then stacked or folded into thirds then in half and stacked.  I really like to use trays to define areas as well when baskets are too large to fit into a specific area.

I hope that helps some!  Best wishes with your bathroom organization project!  Thanks again so very much for taking a moment to send pictures and a note!  I will be rooting you on from here, I know you can do it!!"




What do you all think?  What else has been working magically for you, to keep your bathroom's organized?  Anyone have any other ideas for Jaime and her bathroom dilemma? 





11 comments:

  1. I agree with all of your suggestions! I also want to point out to Jaime not to be afraid of taking that tall towel bar down off the wall, and also removing the floating shelves if they aren't functional (a quick spackle and touch up paint of holes left behind would take just minutes). For under the counter, I would go ahead and get a bunch of labeled coordinating jars and baskets, and just sit down and organize the items. Throwing away stuff that hasn't been used in say 3 months. And also, she could definitely utilize the radiator space! Just copy and paste this super long link or google radiator covers: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.fearonsfinewoodworking.com/images/product/radiator/radiator10.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.fearonsfinewoodworking.com/products.htm&usg=__AHzyy0wko6eD9GJmTGA7004JBiM=&h=574&w=600&sz=251&hl=en&start=47&sig2=i_4Tll2lOYcdsTotlFsc3g&zoom=1&tbnid=Zy8iu_Bb8PhENM:&tbnh=148&tbnw=139&ei=1Qq_TJTdN8aqlAfQv9TUDQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dradiator%2Bcover%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1T4TSHB_enUS317US317%26biw%3D1259%26bih%3D576%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=570&oei=xgq_TP6zNoLGlQeszIXmBw&esq=3&page=3&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:47&tx=73&ty=67

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  2. Jen you are the organizing QUEEN love your ideas! Jaime DON'T GET OVERWHELMED. Like Jen said, take it day by day and don't feel rushed to get everything done.
    I would make a list of everything you need organized for example, medicine, toys, towels, toothbrushes, toiletpaper, etc.
    Then, when you are out at walmart or target just look for cute baskets, bags, shelves, cabinets,buckets, etc, anything to store your list of stuff in and buy it then.
    You don't have to take a special trip out if you don't like to shop. Just fit it into your schedule.
    Good Luck, can't wait to see it once it's finished!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this post and how sweet are you for helping this overworked mother out! :) I just had 1 question. You said, "I really like to use trays to define areas as well when baskets are too large to fit into a specific area"... I'm confused by what you mean when you said "tray". Could you explain further?

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  4. Hi Tami!

    I really love to use small trays {like this one: http://tinyurl.com/2a33em3} for defining product zones. They are great for keeping all perfumes or beauty supplies together, or even on display when cabinet space is limited. And they can be used all over the house for similar reasons!

    Hope that helps!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  5. My first thought was "etagere." That's one of those shelf things that fits over the toilet, and could be an alternative to a wall-hung unit. They have some that are just shelves, and some that have doors, or a combo. That would be a great place for some of the closet items like meds and bandaids - easy to get to and often used. You could still put the floating shelves to one side of the mirror, and I like the idea of utilizing them for tp or perfume or something.

    I think the comment to pare down and throw away is necessary. I cleaned out my bath closet recently and you WOULD NOT BELIEVE how many bottles of sample shampoos and lotions I had. A large basketful (which I stored up out of the way on the top shelf since I'd like them for travel or if we accidentally run out, and some were samples from the doc for my dd's eczema).

    Also, for towels and things, the rolling option can be fun. Rolled up and in a basket, or even a bin and then stuck under the sink where everyone can reach, washclothes on the counter, even. You could just move the cleaners and such to the closet where they would all fit easier.

    Oh, and thanks, Jen, for the tip on the bath toy bin. I'm gonna get one asap!!!

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  6. YAY! Love the radiator cover and etagere ideas, I totally agree!!

    And everyone else, thank you for reminding me to not forget some of the basics of organizing, which I covered here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/09/you-asked-where-do-i-begin.html

    And for bath specific ideas, here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/05/iheart-answering-bath-bewilderment.html

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  7. First I must say I looooooooooooove this blog. It has inspired me to organize my house a bit though living out of the USA for now really limits what I have access to... Anyhow for over the toilet I would think since the shelves are not being used and they are very pretty-take them dwn and move them somewhere else, and put up something like this:
    http://www.target.com/Fieldcrest-Etagere-Espresso/dp/B001CCZNI4/ref=br_1_7?ie=UTF8&id=Fieldcrest%20Etagere%20Espresso&node=277216011&searchSize=30&searchView=list&searchPage=1&sr=1-7&qid=1287647483&rh=&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=salesrank&frombrowse=1

    I love that it lets you use space that would otherwise go to waste!

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  8. Wow! What an inspiration! Both of the bathrooms in our house need a MAJOR overhaul. I have a lot of wasted space and things thrown down everywhere. I like the idea of the over the cabinet towel bar since my 9yo can't reach the one hung over the back of the bathroom door. They (2 kids) usually hang their towels on the bathroom bar and the face towels on the back, since she can't reach it, it sends up everywhere.

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  9. If those little shelves above the toilet are to stay there, you could always get some cute storage baskets/bins that fit, and put your toiletries in there! One for medicine, one for bandaids & ointments, one for washcloths, etc. If they're cute, you'll like how they look up there; if they're useful, they'll clear out some of the stuff in your "awful" closet. By the way, that's really awful! I feel your pain trying to get anything to fit in there...

    Good luck! :)

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  10. I'd second/third/fourth removing those shelves from above the toilet and installing a larger cabinet or etagere. And if you do a radiator cover, think about just storing the towels on top of that. I'd guess with such a busy family that they wouldn't be there long enough to get dusty, and just think - pre-warmed towels in the winter.

    As for the closet, I'd use the deep spots for things like towels (rolled up), toilet paper, paper towels, etc. Consider removing some of the shelves in those areas so more can be stacked up. Then add more shallow shelves, as it looks like you have a lot of small items. I notice a lot of candles, is there another place they could go?

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  11. I've been clicking my way through lots of your posts - I have to say I am in LOVE with your blog, and looking at your amazing, inspirational posts is the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for inspiring a "Eureka!" moment. I have a very awkward space in my airing cupboard, where piles of towels, sheets etc are usually piled up. Except that they don't seem to want to stay in piles, and become messy mountains.

    I got all the way to the end of this post:

    "Also, for towels and things, the rolling option can be fun."

    Lightbulb: "Holy crap! I could roll them!!!" instantly ran to the airing cupboard and am now surrounded by towels but grinning my head off because I know this will be the perfect solution! Don't know why I didn't think of rolling before but it never occurred to me.

    Thanks again! Best wishes from snowy London!

    ReplyDelete

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