Updated: May 10, 2019
There are several rules that apply to organizing ANY space, and a few that especially apply to organizing in a bathroom.
Take EVERYTHING out of drawers & cabinets, and sort into categories. You have to do this with any organizing project, if you want to do it the right way. When you've sorted everything into piles (that used to be stuffed in cabinets), you'll be able to see how many duplicates you've accumulated, and all the old stuff you've been hanging onto. If it's been awhile since you've organized, it's almost a guarantee that you'll have things that need purged. Here is a list of general categories you can use for sorting:
BATH / SHOWER
P U R G E and then
P U R G E A G A I N!
(A note about towels: if you have 20 towels but will never have all 20 dirty at the same time, you should purge a few!)
Rule #3: Plan to keep a limited supply of your daily items in the prime locations, and the "back stock" items somewhere else.
How many "daily items" do you store in your bathroom? If you think about it... there are several! There's everything you use in the shower, plus towels, toothbrush & toothpaste, floss, deodorant, combs / brushes, hair products, skin care (facewash etc), lotions, hair tools, makeup, and the list goes on. How do you decide which of these items get stored in the prime locations (most easily accessible)?
In order to have room for ALL your daily items in prime locations, you'll have to decant anything possible (which I should really list as rule #4 here)!
Notice in the picture above, how miniature hair tie rubber bands and q-tips have both been decanted from their original packaging. The flossers have been as well. Not only does this save room for several items to be kept in the drawer, it makes these items easy to grab when you need one. You'll also notice that the current tubes of toothpaste being used are kept in the drawer, but the extra tubes that came in the 2-pack or 4-pack are not.
Rule #4: Sub-divide your categories so that you can always see how much you have on hand. Besides all the "daily" bathroom items, you're sure to have extras, plus more things that get used only occasionally (travel kits, nail care, feminine hygiene products, extra toilet paper, etc), Before implementing rule #4 in my own bathroom, I was buying things I didn't need and didn't have room for. Things were getting buried in bins that didn't sub-divide and also didn't use the space in my cabinets wisely. This picture proves it:
Compare the BEFORE to the AFTER in this next picture. The AFTER is clearly a better set-up because items are subdivided (and labeled!), not to mention the vertical space being used with taller, stackable bins. Always think about how you can take advantage of vertical space for storage!
Speaking of using your storage space wisely, let's talk about some general products I recommend for bathroom cabinets.
*Anything that stacks and uses the vertical space in your cabinets is a must! If you use bins with lids, use all the same kind so they can stack on top of each other. If you don't want lids, look for stackable open-front or open-top bins.
*Use up the depth in your cabinets by shopping for LONG bins. Measure your space before shopping and keep those measurements handy so that you can make the most of your storage space without buying something that's too long. Notice how the bins in the next picture take up the entire depth inside the cabinets:
*Use turntables when you're trying to work around the pipes under a sink, as well as the center bar on a cabinet. Make sure that anything you place on top (or inside of it) doesn't hit the pipes in the back as it spins. I love that only one corner of the turntable has to be accessible, because we can gain extra storage space in a cabinet (by using it) - that would otherwise be wasted space. The following picture shows a turntable being used under a kitchen sink, but apply this same concept to the cabinet under a bathroom sink!
*As the picture above shows, plastic stackable drawers work great inside cabinets as well!
If you must use your countertop to store anything (makeup, for example)... do your best to keep it looking clutter-free! You can accomplish this by using a single basket to corral everything, or you can use coordinating products to make everything look streamlined. I love the selection offered by mDesign and the ease of shopping by room on their website. How pretty are these countertop makeup organizers (that could also be used as office organizers)... all from mDesign:
There's even more products you can find to create extra "prime storage" spots in your bathroom. Consider using shelves, over-the-door organizers, over-the-cabinet organizers, pretty baskets or trays for the countertop, and even stackable bins inside of drawers. Let me show you a few examples:
I have a few random tips to share about systems I use in my bathroom that make my life easier (and keeps things clean)!
1) Rather than using a rug outside of your shower or bathtub, keep a basket of hand towels close by, and place one on the floor each time you're getting into the tub / shower. I bought a pack of 12 at Costco almost a whole year ago... and I've been rotating through only 6 of the 12 towels (the other 6 towels are stored in my "backstock" cabinet). Every day or two, I toss the used towel in the laundry hamper and put a new one down. This works better for me than looking at a dirty rug or feeling like I have to wash it every few days in order to have something clean to step on right out of the shower.
2) When I buy disinfecting wipes, I get the 5-pack from Costco. Instead of storing all 5 packages together (where would I have room for so many?). I place one under my kitchen sink AND one in each bathroom. This makes it easy to wipe down surfaces in the bathrooms because the wipes are close by.
**I've saved all of these tips and more in my "bathroom" highlight reel, in my instagram account. There, I've shared more details and demonstrations about how to organize in your bathroom. Instagram handle: @azhouseoforder