18 Quick Tips for Bathroom Storage
Organizing pays off
One of the smallest rooms in your house can also be one of the busiest--and most cluttered. But even an hour or two of organizing can help transform your bathroom into a more serene retreat.
Click through our slides for ideas on stylish storage and easy organizing for bath necessities.
The first step in taming your bathroom clutter: a thorough cleanout.
-- Get rid of bath and shower items you haven't used in more than a month.
-- Move extra items, such as duplicate bottles of shampoo or sample-size bottles of lotion, into a guest bath.
-- Toss all expired medicines (check with your local waste-removal service for safe medicine disposal options).
Your goal: A clean, sleek look like the one in the bathroom at left, where a tall built-in cabinet offers easy-to-reach storage between wall-hung sinks.
Contain counter clutter
Not sure which area to organize first? Try clearing off the sink and nearby countertop, a focal point in most baths.
One storage solution for those who like to keep some everyday items on the counter: trays or baskets. You can simply lift the tray to clean rather than move individual items.
Corral all those necessities
Cluster similar items--makeup, medicines, toiletries--into easy-to-reach drawers or shelves and sort them with plastic or wire dividers. Depending on your budget, storage solutions can range from inexpensive drawer dividers to new or improved cabinetry.
Removable drawers that can be put on the counter and then tucked away again are especially handy. At left, step-back shelves hang from a rollout rack and can be lifted out and toted where they're needed. The wire construction stands up well to moisture and lets damp items quickly dry.
Opt for pullouts
You'll love the time-saving aspect of drawers and bins that pull out in one easy motion. Pullout drawers and shelves help you avoid digging around in the dark--or buying things you already have but can't find.
Even a narrow space can be put to work with a pullout, such as between or beside plumbing pipes. The pullout at left has rails to prevent items from falling off shelves while allowing easy visibility.
Make it easy to share a space
If several people share a bath, assign a bath drawer or shelf to each, and let each person be responsible for organizing personal supplies.
In this bath, color-coded coordinating towels make it easy to sort linens by family member, while baskets provide quick, individualized pullout storage.
Tight on space? Look up!
If you need to add storage in a small bath, a tower-style shelving unit takes up only a smidgen of floor space and provides multiple shelves for stacking towels or stashing toiletries. Set bins or baskets on some of the shelves to house small items and eliminate a cluttered look.
Moveable storage fix
A small cart, woven basket or galvanized bin offers an inexpensive and versatile storage solution. The multishelf cart at left can hold a wide assortment of toiletries and grooming supplies. Selecting a cart on wheels makes it easy to move all your necessities from the tub to the shower or sink.
Skip the tub ledge for daily-use items. Instead, if you don't have built-in shelves, look for a shower caddie that hooks over the showerhead or can mount on the wall. This system, left, was designed to hang along a kitchen backsplash, but it works just as well in a bath.
Bigger storage answers
Adding a piece of freestanding furniture can give you lots of extra space without the expense of building new cabinets. A hutch or chest of drawers--vintage or new--holds an abundance of washcloths, bath towels and other accessories. Here, a repainted $75 floor cabinet from a flea market provides room to hide and organize bath clutter.
This bathroom uses the tub area for convenient storage. Rather than a tub surround with solid panels, create a surround composed of cubbies. Use these openings to store the things you use in the tub. Place stacks of folded towels on the shelves, as well as baskets and bins for soap, shampoo, conditioner and other bath supplies.
More bath bins
Tilt-out bins require only a sliver of space within this tub surround but are roomy enough for storing rolled or folded towels--right where they're needed most. Moldings give the drawer fronts the look of stationary recessed panels when the bins are closed.
Gain storage without bulky cabinets by building shelves right into the wall between studs. Areas above the tub give you plenty of space for towels and accessories.
More places for storage
If you're considering remodeling part of your bath, look to spaces such as the area behind your toilet for cabinet potential, as in the bath at left.
Other ideas, for a range of budgets:
--Attach a fabric skirt to a freestanding or wall-hung sink using adhesive-back hook-and-loop tape. Store supplies behind the skirt.
--Use organizing inserts to make the best use of your drawers and cabinets. Look for stackable trays that are designed to slip inside drawers and take advantage of the space, top to bottom.
--Put the back of a door to use with hooks for robes or an extra rack for towels.
--Install high shelving around the perimeter of the bath for towels or decorative objects.