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Bathroom Organization

on June 23, 2013

The space under the bathroom sinks have irked me somewhat for years.  It seems like this small space is used to house so many items–some used everyday and some used less frequently.  In our house, there really is nowhere else to store the “extras” that you need in the bathroom from time to time, so under or on the sink is it as far as where to organize all these products and gadgets.  I will freely admit that this is probably the space in my house that I have reorganized the most.  I just never could find a way to make it work without something feeling out of place or in the way.  After many years, I think I have finally figured out a system that works really well for me.  While I don’t have any before pictures to share, I can give a few details on how my organizational plan came about.  The first bathroom I talk about is where where I do all of my daily routines and is also my daughter’s bathroom, so I had to work around both of our needs.

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1)  Purge.  I am the worst about this for bathroom related items.  Too many times I have found I will hold onto some sort of product or gadget because I may need or use it someday.  I am not this way in any other part of my life, so I’m not sure why I am this way with beauty related products.  I found myself with eye shadow I never used–ever–but held onto with the hopes I might someday, even though I had a brand/color I preferred much more.  I would hold onto half empty shampoo bottles, even if they didn’t work that great for my hair type.  Finally, I realized I needed to let go of these things.  Yes, I spent money on them, but I wasn’t using them and they were taking up valuable space.  Over several months/years, I finally got myself down to the essentials that I actually like using.  I have learned not to go the cheap route on products and to buy those that I have used before that I really do think work best for me–even if they are a little bit more expensive.  I may spend a little more upfront, but I am also not wasting money on things I will never use and will just take up space under my sink.  This seems to be an ongoing process with me.  I again went through my makeup a few months ago, and just the other day I purged some very old bottles of nail polish.  Hopefully, that’s the last of the Great not so great Product Purge!

2)  Prioritize.  I am out of sight, out of mind kind of gal when it comes to my routines—which is why I have a chore chart and to do list.  I never thought that really applied to my beauty/health routines.  But, not so amazingly, it does.  If I cannot see a product (like face wash) or it is difficult to get to (meaning it is hidden by a cabinet door), I am less likely to use it when I need to.  My brain is usually cluttered with other things, so a visual reminder is always best for me—even in the bathroom.  Some people prefer nothing on their counter tops–I don’t mind items out as long as they are contained and look nice.

I didn’t realize how much I needed my products out and visible until I made a small change to the counter top.  While on an amazing vacation with my husband, we stayed in a nice hotel that had a mirrored oval shaped container on top of the vanity to hold a lady’s beauty supplies.  I thought it was so lovely that when I got home, I wanted to duplicate the feeling in my bathroom.  It took me a while to find something I thought looked fancy enough, and I ended up stumbling upon it.  My grandmother gave me a silver rectangular candle tray, and I thought it would be perfect—and it was until the silver started to tarnish and get weird from all the moisture in the bathroom.  Out it went.  While I originally wanted the “look” of the fancy hotel, I realized it was the convenience of having products handy that really did it for me, so losing the silver tray was not a huge blow.

Wire basket housing everyday essentials.

Wire basket housing everyday essentials.

While not as swanky, the white wire basket I use now fits the purpose just as well and won’t get damaged.  I still have my eyes on the lookout for something prettier just in case, though.  In my little basket I have some of my everyday items like face wash, moisturizer, perfume, hair tamer, etc.  I can easily get to all of these items, and they look sort of pretty all lined up together.  I found the little bowl at a local grocery store and thought it would be perfect to hold some of my smaller jewelry items like rings and bracelets.

Pretty containers help the space feel more fun to use.

Pretty containers help the space feel more fun to use.

On the other side of my counter top, I added a few glass jars to hold two other essentials—cotton balls and q-tips.  It’s amazing how much more frequently you use these items when you don’t have to dig under your bathroom sink to find them!  Plus, I love the way they look sort of shiny and pretty on their own—even if one of them is an old pasta sauce jar.  I also love the pretty silver soap holder from Bath and Body Works.  They are so cool!  I’ve wanted something decorative like that for years. It’s like they read my mind.

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3) Corral the Under Sink Chaos.  I don’t know why, but under the sink always seemed to be a jungle of confusion.  No matter how many containers I tried or organizational systems I implemented, this just always seemed out of sync (bad pun, I know).  Finally, I think I have it all figured out.  Again, purging was a HUGE help.  The next thing that made a major difference was finding the right containers—and, facing them in a direction that makes sense.  What you see under my sink now is what I’ve lived with for a few months now—and about the 17th update to my under sink area.  The pictures show how it actually looks—not all dolled up and perfect.  The baskets are there so I can get things in the right zone—even if they are not perfectly arranged.

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The tall silver drawer system is from Bed Bath and Beyond.  I purchased it in hopes that it could help make better use of the horizontal and vertical space under the cabinet—and it has worked beautifully.  It actually holds quite a bit and is fairly sturdy.  The top is used to hold all my “extra” items—like a new pack of eye shadow or a new bottle of moisturizer that isn’t needed quite yet.  The bottom holds some items for my “health”—like large vitamin bottles, hydrogen peroxide, band-aids, etc.  The plastic shoe box next to it holds all the items I use every day that don’t go in the wire basket on the counter top—like my make-up bag, hair gel, lotion, kiddo’s detangling spray, etc.  The two plastic boxes next to it I’ve had for years and still work really well to hold less frequently used “hair” items like my hair dryer and curling iron and “nail” items like my bag of polish and bottle of remover.  For some reason, I had these facing sideways—one behind the other—and they work so much better side by side instead (see pic above).

My jewelry organized inside the cabinet door in my bathroom.  I even have room to add two more hooks if I need too down the road.

Update–More hooks and jewelry here now.

My jewelry I keep on command hooks inside the door to the hair/nail items and the other cabinet door features command hooks that hold my daughter’s water mug and washcloth she uses whenever she brushes her teeth.  I do have two small drawers above the cabinets that house more every day items.  The one on the left has our toothbrushes-paste-and floss, my small vitamin container, and nail clippers and files.  The one on the right has hair items like combs, barrettes, clippies, etc.  This drawer still gets a little messy, and I’m looking to add another small basket or two to it to keep the different hair items separated.  Right now, they get a bit jumbled.

4) Labels.  Why label everything under the sink?  Why not?  First off, I like that all of the various containers now have a uniform look with the labels.  And, they are sort of stylish and pretty.  Second, it keeps me honest.  I am much less likely to just throw something under the sink if a label tells me it has a specific home to go back to—mainly because I have given it a specific home and thought about the best place for it to live.  I used painter’s tape (such a great tool) to attach the labels to the plastic boxes, but it kept falling off the metal baskets.  To solve that problem, I just took some white thread and poked very tiny holes in the front of the label on both sides (with a sewing needle) and tide them to the wire basket—which has worked very wells so far.

I used a label template from the internet that was for pantry staples.  I simply inserted a text box over the pantry label  with my own word/font.

I used a label template from the internet that was for pantry staples. I simply inserted a text box over the pantry item with my own word/font.

5)  Other stuff.  Some of my favorite organizing items I added to my bathroom last year.  The first was a tall toilet paper holder.  I love that my daughter can grab a roll when she needs it (no more screams to mommy for more TP) and it keeps it from cluttering up under the bathroom sink.  I also added a Martha Stewart wall file holder with command strips to house magazines and magazine pages for me to peruse while my daughter is bathing or when I am otherwise engaged.  It works because it is off the floor, in an underutilized storage space, and the magazines no longer slide off the top of the toilet!

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Again, not the prettiest pic, but this is what it really looks like. I did have to add a binder clip to the side of the organizer, because the weight of the magazines was pulling it apart. This binder clip solved the problem, though.

I am very happy with the set up in my bathroom now.  Everything has a place that logically makes sense.  It is where I am most likely to reach for it and use it.  Plus, it is pleasant to look at.  In fact, I liked to so much, I did something similar in our other bathroom—which is where I shower.  The shower/tub in our main bathroom houses all my daughter’s bath items and toys, so it is not so much fun to use as an adult.  Though corralled in their own way (inside plastic sand buckets with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage and hung by command hooks), her stuff takes up most of the tub.  Not much room for mommy’s stuff in there–plus our actual shower has a seat, which I like so much better.

My shower caddy.  His is the same--and to the left of mine.

My shower caddy. His is the same–and to the left of mine.

In our master bathroom, our under sink area features our upstairs cleaning caddy on one side and plastic shoe boxes on the other.  These two shoe boxes hold any extra bathing items—like body wash, shampoo, stick razors, etc.— each box is labeled and one belongs to my husband and one to me.  The top of the counter has another wire basket that holds my husband’s daily use items and another pretty soap holder from Bath and Bodyworks.  In the shower, we used to have all of our shower items on a caddy attached to the shower head—but the weight of the caddy and gravity kept causing problems with the shower head.  Then we moved all the products to little ledges built into the shower, but they were easily and frequently knocked over and shave gel containers would leave rusty marks.  Finally, I figured out I could hang shower caddies from command hooks—not just the shower head.  Duh!  I found two inexpensive caddies at Walmart and it works so much better.  My husband and I each have our own caddy, so there is enough space for both of our items without them being in the way at all.  I am thinking about doing something similar in our bathtub for my daughter’s stuff down the road.

Hopefully these new (and not so new) systems will help keep us organized, on schedule, and beauteous.

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One response to “Bathroom Organization

  1. […] fun project was organizing the bathroom I use to get ready in the morning and share with my little one.  Just finding the right stuff to […]

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