Get a high-tech medicine cabinet
Keep cords off the floor and the countertop by charging small personal electronic items like toothbrushes, razors, and flat irons in the medicine cabinet. Roburn’s M Series cabinets come in a range of sizes and styles, each outfitted with two or more electrical outlets and a shelf roomy enough to contain your tools.
Keep makeup in the bedroom
Heat and humidity can create a breeding ground for bacteria in your liquid foundation, powders, and lipsticks—never mind cause the colors and textures to degrade faster. Save yourself some money in the long run and space in the short term by moving your makeup out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. Then step back and admire all that free space you just gained.
Share an (electric) toothbrush
Save space on your countertop or within the medicine cabinet by ditching that bulky four-slot toothbrush holder in favor of one electric toothbrush with multiple heads for everyone in the family.
Use a lazy susan for easy access
Pop quiz: What’s in the way back of your vanity cabinet? Tough one, right? Lotions, potions, and cleaning supplies tend to get lost for years in that cavernous depth. Maximize what’s likely the largest storage space in your bathroom and put everything at your fingertips with a freestanding, multi-tiered lazy susan.
Double up on the door
Think multi-level: Hang two—or even three—rows of hooks on the back of the bathroom door, says Alexis Givens, an interior designer who pens the Dear Design Diary blog. The lower hooks are just the right height for kids’ towels and bathrobes, says Givens.
Move the medicine cabinet away from the sink
Installing a recessed medicine cabinet (which doesn’t need to be mirrored) on a non-sink wall has numerous benefits, says Givens: It frees you to find the largest cabinet possible without worrying about sink-to-cabinet proportions; it allows you to choose a really special mirror in a beautiful frame for over the sink (form over function—so fun!); and without a swinging cabinet door to worry about, you can install a small glass shelf below the decorative mirror and above the sink faucet (which adds storage for soap dishes, apothecary jars filled with cotton swabs, and more).
Hang baskets vertically on walls
If you’ve got just enough floor space for a wastebasket and little else, grab a hammer and nails and affix square-sided baskets or boxes to walls for storage. Choose ones deep enough to hold rolled or folded washcloths and hand towels, but not so deep that anyone will bang their head upon turning around (six to eight inches is about right).
Upgrade basics with stylish containers
Keep your bathroom looking pleasing and tranquil—and not like a storage closet—by choosing beautiful vessels for utilitarian supplies, says Carla Aston, a Texas-based interior designer and blogger. “I use containers that are typically not found in bathrooms, like decorative bowls for jewelry, hair accessories, and soaps,” she says.
Bring in a ladder
To create vertical storage while preserving precious floor real estate, lean a wooden ladder against your wall and hang wire baskets from the rungs, says Jennifer Lifford, who used this smart storage idea in her own bathroom and documented it on her organizing blog, Clean & Scentsible. Unlike commercial ladder-style shelves, which can have a space-hogging 14-inch depth, an actual ladder can be propped up at any angle (use wall anchors to stabilize it). Choose different sizes of baskets to hold toiletries, reading material, and more. Hang hand towels directly on the rung.
Choose hooks over bars
Ever try to hang a bathrobe from your towel bar? You wedge it in between the bar and the wall, hoping it doesn’t fall into a heap on the floor while you’re shampooing and it doesn’t rip the bar right out of the plaster? Carla Aston feels your pain—and suggests using hooks instead. “Hooks have a much wider variety of uses,” she says. “You can hang clothing or robes, baskets with a handle at the top, or a pretty tote in which you store products—you can even hang a blow dryer if it has a hook on the end.” Have your heart set on a towel bar? Aston suggests at least getting a train rack style to maximize storage. (But then you’re on your own with the bathrobe.)
Steal from the kitchen
Customize the shower curtain with pockets
Givens likes to use a patterned shower curtain in a small space for visual pop—and she affixes pockets on the outside for organizational streamlining. Buy a second shower curtain in the same or contrasting fabric and cut it up to create little pockets for soap, bath toys, combs and more. (Busy-woman hack: Order this neutral pocket shower curtain and use bold colors or patterns elsewhere in the room.)
Hang shelves above eye level
When you’re looking to stash functional supplies like extra toilet paper rolls and tissue boxes, forget the old rule about hanging shelves at eye level and instead hang them a good six inches higher, says Lifford. This way, you can tuck supplies in pretty bins or baskets and no one will be able to see inside—yet you’ll be able to easily reach for the bin when you need it.