Upgrade your tiny bathroom with a little clever reorganization.

By Real Simple Editors
Updated March 11, 2020
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In a small bathroom, storage can be hard to come by—there’s no square footage to slip in extra storage cabinets or dressers so you can stash all of your everyday essentials. But before you trash your blow dryer and pare back your beauty product stash, take a look around—there are plenty of small bathroom organization ideas that can help you maximize every square inch of space, without losing a single ounce of style. Try a few of these ideas to help you cut the bathroom clutter.

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1
Choose a tech-friendly medicine cabinet

A medicine cabinet with built-in outlets can help you hide the tangle of wires as you charge your toothbrushes and shavers.

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2
Make hooks your small bathroom storage MVPs

Use hooks instead of towel bars: Your bathrobe, blow dryer or even a tote filled with toiletries can hang from hooks alongside your towel, but a towel bar really limits what you can store there. And don’t stick with one row of hooks—think multi-level. You can hang two—or even three—rows of hooks on the back of the bathroom door, says interior designer Alexis Givens. The lower hooks are just the right height for kids’ towels and bathrobes.

Rebecca Longshore

3
Don't forget the under-sink cabinet

If you don’t already have an under-sink cabinet, get one—it’s the perfect place to stash a ton of toiletries. To maximize your storage, use under-sink shelves or a multi-tiered lazy susan so you can easily reach the products in the back of the cabinet.

Wayfair

4
Turn your shower curtain into more storage

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.)

Related: The 11 Best Shower Curtains on Amazon

Rebecca Longshore

5
Sneak in extra shelving

If you're planning a remodel, chances are there's a spot where you could put in some built-in bathroom shelves. The beauty of built-ins is that they tuck into the wall, saving you valuable space. Larson added shelves behind the shower, providing a convenient spot to stash towels. No renovations in the near future? Imitate the look by installing a column of slim floating shelves. They'll take up slightly more space than a built-in unit, but will offer just as much bathroom storage.

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6
Upgrade basic storage 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.

Rebecca Longshore

7
Add a Shelf (or Two) Above the Toilet

Typically, the space above the toilet is an underutilized area. But in a small bathroom, every inch counts. Adding a couple shelves turns a blank wall into an extra storage spot for plants, towels, art, and toiletries. Choose minimalist shelves and pretty brackets (just like this set in the bathroom of Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess) to keep it looking sleek and simple.

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8
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 bathroom organization 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).

Related:8 Things You Should Never Store in a Medicine Cabinet—and 7 You Should

cleanandscentsible.com

9
Use a ladder to maximize your small bathroom storage

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.

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10
Move your makeup into 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.

Related: A Complete Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates

Pottery Barn

11
Hang storage baskets

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).

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12
Hang bathroom 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.

Related: 7 Ideas for Turning Your Small Bathroom into a Spa