It helps corral absolutely everything.

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated July 02, 2019
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In my small New York City apartment, I take advantage of every opportunity for extra storage—even using the back of my toilet as a spot to stash a few things. A box of tissues, a tiny bud vase, and a few beauty products all call the top of the toilet tank home. While this frees up a little storage space in my cramped medicine cabinet, leaving these items on display made the area look cluttered. On a hunt for the right storage for this spot, I discovered my new favorite (and honestly, underrated) organizer: the tray.

After adding a wooden tray with a blush mirrored bottom underneath the assortment on the back of the toilet, I realized the game-changing effect of the humble storage tray. Without getting rid of anything, the tray magically made the collection look organized, and it suddenly appeared deliberate and curated rather than haphazardly cluttered. As soon as I saw the visual effect of that first tray, I couldn't stop. I soon added a second tray on my bathroom counter to hold bottles of lotion and eye cream. Then, I used one to collect nail polishes on my vanity. And added another for all of the loose change, candles, and tchotchkes that landed on my bedside table. Without Marie Kondo-ing a single thing, every surface in my home looked a little neater.

To get the same effect, invest in a few organizing trays—we've rounded up some favorite options, below. Cull your collection just enough to fit everything on the tray (but don't worry too much about curating) and every counter and tabletop in your home will look instantly cleaner.

Crate & Barrel

1

To collect the beauty products you reach for every day, invest in a shallow woven tray that's pretty enough to leave out on your bathroom counter. 

To buy: $11, crateandbarrel.com

Container Store

2

For an organized office, opt for a modern tray that can hold everything from your stapler to paper clips without looking cluttered. Plus, Poppin trays come in a wide range of fun colors, so you can pick one that matches your office. 

To buy: $20, containerstore.com

World Market

3

To organize all of the spices and condiments you leave out on your kitchen counter, look for a stylish tray with a lip that will prevent the bottles from spilling onto the counter. This wood and iron option will add rustic charm to a modern farmhouse kitchen. 

To buy: $40, worldmarket.com

Urban Outfitters

4

The tray I chose for my own bathroom, this option has a blush mirrored bottom that reflects light beautifully. It's also the ideal size for stashing a square tissue box and some glass perfume bottles. 

To buy: $20, urbanoutfitters.com

Urban Outfitters

5

For storage with a touch of personalization, opt for this monogrammed, lemon-patterned tray. The fresh design will cheer up your nightstand—creating the prefect landing spot for a cup of water and your bedside reading. 

To buy: $24, urbanoutfitters.com