A lot of bathrooms you see beautifully organized are large bathrooms with a ton of space. But, you don't need a big bathroom with storage to create a beautiful and organized area. If you live in an apartment, an older home, or a shared space, your bathroom is probably even smaller! I say this as someone with a small primary bathroom myself - I know how challenging it can be, but it's totally doable!
I love organizing bathrooms because it's easier to get rid of items. We typically don’t have as much sentimental value to tanning lotion and lipstick as we do to clothing, kitchen items, and sentimental items.
Let's break down a few hacks to get the most out of your small bathroom space.
How to Organize a Small Bathroom
Keep Your Daily Items Accessible
Think about your morning and night routine. Pull everything out you use daily in the morning and put it in one pile and put your nightly routine items in another pile. Also, think about what is working for you in your bathroom. How could it be more functional and beautiful? How do you want to feel when using your bathroom?
Take Everything Out of Drawers, Cabinets, and Storage Spaces
Take everything, and I mean EVERYTHING out of your bathroom vanity. As you take everything out, place them into categories and mark categories with a post-it. You can create groupings on the floor or grab a bunch of temporary bins, but actually writing out the names of categories on post-its helps maintain order when, I assure you, this part of the process looks anything but orderly. I love bathrooms because the categories are pretty universal and easy to identify.
Some categories we typically see in bathrooms
Makeup (this can be further divided into subcategories if you have a lot)
Hair removal products
Linens (washcloths, towels, hair towels, etc.)
Now, because you have a small space, I really want you to ask yourself some questions to determine what you keep and what you toss! Ask yourself these questions:
When did you buy it?
When did you use it last? Expiration dates aside, is it really getting used?
Do you have a product you like better? Are you keeping a lotion you don’t really love, but it felt wasteful to throw it away? This is your opportunity to let go of anything that is not getting used guilt-free.
Once everything is out of the cabinets, either tossed or separated into categories, wipe down your drawers and under the sink.
Start Organizing Your Space
Decide which products you are going to keep in that valuable real estate. For organization, I definitely have the go-to products I like to use in bathrooms. And remember, always try to go vertical if you're feeling low on space!
Place bathroom items in containers and back into the vanity. Prioritize prime real estate for your daily routine. Top drawer(s) should be exclusively set aside for the items you are using every day. If there are two items you use at the same time in your routine, place them next to each other in the drawer.
This is where you get to decide what is best for you in your space. Maybe you get one drawer and your spouse gets another. Maybe you use your top drawer for morning routine items and the second drawer for the evening routine. You choose. The most important thing is that you are being intentional about what you are keeping, where it is going, and consistent with the organization products you are using.
Best Organization Products for Small Bathrooms
Drawer organizers for top, more shallow drawers:
The Everything Organizer. These are my favorites! They have rubber feet on the bottom (so they don’t slide), sharp corners at the top (giving them a tight connection), and come in a lot of different modular sizes (in increments of 3”). They are also clear and easy to contain spills and wipe clean. They can add up quickly in cost, but are my first choice.
This is a great budget friendly option from Target, but they are only sold in stores and only come in 4 sizes. They usually have a few color options as well.
Deep drawer organizers:
The idesign deep drawer organizers are my favorite option for the same reasons as the everything organizer. They come in increments of 4”.
This is the budget friendly option I love. This is also a cool option because the products stack so you can do layers if you are hurting for more space. These are also only sold in Target stores.
Under the sink:
Multipurpose bins are awesome for holding items upright and are a little more budget friendly. They come in 4 sizes. They are sometimes problematic with plumbing, but a great option a lot of the time.
Drawers: You can add drawers under the sink if you want to be able to easily access items, but also maximize the vertical space. They are the best options for a small space! These are my two favorite ‘drawer’ products to use. The Container Store sells this tall drawer that can accommodate most beauty products. Amazon sells this drawer that stacks nicely and comes in different heights (though it is not as deep). Here is one more drawer option that is extra deep.
Acrylic Hinge lids: I love these for stacking and getting the most out of the vertical space. They are sleek and beautiful and come in 4 different heights.
Bins with lids: These are my favorite bins with lids that are more budget-friendly and great for stacking. The shoe size and tall shoe fit perfectly on top of each other and help maximize height. They come in many more size options, but these are the two sizes I recommend for under the sink.
Caddy: This is my favorite small bathroom hack that I use personally. I keep all my makeup in this caddy. I use the sections to separate eyes, lips, and primer/bb cream. Then the bigger section I use for compacts. When I am getting ready for the day I put the caddy on the counter and everything is right there. This can go in a drawer or under the sink.
If you have a super small bathroom or no vanity at all, you can bring in a rolling cart (I like this acrylic one or this budget friendly one that you can find at most stores) or a small cabinet to provide extra storage.
I added three floating shelves to my bathroom when I first moved in. They have been a lifesaver in such a tiny space. I styled them to look cute, but they are 100% functional and store: toothbrushes, makeup brushes, q-tips, cotton balls, mouth wash, washcloths in a basket, tissues, and all our electric tools in a basket on top (like electric shavers, callus remover).
I also LOVE hooks. I think towel racks should be banished for all time. Add some hooks if you have wall space for hand towels, washcloths, robes, and bath towels.
As you put things back, if there are some things that just don’t fit that you absolutely want to hold on to, set the categories aside that could be stored somewhere else (like backstock, and travel items). The goal is that no matter the size of space you are living in, the items that you use daily should fit comfortably in YOUR space.
When labeling in a bathroom, it is entirely up to you how specific you want to get. I typically don’t label drawers unless it is requested. When I do label drawers, I either put the label on the back center of each drawer organizer or on the lip of the drawer. The bins I prioritize labeling are those under the sink.
Until labels are in place, there is no system. Editing, sorting, containing…everything you have done up to this point is great and part of the organizing process, but the labels finalize the system. The system might need some adjusting after a few weeks of living with it, but labeling officially gives everything a home.
Are you feeling more confident about your small bathroom space? I promise you that you can achieve a calm, organized feeling even in a small space!
Jen Martin is the founder of Reset Your Nest, Utah's premier home organization business. At Reset Your Nest we believe pantries should be just as beautiful as living spaces, and living spaces just as functional as pantries. To schedule a free consultation with Reset Your Nest, click HERE. Make sure to subscribe to the Reset Your Nest blog for new posts in your inbox, and follow Reset Your Nest on Instagram for organizational tips and tricks.