5 Bathroom Storage Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

If you saw my master bathroom renovation at the end of last year, then you know I’ve had quite a few changes happening in the bathroom department in our house. I feel like each bathroom I’ve had since college has gotten a little better and a little more storage efficient each time until I’ve reached my pinnacle bathroom arrangement in this remodel. This is actually one of the smaller master bathrooms I’ve lived with square-footage-wise, so making use of all the possible space options has been extra important here. I’ll show you the mistakes I’ve made over the years and how I’ve fixed them now in this bathroom!

Mistake #1: Not making use of wall space. In our last house, I figured out the wall was actually a great area to store bathroom items. I made this wall storage DIY to help store makeup brushes and my most used makeup and I loved it! For this bathroom, I made a hidden medicine cabinet to store my daily skin care items and it keeps a lot of items off my counter (helping to keep it cleaner) and you would have no idea that it’s storing so much—it just looks like a cute print!

Mistake #2: Not using shelves for storage. It’s not uncommon to have a shelf in a bathroom, but I usually see them with more decorative items than with actual items of use. The key to maximizing your use of a shelf is to have a mix of purely decorate items along with pretty versions of items you actually use and hidden storage containers—think cotton swabs and Q-tips in glass containers, room spray in a glass spray bottle, pretty beauty items, marble canisters … that kind of thing! I also keep a lot of my smaller makeup items in a little 3-drawer organizer I keep on the shelf which keeps them all together, tidy, out of sight, but nearby as needed.

Mistake #3: Not having enough baskets and segmented bins. OK, so this is one that I’d been doing, but I count it here because I hadn’t been doing it nearly enough. Having a few bins with segments to separate items is good, but I eventually realized that it was optimal to fill pretty much every inch of space that I could with either a larger basket or a smaller segmented bin. Once I filled up every nook and cranny with a container of some sort, it seemed almost impossible for the storage to get messy and disorganized—everything has a spot!

I got a bunch of divided bins like these and these to sort my smaller items, some deeper bins for taller beauty things, large bins for lotions/hairspray, and some small bins of various sizes to fit anywhere there was an open spot (this non-slip liner works amazing to keep all your bins from sliding around as well). I’ve also always wanted one of these to organize my straightener/blow dryer (they have over-the-door or wall-mounted options too) and I love how it keeps them (and the cords) all nice and tidy. Basically, I would take some measurements of your drawers and the area under your sink and then buy a bunch of containers in all different sizes and just play around to find a configuration that works best for your space and what you want to store. Then, once you have what you need, just return all that you didn’t use! It’s a huge pain to try and get exactly everything you think you will need on the first go, so now when I organize (like I did with my hall closet) I just buy half the store of anything I might possibly use and then return the leftovers later. 

Mistake #4: Not having a laundry/cleaning section. OK, I think I may be most excited about this new addition to the pack. I can never find a clean washcloth when I want one, and if I can, it just ends up sitting around on my counter once it’s used because I can’t seem to remember to take it to the laundry pile and both problems have been so annoying. I finally bought a pack of black washcloths (black will hide any makeup stains) and they are all folded in a long bin under the sink now with a matching bin right behind it for all the dirty ones. I also use my DIY reusable makeup wipes, so I keep my mesh laundry bags for those in the bin as well so I can wash them all at once with the washcloths. We also use cloth napkins/rags instead of disposable options, so I just wash them all at the same time to fill out a load. Also, I hate having to hunt down a scrub brush or sponge when it’s time to clean the bathroom, so I got a little basket to fit a brush, sponge set, and some cleaner to keep in the sink cabinet at all times.

Mistake #5: Not keeping my most used items handy. This is one mistake that you will know right away if you are making it! If getting ready or taking off your makeup (or washing your face) at the end of the day is always frustrating because you have to dig that one, or two, or three things out of the back of wherever you are currently keeping it, then you have a location problem. Everything you use on a daily basis should be easily accessible and you shouldn’t have to hunt for anything. Put everything you usually use in one day on the counter and make it your mission to find a nearby spot (on the wall, shelf, or clearly visible in a top drawer) to keep that item.

I know sometimes I’ve kept some makeup in my purse makeup bag, so I’d have to find the bag in my purse each day to finish getting ready and then hopefully remember to put the bag back in before I left. In those cases, having multiples of certain fave makeup items will make getting ready so much smoother and you can leave your touch-up bag in your purse where it belongs. I also tend to put on jewelry right after I do my makeup in the bathroom, so I use some Command Clear strips to attach this acrylic necklace hanger to the inside wall of my cabinet so they are nearby as well. Since we have double sinks now with our bathroom makeover (we used to have a single one in the old setup), there’s definitely less counter space. So I tried to keep as much as I could off the counter this time and only have a small vanity organizer where I can keep my most used makeup brushes, toothpaste, and a spot for my glasses and earrings that I take off at night. It’s a great way to keep a few things handy while keeping clutter to a minimum.

 There you go! I must say that I’m pretty excited to actually use this bathroom on a daily basis and have everything I need nearby. It also feels good to know that if we ever move I’ll know my favorite ways to organize a bathroom and I can set up a way that will work for that space pretty quickly. If you have a must-have item or tip you love for bathroom organizing, let me know in the comments! Hope doing a little organizing will get your year off to a good start as well! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Can’t do any of these things due to how small mine is…can’t even fit a cabinet under the sink due to a radiator being in the way and any shelves would be asking for people to hit their head on them! I’m sure this article comes from a country where bathrooms are a decent size.

  • These are great tips!! We have a pedestal sink in our bathroom which I love but it definitely cut down on a lot of storage. I have to travel back and forth to our linen closet to grab things I need every morning so the wall storage and container storage could be very useful in our space!!

  • Looks lovely! Do you use a new wash cloth every time you wash your face? I use the same one for morning and night and am always wondering where other people hang their washcloths that are still in use 🙂

    • You could add a little hook somewhere to hang it while you’re still using it. I don’t like to put totally wet washcloths into the “to wash” bin so I hang it on the shower wall until it’s dry and then throw it in the bin 🙂

      Laura

  • I love this post. Please can you tell us where your floating shelves are from?
    Also- I watched your home tour. It has inspired me to take a closer look at our space to find areas to make improvements! We love our 1960s house and last November finished renovating the kitchen, floors, and 3 bathrooms. Unfortunately- storage space is at a minimum. Even with so much new- I find myself wanting a new house (which is unreasonable) b/c we have such teeny closets. Have you ever thought on consulting with people? Hehee;)

  • Not sure why having duplicates of my touch-up makeup rather than switching back and forth never hit me before. THANK YOU. So frustrating when I’m getting ready and I’ve left a vital concealer in the car or something.

  • You can also screw wire baskets to the inside of cupboard doors. Just make sure basket depth is narrower than the wasted space. Very handy!

  • Hi Laura! I see you’re still have the Averr Aglow products in your cabinet. As a fellow dry-skin chick, I was wondering if you were still pleased with the line and if that’s all you currently use.

    • I love that line! I use a couple of different things but that’s been one of my favorites—I just wish it worked as well with reusable makeup wipes as it does with the disposable cotton rounds. The cotton round textures give you the best results but I’m trying to cut down on waste…

      Laura

  • okay, why haven’t i been putting my washcloths I use to wash my face in my vanity?! It’s just 3 more steps to my linen closet, but this makes WAY more sense. Moving things around today ASAP!

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

  • Is the fiddle leaf real? It’s such a pretty little plant :). If it’s not, I’d love to know where it’s from!

  • Great tips to enhance the space. I love your monochromatic approach to storage containers. Everything together creates a very cohesive look. Well done ladies!

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