Simple, Stylish Bathroom Organizing

Unless you live in a McMansion in the middle of suburbia, your bathroom is probably about the size of walk-in closet. And if you have several people using it on a regular basis, there is a bunch of stuff all over the place. So how do you make your bathroom both visually appealing and functional, without breaking the bank? Here are a few tips.

– A soap dish and toothbrush holder are a necessity in all bathrooms. By why plunk a run-of-the-mill set down on your counter? Think about other objects that can be used as these items. For instance, in my bathroom, I use a milk glass custard cup for a soap dish. I filled the bottom with a half inch of clean pea gravel (you could use marbles, buttons, whatever) to provide drainage, and voila. The key is elevating the soap off of whatever surface you’re using so that it has a chance to drain and dry off in between uses. This prevents you from having a yucky, ugly slimy mess of soap for people to use. For a toothbrush holder, I currently have a stainless steel and white stone one, but I’m going to trade it out with a milk glass tumbler with a floral frog (the ones with the holes, not spikes) in the bottom. This will allow me to space toothbrushes apart in the glass and fit with the overall look of the bathroom.

– There are a lot of accessories to be stored in the bathroom, from makeup and personal care items to hair appliances and extras. In my bathroom, I coordinate my storage by using unique milk glass pieces on the counter. Even though each piece is different, it still looks unified because everything is made of the same material. For makeup storage on the counter, I have all of the necessities in a rectangular milk glass container. We are fortunate enough to have a built-in medicine cabinet in our bathroom, and that’s where we store toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash, nailpolish, cotton swabs, etc. To keep the cabinet organized, I utilize small boxes and dividers. If you don’t have a medicine cabinet and counter space is at a premium or non-existent, you can invest in wall-hung containers. This can be anything from a simple plastic container attached with a large suction cup to a wall rail system with hanging baskets. Choose whichever option works best for you, and everything will be handy as you need it.

– If you’re really short on storage, you can get an etagere (the cabinets that fit over the toilet). These come in all shorts of styles, but the most affordable ones are the basic stainless steel. You can organize items on this type of shelf and prevent clutter by sorting like items into photo boxes, wicker baskets, wire baskets, hat boxes or whatever you’d like. If you’d like to further disguise your storage, you can sew simple curtains to hang from each shelf to conceal the contents.

– If you have a pedestal sink, you can always sew a simple skirt for it and attach it with velcro. This will provide extra hidden storage for bulkier items like the toilet brush and cleaning supplies.

– You don’t have to have a big budget to make your space look great. For example in bathroom, I have cream tile and white walls, and we’re not allowed to paint. So working with that base, I choose a cream shower curtain that is embroidered with bamboo stalks. To coordinate with that (and cover up the awful tiny white tile with filthy grout on the floor) I choose a sage green rug. I replaced the ugly 1970’s plastic dome light fixture on the overhead light with a rice paper shade with a bamboo motif stenciled on. To provide functional wall decor, I installed a pine molding shelf on one wall over the hand towel rack. I store bath salts and extra guest soaps on the shelf in decorative containers, keeping them in an easy to reach location, and it looks really good. On the other wall, we have a simple framed Japanese print. Behind the door, we have a towel hook, but you could also go with an over-the-door model.

Good places to look for affordable accessories (remember, think outside the box) are thrift stores, garage/yard sales and elsewhere in your home. Who says your bathroom has to be boring and messy?