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Install a Toiletry Shelf

Organizing Good Things 2005, October/November 2006

Make space for supplies over the bathroom door so that they'll be accessible when they need to be replenished. Use wood screws to secure a pair of wooden shelf brackets to either side of the door frame; screw shelf to brackets. The shelf should rest on top of the door molding, which will help support the weight. Keep small bottled items and toilet paper in handled boxes. Bars of soap can be stored, unwrapped, in an airtight glass container.

Comments (45)

  • lheadlee 26 May, 2012

    I put one up in my bathroom and put things up there that my kids tend to play with it works great and I have gotten so many compliments I recommend this to everyone

  • AnnMarie12065 18 May, 2008

    My husband installed shelves in our bathroom when we moved into our apt. We have little cabinets and a lot of stuff. There work for towels, iron, etc. I love
    shelves. The only difference is my husband reversed the arms, so the are above the shelf. He also placed shelving above our garage door for that extra "hidden" space. Everyone raves about that space. Good luck all.

  • meganelizabeth 18 May, 2008

    This is a great looking finished project. I added some thin moulding to the edges of the shelf for a decorative look. The people at the hardware store were nice enough to miter the edges perfectly for me, so all I had to do was nail it on. Also, instead of wooden brackets, I used antique victorian metal brackets that I sanded, primed, and spray-painted to match the shelves. It looks exactly like the shelving spread from Martha's January 2007 issue.

  • ashleyarsenic 28 Apr, 2008

    this would be perfect for my tiny master bath! i'm worried though... i'm all of 5'2''! that's a long stretch for a shorty!

  • Matthew_Modesitt 6 Apr, 2008

    I currently had one when I moved into our new home. We love it! I would advise using nice decorative baskets (these can be inexpensive) to put supplies/overfill with. That way it doesn't take away from the organization you so diligently worked for.

  • ylekiot 19 Mar, 2008

    I did this years ago when I had a small room with high ceilings. We put the shelves all around the perimeter of the room with decorative corbels and that's where I kept ALL of my (hundreds of!) books. Great storage, free wall and floor space and it didn't feel crowded at all

  • 321suzanne 6 Mar, 2008

    Wonderful idea. Saves space especially in my tiny beach cottage.

  • KiniWoman 6 Mar, 2008

    I've always loved that idea. Our old house has low ceilings and doing this would only give us about 4 inches of height. :(

  • nuts4fiber 29 Feb, 2008

    I live in California, too, but I did this over two doors in our hallway, for books. I figure on the rare occasion that we might have a quake of that magnitude, I'll be stepping over lots more than a pile of books! I would definitely omit any glass jars, though!

  • crittrlovr 29 Feb, 2008

    We have also used this idea over windows ..... looks great!

  • cutiepiejanice 29 Feb, 2008

    i live in prob the world's smallest apartment

  • Knits4All 28 Feb, 2008

    That just looks too dangerous to me! I live in California, and this idea is a big no-no for earthquake safety. And glass jars filled with stuff, above your head as you walk through a door seems unsafe.

  • georgii1 28 Feb, 2008

    I would suggest adding a bead o rsomething like cove molding to the top of that shelf and that will stop things from being able to easily fall; and, if you still worry there's that stuff used in offices that can be placed on the shelf.

  • REGINAMCMANUS 28 Feb, 2008


  • sewlady003 21 Feb, 2008

    I absolutely love this idea. I live in a very small space and I am always looking for new ways to store things. I make my own soap and the glass jar is a wonderful idea for storing it in the moist atmosphere of the bathroom Thanks, so much.

  • thehoffmanfam 18 Feb, 2008

    This is a fabulous idea for small living spaces. One I would like to use. And great suggestions for non breakable, shatterable storage options.

  • Kirsteen 8 Feb, 2008

    I've thought of doing this for quite a while but just haven't. Now, with confidence that it's Martha approved, I will!

  • asfinlay 27 Jan, 2008

    Great additional storage for a small pantry.

  • RebelArtist 18 Jan, 2008

    Great idea. I used it in my tiny office/sitting room to display my collectables.

  • drama_queen2788 15 Jan, 2008

    That is such a neat idea!! I never would have thought of it, but really, it's the idea place to keep stuff out of the way, but still have access to them!!

  • momknits 14 Jan, 2008

    Great idea for my very small master bathroom.

  • IgoRR 14 Jan, 2008

    whyyyyyy do they have to make doors with windows above them in holland???? *lol* ;)

  • SueVan 13 Jan, 2008

    Nice idea, but in earthquake country don't use glass containers. They break when they fall and are dangerous to the person who happens to be underneath the shelf when the earthquake hits.

  • actobin 12 Jan, 2008

    This is great! I live in a condo with limited storage space. I've been re designing my bathrrom and this is the tip I needed.

  • onetier 12 Jan, 2008

    My gosh this is the greatest idea ever! I just went around my entire condo looking for places I can add a shelf! Thanks!

  • crunchymama 12 Jan, 2008

    What a wonderful idea! We have limited cabinet space in our house, I am going to do this in our bathrooms. Thanks Martha!

  • TILU 12 Jan, 2008

    Love it!!! I can't wait to try it!

  • sheimari 12 Jan, 2008

    I love this idea. This way, it's out of your way and out of sight.

  • PookieG 11 Jan, 2008

    syvananda, I beleive the width of the shelf would depend on the width of your door. As far as depth, you only need 5-8 inches.

  • SHUMIRAI 11 Jan, 2008

    This is an excellent idea i was actually hating the house that i will be moving in end of next month because it is a bit small and has not a lot cardboards i look forward to put in place some of these great ideas.Thank you for the wonderful resourcr

  • syvananda 11 Jan, 2008

    I tihink that this idea is excellent. |Would you, please, indicate the width of the shelf. This information is lacking in many if not all of your ideas.

  • kickypants 10 Jan, 2008

    Not a great thing for storing breakables in the Earthquake some soft items would be a great idea.

  • sharonmanis 10 Jan, 2008

    I am going to use thhs one Imy whole house is only 950 sq. Ft. every inch is important.

  • Pansyplaid 10 Jan, 2008

    My husband has made several of these shelves in the past for me. The one he made me was for my kitchen window

  • margom 10 Jan, 2008

    My home is about 170 years old and we are renovating the bathroom. You can be guaranteed that I will use this idea suits the design of our home and a great idea for large items. Thanks for this.

  • araz 10 Jan, 2008

    What a great Idea! Can't believe I didn't think of it. I'm in the middle of reorganizing my bathroom so this came at the right time.

  • queenbee5 10 Jan, 2008

    This is a fabulous idea except for the fact that I'm only 5'2. I would need a ladder to get to the bottles or whatever I chose to put on the shelf.

  • Lynette Cardona 10 Jan, 2008

    Where I live, bathroom doors go all the way up to the cealing. However, this is a great idea.

  • magaka 10 Jan, 2008

    Love this idea! So great for those of us with the double wammy of small children AND small bathrooms! LOL

    As for the concern about the earthquakes, I would say that you could use tins, baskets with lids, even "photo boxes" or anything else that would be "pretty" and functionable! Think they were saying that the glass jars with unwrapped soaps would be unique and pretty too.

    I am off to go see how much room is above my door for my shelf!

  • happygrandmaz 10 Jan, 2008

    Great Idea Martha!!! Louise Visscher

  • elizabethmurphy 10 Jan, 2008

    I loved the idea especially with the coordinating colors used in the containers. Our family is vert tall, myself 6' 2" and I am not the tallest, so this would be yet another thing to dodge with our heads. Any one else- fabulous.

  • MaryLizSaenz 10 Jan, 2008

    I have the smallest bathroom and this one of the best ideas I have seen in a long, long. Leave it up to Martha to come up with something this clever. I am going to install this shelf this weekend. Genius!!! PS: I love your show!

  • joanniemac 10 Jan, 2008

    Living in Southern California, I would be leary of using this suggestion due to earthquake concerns - especially the glass containers which, if they didn't knock you on the head, might require that you walk barefoot over shards of glass to escape the bathroom during/after an earthquake.

    Also, if I was reaching up to get something down, it would be my bad luck to have someone open the door right into my face.

    This looks pretty but I think I would pass on this one.

  • BonillaMamasita 8 Jan, 2008

    love this! it's one of those why-didn't-i-think-of-it items. i have two small children and now i am able to keep neccesary items in the bathroom while still keeping it out of reach of the children. super clever

  • lita0701 2 Jan, 2008

    Great Idea! I live in a studio apartment and I need to utilize as much space as possible.