Putting everything in its own place will make your mornings smoother.

By Nancy Mattia
December 12, 2019
Getty / Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

Cleaning out a messy cabinet feels good—it makes life a little more orderly (and that much more manageable). In your bathroom, whether you have a standard medicine cabinet or a vanity with drawers that flank the sink, organizing your supplies—from towels to beauty products—is well worth your time and effort. Here's what you need to know to get the job done.

Related: Smart Space-Saving Bathroom Storage Ideas

Remove everything from the cabinet.

Before you can organize anything, you need to declutter, so go ahead and empty the entire cabinet to see what you're working with (and, most importantly, what you absolutely need to keep). Bring a small a folding table into the bathroom for this part of the process; lining up products beats tossing them on the floor.

Group like items.

"While you are removing the items from the cabinet, begin to group similar things, such as makeup, first aid, adult medication, children's medications, and tools like tweezers and clippers," suggests Jeffrey Phillip, a professional organizer in New York City.

Throw out anything that has expired.

The first thing to go should be out-of-date medications. But don't flush those pills and liquids down the toilet—they could end up in the water supply. Instead, empty them into a large zippered plastic bag filled with kitty litter or dirt, and throw it out with your regular trash. Next, check expiration dates on everything else, from makeup and ointments to sunscreen. "Even though they don't all specify an expiration date, everything has a limited shelf life," says Phillip. Keep track of future purchases by writing the date you open them right on the item with a fine-tip Sharpie (keep it in the bathroom so it's always handy).

Restock if necessary.

After cleaning the cabinet inside and out, start putting the items you're keeping back inside, maintaining their respective groups. "Start with big categories such as medicine and makeup," says Phillip. "If possible, break down those categories into smaller ones, such as everyday makeup versus makeup that is used occasionally."

Use trays.

Small trays are very helpful in keeping cabinets organized, says Philip. "They also allow you to take out one whole grouping at a time." A tray holding a few bottles, for example, keeps your countertop looking neat in a way that random bottles (strewn everywhere) never could. Phillip also recommends additional storage workhorses, like lazy Susans, for the bathroom. "They make it very easy to be able to access items in the cabinet without digging to the back."

Get creative.

Searching for a creative way to group your metal tools? If you install an adhesive magnetic strip on the inside door of the medicine cabinet, it can hold small must-haves like tweezers, scissors, and nail clippers (just think of how much space you'll be saving on the shelves).

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Comments (2)

grayhoodred
January 5, 2020
Per the FDA: Medicine take back options are the best way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded or expired prescription and over the counter medicines. Note that there are a few, select medicines with specific instructions to immediately flush down the toilet only if a drug take back option is not readily available. There are generally two kinds of take back options: Permanent collection locations and sites Find a drop off location near you: via DEA via Google MapsExternal Link Disclaimer (mobile-friendly) Periodic events Before disposing of prescription medicines using a drug take back option, be sure to remove all personal information on the label of pill bottles or medicine packaging. Do note that all medicines dropped off at these locations will be destroyed and discarded. If you are interested in donating your medication, use this online resourceExternal Link Disclaimer to determine whether pharmaceutical donation and reuse programs exist in your state.
grayhoodred
January 5, 2020
Per the FDA: Medicine take back options are the best way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded or expired prescription and over the counter medicines. Note that there are a few, select medicines with specific instructions to immediately flush down the toilet only if a drug take back option is not readily available. There are generally two kinds of take back options: Permanent collection locations and sites Find a drop off location near you: via DEA via Google MapsExternal Link Disclaimer (mobile-friendly) Periodic events Before disposing of prescription medicines using a drug take back option, be sure to remove all personal information on the label of pill bottles or medicine packaging. Do note that all medicines dropped off at these locations will be destroyed and discarded. If you are interested in donating your medication, use this online resourceExternal Link Disclaimer to determine whether pharmaceutical donation and reuse programs exist in your state.