Six Easy Ways to Organize Your Bathroom Vanity or Medicine Cabinet
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.
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The first thing to go should be out-of-date medications.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."
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."
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).