Photography: Chelsea Cavanaugh1 of 18
These bathroom organization ideas will help you keep your towels, toilet paper, and toiletries in order. Make the most of those small spaces with these easy tips!
Hanging Wire Crate
To keep a counterless bathroom’s most valuable real estate -- the rim of a pedestal sink -- looking clean, raise your gaze. We used suction hooks to stick a wire organizer directly onto the wall above. Clip-on name tags keep supplies separated, and the open-grid frame ensures that toothbrush handles stay dry and goop-free.
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Medicine Cabinet Organizer
Combs, brushes, and toothpaste take up considerable space when laid horizontally on a shelf. Flat-backed, self-adhesive cups on the inside of the cabinet door hold them more efficiently. Before pressing the cups in place, line them up between the shelves. To ensure the door can close, put thin items on the shelves in the spots where the cups will take up some space.
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Bathroom drawers are second only to junk drawers in their potential for messiness. It's too easy to toss grooming products in there pell-mell. Wooden boxes and trays help categorize the items and are available in various sizes and materials, so they can be mixed and matched to fit any sort of drawer.
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Clear off bathroom countertops by storing toiletries in a hanging organizer. To make one, just stitch a few seams in a hand towel.
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Keep the bathroom tidy by hanging towels from the rungs of a progressive or apple-picking ladder propped against a wall. Or use a towel ladder on a porch for beach towels, so sand isn't brought indoors. To prevent the ladder from slipping, attach rubber tips made for chair legs to the ladder's feet. You can also secure the top of the ladder to the wall with hooks and eyes.
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Uniform plastic bottles not only look better than the usual shampoo and soap containers, but they also fit more neatly in storage devices, such as the hanging wire basket installed in this shower stall. It's always helpful to identify bottles with laminated labels, adding either the names of family members who prefer their own products or else listing the contents of the containers.
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Sometimes you have to think behind the box. This medicine cabinet became more efficient after a sheet of precut galvanized steel was affixed to its interior with construction adhesive. Magnetic hooks now hold scissors and a mirror, and small plastic cups with magnetic bottoms corral small necessities, such as rubber bands and hair clips.
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If you can, choose cabinets that offer separate spaces -- preferably one for each person who uses the bathroom. In this refurbished antique, the bottom drawer contains the kids' bath toys, while the top one holds mom's hair-care essentials, plus a first-aid kit. A lazy susan makes accessing toiletries, stored in pretty clear containers, a snap.
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Central bathroom cabinets can be fitted with roll-out wire trays, the kind used in kitchens. One contains a first-aid kit and miscellaneous toiletries. A pair of hooks fastened to the inside of the door hold a hair dryer and a flat iron. In the adjacent cabinet, a second sliding track holds the bathroom's trash can.
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Handy Hair Dryer
For a guest bath, mount a streamlined hair-dryer unit to the wall beside the sink. You can find them online through suppliers of hotel accessories.
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Photography: Gentl and Hyers11 of 18
Soap in a Sponge
Put soap shards and leftover hotel soap bars to good use. Use a utility knife to slice into the center of a natural sea sponge. Then insert soap and lather up. Every last bubble will be surrendered. The soap will stay in place as it shrinks, adhering to the fibers of the sponge.
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Vintage Planter Shelves
Vintage planters are a playful spin on more traditional bathroom accessories. Displayed on a metal-and-glass table, they hold bottles of shampoo and liquid soap, sponges, bar soap, and hand towels. Tuck a new toothbrush, soap, and a washcloth into a planter and put it in the bathroom cupboard -- you'll have the perfect guest package ready at a moment's notice.
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Stow spare rolls of toilet paper in a clear glass vase or umbrella stand; it's a sleek way of stacking them, and you'll know at a glance when you need to refill the supply.
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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.
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A wooden flea-market cupboard makes a great towel cabinet. Use the top of the cabinet for extra storage. Keep your regular supply in the glass-fronted cabinet. Having all towels visible makes it easy to keep track of your inventory. Open shelves on the sides hold glass jars full of cotton balls and soaps.
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Vertical Towel Rack
Walls in bathrooms are often underutilized. To make towels and washcloths handy for bathers, install a hotel-style multitiered rack on the wall next to the tub.
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Bathrooms require frequent cleanings, so keep a plastic bin with all the necessary supplies in the largest cabinet. You should also store a season's worth of toilet paper in the cabinet, so guests never have to make an awkward request for more.
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An extra seat in the bathroom is always welcome, even though moist conditions may limit appropriate options. Try draping a wooden folding chair with a thick cotton-terry slipcover, and suddenly you have an inviting perch for a manicure, a blow-dry, or bathroom accessories.