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How to Organize Bathroom Cabinets

The bathroom is one of the most frequently used spaces in our home; get your bathroom cabinets organized with these ideas and tips and make your daily routine that much more efficient.

The bathroom…

One of the most highly used spaces in our homes, but one that can often become overlooked when it comes to organization. It’s also a space that often presents the greatest challenge, as many bathrooms do not have as much storage as we would like them to have. So today I’m sharing my ideas and tips for how to organize your bathroom cabinets to maximize not only storage but efficiency and function as well.

bathroom with white vanity and round mirror

We have three bathrooms in our house; one ensuite, one main bathroom upstairs, and then a powder room that is located just off the foyer. Although they are a decent size, the only storage space that we really have in them is within the vanity cabinets. There are no extra closets or additional storage, unless you count the decorative shelves that I recessed into an alcove in our ensuite. As with the other spaces in our home, I just kind of put everything away quickly when we moved in and the bathroom vanity cabinets were not organized with any kind of rhyme or reason.

Things were randomly dropped into drawers without really focusing on grouping items together in a way that made sense. We also had a LOT of toiletries that were really never used or out of date. I originally located all of the first aid and some of the medicine in the powder room vanity because I couldn’t really fit it properly into our ensuite, but even that wasn’t organized in a sensical manner. So… these rooms were definitely overdue for a good purge and reorganization.

bathroom with wood vanity and gold mirror

This article is part of my Ten Week Organizing Challenge, and I’m currently sharing Week 4: Bathrooms. I tackled this challenge originally back in 2017, but we’ve moved houses a few times since then. Now that we are settled more permanently in the house we recently built from scratch, it was time to get all of our ‘things’ in order once again. So far I’ve tackled our paperwork and setup a family command center, I dealt with purging and organizing our kitchen, and also organized our laundry room and setup a functional family entryway mudroom.

During the last go-around that I shared this challenge, I wrote an article about  how to completely  organize your bathroom. I did a partial version of the challenge again in 2020, but didn’t complete it all because COVID hit and we ended up finishing our renovation quickly in order to sell that house (and begin the building process on this one). During the 2020 round, I wrote this article on how to organize a bathroom even without much storage space, as the bathrooms in our last house (the “Forest” House had a fairly small amount of vanity storage.  I’ve also shared a related article in the past that might be of interest to you:  Ingenious Ideas & DIYs for Bathroom Storage & Organization!

As far as tackling this year’s version of the Ten Week Organizing Challenge; here is how our ensuite was looking when I started this week…

white bathroom vanity in ensuite

mess on bathroom counter

There was regularly a smattering of random items on our countertop, but you couldn’t really tell the depth of how disorganized it was until you opened the drawers and cupboards.

We have one area where I added some shelves in a recessed alcove, but these are mainly decorative. We store some towels on them, and the extra toilet paper lives in a big basket under the shelves, which frees up space in our vanity.

wood shelves in recessed alcove of bathroom

As I mentioned, some of the first aid/medicines/sunscreen etc. was all stored in our powder room instead of our ensuite or main bathroom. It had all been thrown into our small powder room vanity in a pretty haphazard manner, as well…

 

messy bathroom vanity drawer

I took EVERYTHING out of the cabinets in the powder room, and brought it all over to the ensuite so that I could sort and organize everything in one go. The boy’s main bathroom upstairs really only had a few items that they use in the vanity, so I didn’t need to bring those items into the mix.

I placed everything from the powder room vanity in a laundry basket and hauled it over to the ensuite…

laundry basket full of bathroom items and toiletries

Where I also completely unloaded the entire vanity and placed everything on the floor around me.

bathroom floor covered in all the toiletries and items from the vanity

From there is was time to purge, sort, categorize, and organize it all into groupings that made sense.

The step-by-step organizing strategy that I used, and my best tips for organizing bathroom cabinets are:

  1. Take everything out of your cabinets and drawers.
  2. Purge anything out of date or that you don’t use.
  3. Sort all items into logical categories (e.g. toothbrushing supplies, hair products, creams and lotions, nail care, cleaning supplies, medicines, first aid, makeup, daily use items – perhaps sorted by person, as well as overflow/extra items (when you Costco shop).
  4. Based on how much of each category you have and how often you use the items, assess where it would be best to store it in the vanity.
  5. Find baskets or bins to sort the grouped items into. I owned some already, but picked the new blue bins that are now in our drawers and on the lower shelf under the sink at the Dollar Tree. Make sure to measure your space for correct sizing and bring a tape measure with you to the store if you are buying bins.
  6. Sort all items into appropriately sized bins based on category and put them back in the cabinet. Think about how much you use the items when deciding your placement – items you use daily should be very easily accessible, and items you use less often (or are storing for later) can be placed more inconveniently at the back of the cupboards.

Tip 1: Sort items by logical categories and group together in bins or baskets

Before, our under the sink cabinet was a big mash up of randomness. I had a few bins, but they had become disorganized with the passing of time, and the categories overlapped/didn’t make sense anymore.

I sorted it so that all overflow/extra items (from our Costco shopping) are located on the left, with the two main cleaning supplies we keep in there in front of it. I then have a basket with first aid supplies in the center, followed by a basket full of haircare items (dryer, straightener, curling irons etc.).

On the lower shelf, I have three plastic bins at the back of the cabinet with (1)haircare (2)contact lense related items and (3) creams and lotions. In front of those I have smaller baskets with (1) feminine care products (2) nail care items (3)razors/loofahs.

before and after bathroom cabinet organization cabinet under sink

Tip 2: Clean as you go

Wipe out your drawers, shelves, and organizers as you are taking everything out so that you are starting with both a clean and organized fresh slate. I kept all toothbrush related supplies together, but reorganized the smaller plastic bins I used, and cleaned everything as I went. I also threw out old toothbrushes/heads etc. that were still floating around in the drawer for some reason. Extra toothpaste was taken out of it’s boxes and tucked behind the plastic dividers, which both keeps them in place and makes it easy to access them when the time comes.

before and after bathroom cabinet organization toothbrush drawer

Tip 3: Sort things based on the person who uses them

I designated one drawer for my husband’s items, and I somehow managed to score three drawers to myself. I can’t help it, I just have a lot more stuff than him when it comes to toiletries and cosmetics. But it makes sense to group items in a basket based on the person who uses the items, so they always know where to go to find their things.

My husband’s drawer…

before and after bathroom cabinet organization men's toiletries

My drawers…

The top drawer has quite low depth so I used the small plastic organizers and placed my most frequently accessed items in it. Contacts, daily makeup, hair supplies, and my glasses.

before and after bathroom cabinet organization women's toiletries

In the next drawer down, I sorted items into the two blue baskets, based on face care and ‘other’ items that I use regularly.

before and after bathroom cabinet organization women's toiletries

The bottom drawer contains makeup and cosmetic related items that I use less frequently and don’t need to access everyday, as I have to reach down to the bottom of the vanity to get them.

before and after bathroom cabinet organization makeup

Tip 4: Sort items into smaller bins to keep them tidier within drawers

The last drawer was used to store our medical related items and medicines. I have had people recommend to me before to keep medicines in the kitchen in order to avoid the steamy environment of a shower/bathroom but we have never had a problem so I keep them in the lowest drawer of our vanity.

I organized the two bins based on kinds of medicine. Housing things in bins just keeps them that much tidier and allows items to stand up, instead of just falling down and rolling around the drawer, recreating the disaster that we had before. It also makes it much easier to quickly find what you need, which is kind of the whole point of getting organized, right?!

before and after bathroom cabinet organization medicine

I hope these tips helped!

I managed to fit everything that was in our powder room into our ensuite vanity instead, so now all of our key bathroom related items are housed in one space. This makes it easier to find what we need; which is, again, the whole point of getting organized!

I’ve gathered a few bathroom related storage items that would work great inside cabinets, in case you are looking for more ideas for sorting and storing your bathroom items in logical categories:

Want to remember this? PIN it for later!

bathroom vanity closeup with sink

 

So far in this year’s updated version of the challenge, I’ve shared:

 

Want this in an easy to digest e-book form? You can learn more about that here!

You can see all of the posts related to my original take on this Ten Week Organizing Challenge by visiting my challenge Intro article here.  

AND…the first time I tackled this challenge back in 2017, I shared these posts for Week Four (Bathrooms):

Week Four: Bathrooms

How to Completely  Organize Your Bathroom

Bathroom (updated challenge in 2020)

Inspiration Articles:

 Ingenious Ideas & DIYs for Bathroom Storage & Organization

 

Each week over the course of this challenge, I’m going to be sharing my process of working through this challenge in our new home with updated tricks, tips, and organizing systems. If you want to follow along with my new version of the challenge, sign-up below for my new email list! Ten Week Organizing Challenge 2022.

 

 

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One Comment

  1. When I saw your bathroom with everything on the floor. It made me laugh. I thought I am not the only one who does this style of sorting . Everything looks great.

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