An Expert Explains The Best Ways To Organize Your Small Bathroom

A small bathroom can be problematic for many families, often lacking a significant amount of storage and not allowing enough room for more than one person to squeeze in each morning to get ready for the day. The ideal solution may be to add another bathroom to the home, which according to Fixr costs between $15,000 and $40,000 to do. That's often out of the price range of many property owners, though. Still, you may just want the bathroom to feel bigger.

The alternative, then, is to make the best use of your existing space. That sounds easy to do, but it can be a challenge, especially when you have a limited budget. Fortunately, Brenda Scott — owner and operator at Tidy My Space and professional home organizer — offers some excellent tips and strategies on how to best organize a small bathroom in an exclusive interview with House Digest. Putting some time into this process just once could help you to manifest the benefits you need, alleviating those frustrating moments.

Edit all items found in the bathroom

You cannot get started until you know what you are working with and get rid of items taking up space that no longer need to be there. "This includes the partially-full bottles of hair products that you don't use anymore, the items that didn't perform as expected, and the items that have expired," Brenda Scott states. "Cosmetics do have an expiration date, so check those closely. Once opened, most cosmetics and beauty products have a short shelf life." Work through everything in your bathroom like this and you may be surprised by how much you get to clear out.

Scott also recommends doing a bit of research on what you have in the bathroom. "Check online for product recommendations, and only keep what you use," she continues. Many people don't take this step because they feel it's wasteful and hope to use the product at some point in the future. Ditch it instead, says Scott. "Donate items to homeless or abused family shelters if they're opened and still usable," she adds. "Check with them first to see if they'll accept the donation."

Put like with like

With much less to work with typically, the next step is to organize what you have left in your small bathroom. "Group items together that are used together to make bathroom routines easier and faster," Brenda Scott shares. That's an important change for many people who typically group items all together in the same container or may organize them by what they are. 

This change means improving efficiency; you don't have to dig through all of your morning makeup products to find the skin care regimen that's at the bottom of a drawer for your nighttime routine. "I group my morning items in a drawer or basket and my evening items in another," Scott reveals. "This puts everything that I need together and reduces searching various spots for stuff." That also means less time spent in the bathroom, opening it up for someone else to use. It may make better use of the available space you have as well.

Buy the right storage solutions

Now that all of your items are grouped together in the way that you use them, you need to find a simple method to store those things that works for your needs. Looking around your small bathroom, this could be the area you're most concerned about mastering. Brenda Scott offers some recommendations. "Invest in storage solutions for under the sink," she explains. "Take measurements and always utilize the height and depth of the sink cabinet." In other words, it is not just a space for a single set of products but can be useful on multiple levels. "I recommend pull-out tiered shelving that secures to the base of the cabinet and pull-outs like drawers," Scott continues.

You may be able to find these solutions at your local home improvement store. Just be sure to take measurements of the space itself so you know there's ample room for the tracks these types of devices require to move shelving in and out of the space.

Reduce clutter

Small bathrooms often lack enough floor space as well, so you may not have a lot of options when it comes to adding items like trash cans or laundry baskets. Brenda Scott has a simple solution to save some space, and that's just to remove the clutter and look for new ways to use your the storage you have. "I also suggest securing a garbage bin to the inside back of the cabinet door," she notes. "This frees up floor space and reduces visual clutter."

There are other ways to save on floor space (as well as counter space) as well. "Hang an over-the-door basket for hair dryers and flat irons," Scott adds. By utilizing more of the vertical space within the bathroom, you gain better use of every available area. It also makes it far easier for you to manage finding things. Remember, though, keep the amount of items stored in your bathroom to a minimum to make it more efficient overall.

Make good use of wall space

Look around your small bathroom to pinpoint those areas that could offer some additional storage options that you haven't thought about before. "Even small bathrooms have wall space that make the perfect spot for shelving or another cabinet," Brenda Scott points out. Positioning a few wall shelves is a rather simple process, especially if you have practical needs for them, such as a space for the items in baskets. Consider shelving in any portion of the bathroom like this. As long as it is out of the way of your arms and you don't hit your head on it, shelves make a very good added storage option.

Look for alternative options, too. "Over-the-toilet systems utilize the often neglected space behind the toilet," Scott continues. "Instead of just hanging artwork, use it for more storage." You can purchase a range of these systems at many retailers, but be sure to check their dimensions to ensure there's enough space in your bathroom.

Utilize the bathroom door

Here's an area that many people don't think about very often that could become your go-to place for getting towels, robes, and even clothes off the ground. "Bathroom doors are another space that often gets forgotten," Brenda Scott shares. If you don't have anything hanging on the back of your door, take a minute to consider how much space there is in this area by opening the door all the way. If there's room, you can choose a few different options for this area.

As for specific items, Scott has a few recommendations. "Over-the-door coat hooks or over-the-door organizing shelving takes this from a wasted flat surface to a well used organizing system," she adds. The more items you can find a home for in the bathroom, the more efficient the space becomes and the less visually overwhelming it can be. Small bathroom tricks like these are well worth the time it takes to put them into place.