How to Organize a Small Bathroom

6 simple tips for maximizing storage when you have minimal space

small bathroom with under the sink cabinet and large round mirror above sink Photo: Getty Images

In a small bathroom, you’re likely working with a cupboard under the sink or a medicine cabinet behind the mirror—if you’re lucky to have any storage at all.

To maximize a tight space, only keep on hand what you use in the bathroom on the regular. You know, stuff to clean, dry, primp, powder your nose, medicate, and of course, bathe.

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“The stuff you use every day should be accessible,” says Kelly Beutler, owner of The Joyful Sort in Columbus, Ohio. “These items should be kept in easy-to-reach places, such as the front of your undersink cabinet or at the top of a bathroom caddy.”

Jamie Hord, owner of Horderly Professional Organizing in New York, NY, calls these “active items,” and suggests storing any duplicate products in an outside closet or cabinet to clear up clutter.

Here, quick tips for keeping a small bathroom functional, organized, and looking good.

1. Prioritize the Prime Real Estate

Reserve eye-level medicine cabinets or undersink drawers for mouth-care products and other items that are part of your morning and nighttime routine, Hord says. Ultimately, keep anything that you need frequently in the easiest-to-reach spots. Items you use every so often (perfumes and colognes, nail polish removers, medications) can go in harder-to-reach places.

2. Sort Items by Category

“In bathrooms in particular, people just toss everything into their undersink cabinet,” Beutler says. She recommends subdividing any cabinet space with bins and trays for smaller products, such as makeup, feminine hygiene products, or shaving supplies.

3. For Organizing Containers, Use Glass or Acrylic

“A few of our favorite bathroom products are acrylic drawers to maximize under the sink, drawer organizers to create structure in your drawers and containment in your medicine cabinet, and jars to keep often-used items on your counter neat and tidy,” Hord says. These let you easily see what you have and are also easy to wipe down and keep clean.

4. Consider a Bidet Seat

Consumer Reports recently conducted a study with more than two dozen owners of bidet seats who gave us feedback about their, ahem, experience. A common response was that the bidet greatly reduced or even eliminated the need for toilet paper. One respondent said the bidet gave them “less toilet paper anxiety.” And if you require less TP, that’s one thing you don’t need to stock up on and store.

5. Ventilation Is Key

But, admittedly, proper bathroom ventilation in a small space can be tough. To avoid mold and mildew growth, leave the air vent on, crack open a window, and/or leave the door open to let the steam dissipate. Regularly wash both the shower curtain and the curtain liner, at least every 1 to 3 months. Try to avoid keeping anything metal (think shaving cans, canisters, or razors) in your shower, otherwise you could wind up with rust stains.

6. Get the Rest Outta There

You might want a spare roll or two of toilet paper and an extra bottle of hand soap handy, but keep other duplicates, like extra shampoo or spare towels, contained (and labeled, if it’s a toiletry) in a closet. Bathroom cleaning supplies can go under the kitchen sink or wherever you keep general cleaning products.