Whether your bathroom is big or small, bathroom organization is key to making the space functional and pleasant.
When organizing this area of your home functionality and convenience are the main considerations since you're working in a small and confined space.
To make this space work for you think of it in zones, and organize each zone for maximum efficiency.
Below are the steps to take for this challenge:
Are you new here? The Bathroom Organization Challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).
Please note, for those of you that have more than one bathroom in your home, try to get them all organized this week during the challenge, but you can come back to this challenge later if you can't finish them all at once.
Just work on one bathroom at a time, so not everything is out of order in all these areas at once.
The first step in the Bathroom Organization Challenge is to declutter the room, removing things you don't want or need in there anymore.
Prime items for decluttering that you may find in this room include:
(You can look at the full list of 15 minute decluttering missions that relate to this room of your house here.)
Since your bathroom is a confined space you've got to have enough space for everything you want stored in there. After you declutter you may identify additional items that should stay in your home, but you don't have enough room to hold inside the room anymore.
This can be especially true, for example, if you've stockpiled products with couponing. You may just want to keep products you are currently using in the bathroom, and to store the excess of your stockpile elsewhere.
You and/or your family members need to accomplish several separate but important tasks in your bathroom. To make sure you can do so easily it is best to first mentally separate your bathroom into zones, thinking about what functions need to be accomplished in each of them, and what supplies you'll need to accomplish the task.
Each zone should have all of the items needed for you to perform that function within easy reach. Here are the typical zones you should consider:
Of course, what zones are in your bathroom will be dependent upon who uses it, and for what exact functions. Therefore, for each of these rooms in your home think about which family members (or guests) may use it, and what they'd need in it.
There are two things which are common in many bathrooms, however, that I don't think should be in there. The first is your medicine.
We'll be discussing organizing your medicines in more detail in next week challenge, but suffice it to say now that many medicines don't do well in the high heat and humidity your bathroom is often exposed to. That means there should be a better place to store these items.
Similarly, many people have a hamper in this room for their dirty clothes. While it makes sense to drop your clothes in a hamper when you take them off for your bath or shower, again, the humidtity can cause mildew problems with clothing in this environment. Therefore, I suggest removing the laundry hamper and making more room for something else in its place instead. (We'll be discussing where to place laundry baskets around your home in Week 24 of the Challenge.)
When thinking of each zone, stand in front of the zone and hold out your arms. The space around your arms, that you can easily reach, is the most ideal place to store items you'll use within the zone.
For the most convenient bathroom organization keep like items together, and all of the items which are supposed to be used at the same time in the same general location.
Sometimes you can't get everything to fit the way you like, but keep it the above ideas in mind as a goal, at the least, and do the best you can.
We all know the function of your shower and tub, but often what happens is that we overload this area with way too much stuff. That is where decluttering can come in handy. You really don't need six types of shampoo available each time you take a shower, especially if you just use one kind anyway, and the others just sit there unused.
To organize everyone's supplies a shower or bathtub caddy or organizer can work well, such as the one pictured to the right from 3M (you can click on any of these pictures for purchasing information). Try not to have more supplies than can reasonably fit in the caddy you are using.
Depending on the number of people who must use the shower it may be better for bathroom organization that each person brings their supplies into the bathroom for use and them removes them back to another area in the home afterward.
If you use a wash cloth in the tub, consider adding a hook for it to hang on.
Bath toys can be another big issue, especially if you've got small children. To the left is my favorite suggested bath toy organizer, since it sticks well to the wall of your shower/tub and drains easily to keep your toys from developing yucky mold and mildew.
Whatever you do with your bath toys though, keep in mind not to get too many of them. They'll only be used for a couple of years and too many can get dirty and yucky really fast, and you don't want kids putting them in their mouths at that point anyway.
One of the most visual parts of the bathroom organization process is organizing your sink top and vanity.
Your sink is one of the most used areas in your bathroom, so take careful thought of how to best use the space around it when doing this week's Challenge.
Most sinks don't have a lot of space to sit things on top, and even if they do having too many things out can make it look cluttered and messy (as well as make it harder to clean the surface regularly).
Therefore, I suggest only having the items out on your sink that you use daily. If you use something less often than that, put it in a drawer or under a cabinet instead.
One of the habits you'll be trying to develop, starting this week, is to keep your bathroom sink and countertop clear, much like the clear kitchen counters we worked on in the first challenge. You'll be amazed how much better the room will look, on a regular basis, if you can put things away after you use them instead of having them laying on top of the sink and counter all the time.
If you do want to keep things out on your sink and counter that you use daily (which is perfectly acceptable), it visually looks much better to have them contained in an organizer or basket (such as the one pictured above) so you still have lots of free clear space.
When organizing the toilet zone, as part of the Bathroom Organization Challenge, make sure you have everything handy that you need when using this area, including such things as extra rolls of toilet paper, feminine products, and perhaps even some light reading material.
In addition, when considering this zone don't forget about all the space you've got around your toilet, both on top of the tank itself, and on the sides of this item.
There are several types of organizers available either for the sides of the toilet, or for over the tank, that you can use to store these items or use the otherwise unused wall space above your toilet.
One thing to consider with over the tank toilet storage solutions is that you may, from time to time, need to get into your toilet tank, such as for maintenance or cleaning of the toilet. Make sure you get something you don't mind moving around, if needed, or make sure there is enough clearance to still get in the toilet tank if needed.
A skinny set of drawers that can go between the toilet and sink can also add lots of storage space to an otherwise underutilized area too.
Many bathrooms, especially small ones, can scream for additional storage space. Don't forget to utilize the backs of doors, where you can place some type of over the door organizer, such as to hang towels, or hold bath items.
Similarly, walls can also be a great way to increase space in your bathroom. You can purchase both narrow shelves and cabinets that can be mounted on a wall, or more specialized organizers, such as this hair dryer holder on the right, to hold items you use regularly.
As I've already said, I would suggest storing your medicines somewhere other than your bathroom. However, if you've got a medicine cabinet it doesn't have to go to waste. Instead, use that wall space to hold personal care items, keeping them off your more limited sink top space.
As part of the Bathroom Organization Challenge you'll also want to organize your bathroom cabinets, shelves and drawers. If you don't want your items seen, cabinets are a better way to organize than shelves since you can always close the door.
Shelves, on the other hand, are often open for public viewing which may be fine for your towels and hand cloths, but maybe not so much for your more personal items.
To help you organize under your bathroom cabinets, think more about easy access. You can make these cabinets a great place to store items, as long as everything doesn't spill out when you grab one thing.
Consider adding shelves or sliding drawers under your cabinets so you can reach what you want easily.
If you decide to store some cleaning supplies or other more dangerous items under your bathroom sink, make sure to add safety latches to the cabinets to make sure children and pets cannot get into areas they shouldn't.
Further, don't forget about drawer dividers (such as the ones shown above) which are as useful in the bathroom as they are in the kitchen.
Ideally, you'll have a drawer, cabinet or shelf, or at least part of a drawer, cabinet or shelf devoted to each specific function in your bathroom. That can help you organize your zones, and keep all items used together in one place so they are easy to access and then return when the task is done.
Further, you can label the inside of your cabinets and drawers with the type of item they should hold to help you keep your bathroom organization project from becoming undone as easily when others also use the room for their own needs.
When considering how to organize and store your towels, you've got to consider both fresh towels that are available for use, and also how to store wet ones that can be used again.
Don't forget about simple solutions like towel bars and hooks, as well as the ability to roll towels to place in a basket, such as on the vanity.
We'll discuss this topic further, when we deal with organizing linen closets in week #37 of the Challenge.
Finally, when doing the Bathroom Organization Challenge don't forget to make a space for both a small wastebasket in your bathroom, along with a small recycling bin, like I suggested in the Create A Home Recycling Center Challenge.
The bathroom is a large generator of both trash and recyclables, so make sure you have space in there for both types of items when rearranging and organizing things from the very beginning.
I've mentioned several bathroom storage solutions you can use while doing the Bathroom Organization Challenge in your home above, and there are frankly too many to mention them all here.
However, just keep in mind that anything you choose to use in this room of your home should be sturdy, and able to withstand changes in heat and humidity without ruining. (If you want to stick things to the wall with a hook, I suggest Command Hooks from 3M, see below, that are made for the bathroom since they're designed for hot humid environments).
You can be as creative as you want with your storage solutions, and it is great when something you choose can both help you organize and be decorative at the same time, since there is not always a lot of extra room in the bathroom.
Here are some additional ideas to consider, from ways to hold toilet paper, extra towels, utilize wall or door space, and otherwise accomplish the task of bathroom organization.
I would love to know how this week's Bathroom Organization Challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've organized these essential room(s) in the comments.
I also love before and after pictures of your bathroom organization projects, and would love to see some of yours. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and blog posts and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!
We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the Bathroom Organization Challenge this week. However, I know some of you love to know what's coming next, so I'll tell you. Next week we'll be organizing our medicines and first aid supplies for our families.
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