On most days, the morning rush begins as soon as you wake up. Make it a little less hectic by creating a serene, clutter-free zone in the bathroom, so you can get ready in the morning calmly and efficiently. A few clever storage solutions and design ideas can help tame towels, corral shampoos and conditioners, and clear away any disarray.
“Purge first. It’s a lot easier to organize when you have less to work with,” says Donna Smallin, author of “Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness.”
That means weeding out expired makeup and beauty products, and getting rid of duplicates. In fact, you should be doing this once a month, says storage expert Jennifer Jones, who runs the website iHeart Organizing. “If there’s no expiration date on a bottle, mark the date of purchase,” she says. As for bath towels, you really need only two for each member of the household — this allows one to be in rotation while the other’s being laundered.
After you declutter, arrange what’s left, “placing the products used most frequently on the shelves that are easiest to access,” says Jones. If you’re lacking storage opportunities, utilize vertical space (think wall cabinets and over-the-door shelves). Jones also suggests bringing in furniture pieces intended for other rooms. “Bookshelves, for instance, are narrow and work behind many bathroom doors.”
For storage-challenged bathrooms, consider bringing in a bar cart. It’s a stylish option with a modest footprint. Plus, its wheels make it easy to move out of the way when you want to clean the floor.
1. Hang a hand towel. The handlebar on a bar cart is the ideal place for hanging a hand towel. Smallin recommends having a clean backup at the ready for guests.
2. Use an S hook. It’s difficult to find a natural home for the hair dryer, with its awkward shape and unwieldy cord. An S hook solves the conundrum, making it easy to hang up the dryer when you’re done (many models have a loop). If you have space constraints, consider one with a retractable cord.
3. Organize with trays. Store only items you use every day on the top shelf of the cart, and sort with trays (e.g., your eye makeup on one tray, your skin-care products on another). Stand makeup brushes, eye pencils and other tools in a cup.
4. Rein in the washcloths. While bath towels should be kept to a maximum of two per person, you’ll probably want more hand towels and washcloths. Put extras close to the sink, in bins on the lower shelf of the barcart — out of the way but easily accessible.
Parker Midcentury bar cart, $349, westelm.com. Paint (on bar cart), in HC-38, $25 for 1 qt., benjaminmoore.com. Skin-care products, Mariobadescu.com.
BASKETS ARE BETTER IF YOU CAN STACK THEM
Assign a basket to each category of toiletries. It’s an easy way to keep track of them. If you want to be able to see exactly what’s inside, consider clear plastic shoe boxes, says Smallin. “I like to put first-aid stuff in one, extra dental-care stuff in another.”
Sedona lidded rectangular tote, $25, crateandbarrel.com.
TAKE A TURNTABLE FOR A SPIN
That bottle of sunburn-soothing aloe you need only seasonally is likely sitting on a shelf in the back — way back. With a turntable, you can easily grab it. “Lazy Susans are one of my favorite organizational tools,” says Smallin. “They’re great for high and deep shelves.”
ACRYLIC LINERS MAKE CLEANUP EASY
Between lotions, potions and other spill-prone liquids, bathroom shelves can get dirty fast. Line each shelf with easy-to-clean cut-to-size sheets of Plexiglas. Another good idea for your shelves: a container of DampRid, which absorbs moisture in the air.
IT’S EASY TO GET THE HANG OF IT
“When it comes to bath towels, hooks are better than towel rods,” Jones says. Harried grown-ups and forgetful kids alike are more likely to hang up their towels if they don’t have to fold them first. Hooks also happen to be great space savers.
THIS IS A STICKUP
Store odds and ends, like bobby pins, safety pins and hair ties, in containers that cling to a wall-mounted magnetic strip. This one is on the back of a closet shelf, but you could also install one on the back of a door or on the inside of a medicine cabinet.
See & Store containers and strip, $13, containerstore.com.
GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES
Buying toiletries in bulk is a bargain. Problem is, that usually translates into unattractive oversize bottles. Decant shampoos, conditioners and shower gels into stylish smaller containers instead for a sleek-looking bath area.
THINK INSIDE THE BOX
Those things you don’t want out in the open? Stash them in attractive containers.
Dirty laundry: Always opt for a lidless laundry hamper, says Jones. The easier it is to put clothes into, the more likely it’ll actually get used.
Toilet paper: Put extra toilet paper into a pretty 15-by-10¼-inch bin, which tidily holds six rolls.
Cleaning supplies: Not sure what to do with those bottles of cleaning products you have on hand for quick wipe-downs? Stow them in a lidded container, and place it under the sink.
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