The vanity is a valuable piece of real estate in your bathroom housing those everyday items from skincare products to oral-care items to haircare tools… and many times more.
And this brings me to the purpose of this post.
During our time together with this post, you'll learn a new approach to and tips for best utilizing and organizing your bathroom vanity for saving time during the morning rush, as well as money in knowing what you already have. You’ll discover how to repurpose (FREE) common items found in your home for organizing those quick-grab items. And we'll go a little beyond the vanity when discussing inventory overflow and storage of items you actually use.
Bathrooms differ not only in size and storage but in designated users. For example, my one bathroom apartment served as my primary bathroom, as well as a powder room for my guests.
Hopefully, my simple approach and tips help set you up to save time and money at the start of each day.
Estimated Time to Complete
Once you have the items needed... and depending on the amount lotions, potions, and stuff in your bathroom… allow yourself the full 1 hour on this one.
If you have lots of stuff, you may want to allot 1 hour to take on facial skincare, makeup, and oral hygiene items... with an additional half hour later for say everything hair and haircare.
Level of Difficulty
From FREE to nominal using the cost-saving links provided in this post.
As you progress through the upcoming instructions, you'll more clearly define your personal storage needs based on the items you use on a daily (and sometimes weekly) basis, as well as your extra inventory of these items. Thus, this will dictate the items you need.
* When you buy something using affiliate links from this posts, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Note: We only establish affiliate relationships and recommend products and services that we would actually use.
For now, I want you pull items you already have that you may not have considered using for organizing and storage. (And I provided convenient links if you don't have them.) Here are some suggestions:
And check your kitchen cabinets for infrequently used items with storage potential such as
And check your car for
Designate Who Uses the Bathroom
The most important ten seconds in the planning process as it impacts how you use the space. Is the bathroom part of a private ensuite? Or is it a general bathroom used by multiple residents like children or roommates? Will guests or visitors have access to this bathroom?
Although my private bathroom is part of an ensuite used solely by me, this post offers practical tips for shared bathrooms. And having lived in a one bedroom/ one bathroom apartment for years… I also share how to make that primary and only bathroom function as a comfortable powder room for guests… while maintaining your privacy.
Think outside the boundaries of the bathroom for overflow storage
Yes, I said it! It’s more than okay to have a stash of the hygiene, skin care, and hair care products you actually use. Remember, our goal is to save you valuable time, pairing down to what is actually used during the morning rush or evening wind down. After all, you don’t need all 4 tubes of toothpaste at once in your vanity.
For many, the bathroom is not necessary a room known for its extra storage. So let’s ponder this now. I want you to consider all of your storage options within your bathroom... as well as in other rooms. This includes a bathroom linen closet, a walk-in closet, under your bed, a closet in another room. Look for not only shelving options but usable stackable space on the floor of a closet. Knowing this dictates your true available storage based on the dimensions of your storage items.
Currently, my ensuite bathroom has a large linen cabinet that I use for inventory overflow storage… as did in my bathroom at my one bedroom apartment. For you.. your linen cabinet may be in a hallway. Again, don’t forget about hidden valuable storage real estate under your bed or in the corner of a closet.
Know the Dimensions of Your Storage Spaces
This includes drawers and cabinet spaces in your vanity AND storage for additional inventory. Make sure to account for plumbing in a cabinet.
If you're like me, all your bathrooms have pesky plumbing to work around.
Group "Like" Items
Let’s divide and conquer your bathroom stash. Group the items (for each person) into categories based on use. For me, I started working from the following:
Within each category, you’ll have subcategories such as eye creams, face moisturizers, and cleansers for skincare. Other items like toothpaste will be more communal.
So you'll group all of the eye creams together, all of facial cleansers together, and so on. This should go fairly quickly as it’s just quickly grouping like-items.
Sort Inventory Honestly
When it comes to bathroom products and appliances, I use the following sorting categories featured in the photo below:
Prioritize What You Actually Use
No, I didn't forget about that trashbag.
Here's where we have a come-to-Jesus chat with ourselves about what we actually use versus the items we no longer used or never worked for us in the first place like that "thickening shampoo" that made our hair brittle or that at-home facial peel that irritated our skin. We need to rid these items to make room for the items we do use. Yes, it's also time to trash.
Purging prerequisites include items that caused rashes (lotions and cleansers) and unhealthy sensitivity (teeth and gums). Also, check those expiration dates, particularly on products with SPF which lose their efficacy over time. And if a product changed color or consistency over time, as well as doesn't smell right... rid it!!! After all, that trip to the doctor will cost you more than the few bucks you thought you saved by using it again.
It’s not wasteful to throw stuff out that you don’t use. However, it is a waste of space to keep what you don’t use. AND you end up wasting money buying items you already have.
Gather Storage Containers Needed
Now that you know how many items you need quick access to on a daily basis... it's time to pair them with the proper storage container. This serves a two-fold purpose. First, it organizes and prevents turning mornings into scavenger hunts. Secondly, it places a limit to how much stuff you have out at once.
Hang tweezers and nail clippers on edge of glass (rather than dropping inside) for quicker and easier access.
Organize in Drawer(s)
Simply place stocked containers in your vanity drawers. You'll find they create natural cubbies for loose items (not in a container) as for the deodorant (at bottom left in photo).
You can see I can easily see and access what I need with room remaining if I decided store my toothbrush and toothpaste in the drawer. When living in a 1 bathroom apartment that also served as a powder room for guests, the vanity counter was kept clear with toothbrushes. Today, with a private bathroom and separate powder room for guests, my electric toothbrush and toothpaste reside on my vanity countertop.
Hey, what about that extra inventory?
Group extra inventory by type
Using ziplock bags not only allows you to maintain organized inventory but protects items from leaks and spills.
Now you can "shop" your inventory for FREE when your vanity items run low.. as well as quickly identify when you need to purchase and replenish your supply.
The container in the photo below fits under my bed. However, I store it with easy access in my bathroom linen closet.
My mommy had way too many body lotions and scrubs. Over the years, her skins needs changed and some are no longer effective. She used a similar process... and a caddie... organizing just enough choices for everyday use with USABLE inventory to "shop from" for FREE.
The Process is Similar for Makeup
No, I didn't forget about the other items in your daily routine.
Applying the same principles as with our skincare and hygiene, let's tackle that makeup drawer or "everyday-access" space.
Similar Steps for Haircare Products and Tools
I decided to discuss this next because most of us store hair styling products... along with body lotions and potions... in the vanity cabinet. And don't worry, I'll get to hair appliances later.
Yep, the same steps.
My vanity cabinets have wonky dimensions. Although not designed as custom, their sizes were customized during installation. Thus, many organizers do not fit around the plumbing. This is why I'm a big fan of the caddie. And if you are lucky enough to find shelving that fits, the caddie helps organize that valuable under the sink real estate in a bathroom with multiple users.
As for the inventory of usable haircare products...
Where are the hair appliances?
I've had no luck with the various vanity cabinet storage suggestions. And in my opinion, the vanity cabinet provides valuable storage real estate... particularly for those shared bathrooms. So my solution for hair stylers and appliances is a bit different.
Remember those reusable shopping bags I mentioned earlier? So, I use those for storing hair tools like blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons inside a closet door or on the wall of a closet.
In the above photo, I used an adhesive hook.... so no nails needed. The hooks featured in the photo (with link) below can handle up to 13 pounds.
Although my mommy uses the adhesive hooks in her closet, you can secure these on the inner walls of the vanity cabinet for storing styling tools or small hanging items.
Toilet Paper and Other Everyday Items
'Again it's applying the same principles. Have a week's worth supply handy and inventory the rest.
I'm able to dedicate a drawer in my vanities to toilet paper and tissues. However, at my apartment, I used a daily storage solution similar to the following:
I like this type of storage because you can customize based on needs. This accommodates toilet paper, wipes, tissue boxes, feminine hygiene products, and other immediate need items... shall we say.
Inventory of these items can be stored in a linen cabinet, basement, or under your bed. Again, this minimizes the daily clutter, allowing you easy accessing what you need in the moment.
Which bring me to the vanity countertop. During my apartment days, my sole bathroom also served as a powder room for guests. Thus, any personal items were stored out of sight. Except for necessities like hand soap and tissues, the countertop was kept intentionally sparse. Even today with a private bathroom, I still keep my vanity countertop clear of clutter. The only difference today is the space and outlet devoted to my electric toothbrush.
Before leaving this post, I want to provide a few suggestions regarding decluttering a bathroom used by multiple family members or roommates.
Beside what we covered regarding purging unused or unusable items, designating an assigned space for each person's stuff allows them to decide how to organize utilizing some of the storage items suggested throughout this post. (This is where those caddies and hanging makeup and toiletry bags come in handy.) And it provides a sense of responsibility and accountability.
So let's get started with a little planning and organization in that room where we all begin our day. Experience the joy of saving time during the morning rush and money in not buying what you already have. That's putting the fun back into functional stylish living… in under an hour!
Having Trouble Getting Started?
I used to feel the same way too. After all, who wants to put time into a project that may not work in their specific home? That's why I created this Quick DIY Check Prep (List) for getting you started on those projects that actually enhance your home. I use this when starting any home DIY endeavor... big or small.
Knowing the "whys" of your home projects not only helps you with the "hows" but keeps you focused on the DIY endeavors that will matter for you... saving you time and money.
The Under-an-Hour, Home DIY Warrior