Utex 3-Shelf Over-the-Toilet Bathroom Organizer
Amazon
Utex 3-Shelf Over-the-Toilet Bathroom Organizer
CNN —  

The bathroom is one of the most purely functional rooms in the home, but for many people, their bathroom doesn’t function well at all — especially if it’s very small. If you’re struggling to make a small bathroom work for you, or if you’ve got space but no built-in storage features like drawers, cabinets or an under-sink area, these tips and product recommendations from professional organizers can help you get the bathroom of your dreams…or at least close to it!

Small bathroom storage ideas

“As always, the number one suggestions for living in small spaces of all sorts is to get rid of everything you no longer need, use, want or love,” Ann Lightfoot, a professional organizer and co-founder of Done and Done Home, says. She notes that nothing should be stored in a bathroom that won’t be used this year, and takes a hard line with her clients when it comes to casting off things that are taking up valuable space. “The minute someone finds themselves saying, ‘Yeah, but…it’s really good, it was expensive, I might use it…’ they’re going wrong,” she says.

When eliminating items, Lightfoot looks for what she calls “space hogs” — especially things like hairstyling tools that haven’t been used in years but that were expensive and therefore can be hard to part with. “The question to ask yourself is what do I want more, a functioning bathroom today or a chance that I’ll curl my hair in the unknown future?” she says.

Think creatively, and look up!

Both Lightfoot and Nonnahs Driskill, a professional organizer and founder of Get Organized Already, say the most common mistake people make when setting up their small bathroom is not utilizing vertical space. Driskill also encourages people with limited bathroom space to “break with traditional rules about what goes in the bathroom. Store bathroom items you don’t use every day somewhere else in the house.”

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She suggests assembling a “pampering kit” made up of items you use only once a month or so, like sheet masks and soothing foot balms, that can be stashed in the bedroom. Store cough syrup, aspirin, antihistamine and other over-the-counter medications in a travel bag or small container in a bedroom drawer, hallway cabinet or in the kitchen.

Lightfoot explains that pedestal sinks, which offer no under-sink storage and limited ledge space for things like hand soap and lotion, can easily and fairly inexpensively be replaced with a vanity — even in rentals. “I know it seems like a big investment for a rental, but if you plan to stay a couple years and get approval from your landlord, you can have a bathroom that actually works for the years you’re there,” she says.

Style Selections Euro Single Sink Bathroom Vanity ($159; lowes.com)

Style Selections Euro Single Sink Bathroom Vanity
Lowe's
Style Selections Euro Single Sink Bathroom Vanity

Ahead, Lightfoot and Driskill suggest some of their favorite products and hacks for maximizing space in a small bathroom, including ones they recommend to their clients over and over again — and ones they use in their own homes.

Bathroom mirror with storage

Almost every bathroom includes a mirrored medicine cabinet over the sink — but not all of them are created equally. “Even though it can be pricey to do so, get rid of that ridiculously small medicine cabinet and replace it with a taller, deeper one,” Lightfoot advises.

Kohler Verdera Aluminum Medicine Cabinet ($358.50, originally $478; wayfair.com)

Kohler Verdera Aluminum Medicine Cabinet
Wayfair
Kohler Verdera Aluminum Medicine Cabinet

Tangkula Wall-Mounted Medicine Cabinet With Mirror (starting at $89.99; amazon.com)

Tangkula Wall-Mounted Medicine Cabinet With Mirror
Amazon
Tangkula Wall-Mounted Medicine Cabinet With Mirror

Vasagle Mirror Cabinet ($45.99; amazon.com)

Vasagle Mirror Cabinet
Amazon
Vasagle Mirror Cabinet

Kohler Archer Frameless Aluminum Bathroom Medicine Cabinet ($107.10; amazon.com)

Kohler Archer Frameless Aluminum Bathroom Medicine Cabinet
Amazon
Kohler Archer Frameless Aluminum Bathroom Medicine Cabinet

Bathroom towel storage

Without a dedicated linen closet or cabinet, storing towels — both clean ones and ones in use — can present a challenge. Look to your vertical space and seek out storage options that allow you to hang towels between uses and to store clean, folded towels. Lightfoot suggests a wall-mounted luggage-style rack for towels, and Driskill says to store extra towels on over-the-door rods.

Moen Hotel-Style Towel Shelf With Towel Bar ($93.90, originally $176.45; amazon.com)

Moen Hotel-Style Towel Shelf With Towel Bar
Amazon
Moen Hotel-Style Towel Shelf With Towel Bar

Honey Can Do Over-the-Door Towel Rack ($25.99; wayfair.com)

Honey Can Do Over-the-Door Towel Rack
Wayfair
Honey Can Do Over-the-Door Towel Rack

Threshold Expandable Over-the-Door Towel Rack ($25.99; target.com)

Threshold Expandable Over-the-Door Towel Rack
Target
Threshold Expandable Over-the-Door Towel Rack

Bathroom storage cabinet

If installing a new vanity is out of the question, but your small bathroom has open, unused space, a floor cabinet can provide a lot of space for toiletries, cleaning supplies and extra toilet paper.

Vasagle Bathroom Floor Cabinet With Drawer and Adjustable Shelf ($75.99; amazon.com)

Vasagle Bathroom Floor Cabinet With Drawer and Adjustable Shelf
Amazon
Vasagle Bathroom Floor Cabinet With Drawer and Adjustable Shelf

Dotted Line Ivan Cabinet ($97.99, originally $142.99; wayfair.com)

Dotted Line Ivan Cabinet
Wayfair
Dotted Line Ivan Cabinet

Vasagle Bathroom Floor Cabinet Storage Organizer Set ($69.99; amazon.com)

Vasagle Bathroom Floor Cabinet Storage Organizer Set
Amazon
Vasagle Bathroom Floor Cabinet Storage Organizer Set

Bathroom storage over toilet

The airspace over the toilet is another vertical area that can be used for storage. Look for an over-toilet tower that offers a mix of rods, open shelving and closed-front cabinets.

Utex 3-Shelf Over-the-Toilet Bathroom Organizer ($65.95; amazon.com)

Utex 3-Shelf Over-the-Toilet Bathroom Organizer
Amazon
Utex 3-Shelf Over-the-Toilet Bathroom Organizer

Rebrilliant Over-the-Toilet Storage ($59.99, originally $89.95; wayfair.com)

Rebrilliant Over-the-Toilet Storage
Wayfair
Rebrilliant Over-the-Toilet Storage

Under bathroom sink storage

Driskill says another common small-bathroom mistake people make is storing all their bathroom cleaning supplies under the bathroom sink. Instead, she suggests keeping one bottle of all-purpose cleaning spray on hand and moving other cleaning supplies out of the bathroom to open up more room under the sink for items like hair dryers that you use often.

Simple Houseware Cabinet Door Organizer ($12.87, originally $13.87; amazon.com)

Simple Houseware Cabinet Door Organizer
Amazon
Simple Houseware Cabinet Door Organizer

She also suggests maximizing under-sink storage space with a stacking drawer system or other specialized organizer. Lightfoot likes this “kit” from The Container Store, but buyers should always be wary of bundled products that may leave you with one or two unusable pieces in a set.

Like-It Under the Sink Starter Kit ($87.93; containerstore.com)

Like-It Under the Sink Starter Kit
The Container Store
Like-It Under the Sink Starter Kit

Bathroom storage shelves

Driskill has a solution for bathrooms that are lacking in drawer space. “Install small shelves and use containers on those shelves for your supplies,” she says.

Americanflat 14-Inch Floating Wall Shelves ($26.95, originally $28.95; amazon.com)

Americanflat 14-Inch Floating Wall Shelves
Amazon
Americanflat 14-Inch Floating Wall Shelves

JackCubeDesign Bathroom Shelf With Towel Bar ($29.90; amazon.com)

JackCubeDesign Bathroom Shelf With Towel Bar
Amazon
JackCubeDesign Bathroom Shelf With Towel Bar

Bathroom storage tower

Lightfoot uses tall, narrow tower-style shelving in her own small bathroom. To keep things tidy, she outfitted some of the shelves with bins to store small, oddly shaped or personal items.

Honey-Can-Do 6-Tier Metal Tower Bathroom Shelf ($22.99, originally $52.99; amazon.com)

Honey-Can-Do 6-Tier Metal Tower Bathroom Shelf
Amazon
Honey-Can-Do 6-Tier Metal Tower Bathroom Shelf

Elegant Home Fashions Adriana Linen Tower ($110.99, originally $189.99; amazon.com)

Elegant Home Fashions Adriana Linen Tower
Amazon
Elegant Home Fashions Adriana Linen Tower

MDesign Metal Bathroom Storage Basket ($19.99; amazon.com)

MDesign Metal Bathroom Storage Basket
Amazon
MDesign Metal Bathroom Storage Basket

Bathroom countertop storage

Countertop storage is another area where using vertical space can give you extra room; Driskill says to look for two-tier storage towers to double your countertop space and to keep small items contained and tidy-looking.

2-Tier Acrylic Tower ($49.99; containerstore.com)

2-Tier Acrylic Tower
The Container Store
2-Tier Acrylic Tower

Utility Narrow Stackable Plastic Bins (starting at $3.99, originally starting at $4.99; containerstore.com)

Utility Narrow Stackable Plastic Bins
The Container Store
Utility Narrow Stackable Plastic Bins

White 2-Drawer Mesh Organizer ($24.99; containerstore.com)

White 2-Drawer Mesh Organizer
The Container Store
White 2-Drawer Mesh Organizer