The Bathroom: "Befores" and Starting the Organization Process

I'm kicking this week off with some real live photos of our bathroom. Woohoo! But, as I anticipated, taking photos of a tiny room with no natural light ain't easy. I ended up having to wedge myself next to the toilet (not exactly an ideal position, if you ask me...), stand flat up against the wall in the tub, and shoot with a wimpy overhead light as my light "source."

All that to say, I'm asking your forgiveness ahead of time for the somewhat poor quality of the photos in this post. I'm thinking my next major investment may need to be a tripod and a camera remote for circumstances like these. Sigh.

Ok, enough whining. Let's move onto the good stuff - the very early beginnings of my bathroom organization overhaul.

Last time we met regarding this little bathroom makeover, I showed you some beautiful inspiration photos of wonderfully organized bathroom spaces. I mentioned we have pretty good storage, but that we're not utilizing it as well as we can, nor is it particularly pretty.

Today you get the privilege of seeing the three major storage areas in our bathroom I plan to organize. Not-so-lovely befores make for the best afters, right? Here they are...

1. Over-the-toilet etagere:

Its main function is to store items we need to access on a fairly regular basis. Medicines, hair products, travel-related items (our toiletry bags and under 3-ounce containers we take on flights), etc. fall into that category. It also serves as a landing area for our towels, as you can see stacked up on top :).

2. Towel rack/hanging shelf thingy (that's the formal name for it, I assure you):

This isn't so bad, actually. It's doing its job quite well holding extra hand towels and washcloths. This area may not change much. We'll see.

3. Under-the-sink space:

This area is the most disastrous, I think. When we moved in, the storage baskets/bins worked out quite nicely, but over the past nine months, they've lost their way a bit. I've got lint rollers mixing in with dog shampoo, sunscreen and hair curlers in that woven basket. Not good.

The two plastic bins on the right house extra toiletries that I've bought on the cheap thanks to sales and coupons. Cleaning products are hiding behind the mouthwash on the left. Extra toilet paper lives in the very back.

As always, whenever I begin any organizational project, the first thing I do is empty everything out. Starting with a clean slate is so important because it forces you to evaluate everything are keeping in those spaces. It also gives you a chance to do a thorough cleaning of drawers and shelves (because we all know how often that happens once you have all your stuff situated).

Here are my cleaned out spaces:

Ahh, so nice.

I realize that the space under the sink still looks a little dingy, but since we're renting, I'm not planning to do anything drastic to it. (If we owned, I'd repaint the inside of that cabinet in a heartbeat!)

Once cabinets were cleaned out, I started the purging/sorting/organizing process.

I designated our bedroom floor for that area:

I'm knee-deep in sorting and purging right now, so this is the most you'll see in terms of "progress" for today. I'll leave you with a few tips for the next steps of the process (helpful reminders to myself more than anything!). I won't go into detail about the major points, since I covered general steps and principles in this post. They are pretty much the same for any organizing project, but here are a few additional helpful bathroom-specific details...

1. Go through all medications. Toss any expired, unused ones (don't flush them unless the label tells you to do so!). If you're not sure how to dispose of a medication, check out the FDA's website here. Group the remaining medications together so you can easily find the one you need.

2. Clean hair/makeup brushes. This is an easy one to overlook, and it only takes a few minutes. Who wants to use a dirty brush on clean hair? (I'm definitely guilty of not doing this as often as I should!)

3. Throw away any items you no longer use or that have expired. This includes old makeup, that shampoo you never liked, empty containers that have stuck around...

4. Donate gently used items or unopened toiletries. Emphasis on gently used. For example, if you have an extra toiletry kit you don't use, consider giving it to someone in need. If you have more toothpaste than you'll ever use, maybe give your surplus to a homeless shelter or a non-profit that collects toiletries to hand out to those who can't afford them.

5. Sort and group like with like. Pretty self-explanatory. 

6. Brainstorm the kind of containers you need to keep your items organized. Do you need open-topped containers for cleaning products? Boxes with lids for extra toiletries? Cups to hold toothbrushes or small items like Q-tips? My bathroom organization Pinterest board has lots of ideas if you're looking to get creative, or you just need a little inspiration!

7. Think about how you use your space. This will be different for everyone, so make sure what you do works for you and your family! 

Phew! I think that's enough for today. Hope y'all have a great Monday!


This post is a part of the series "Operation {Re}Organization." To see other posts in the series, click the tab at the top of the page.

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  1. Do mine next please! :) I SO need to go through this process!

    1. It's no fun getting going, but I am really happy with the results so far! (I'll have more to share soon!!)

  2. This is beautiful! you style always good.

    Best wishes!!
    John Stolle

  3. Excellent work!! wish my bathroom looked like this one!


  4. I liked the arrows for their help in organizing your notes.

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