We’ve all been spending a lot more time at home, giving us a lot more opportunity to notice little imperfections and inconveniences in our bathrooms. You’ve probably been accumulating even more, and you’re finally overwhelmed by everything currently cluttering your counter.
If you’re asking yourself how you could even possibly begin to think about reorganizing, you’ve come to the right place.
What Method to Use When Organizing Your Bathroom
You can probably find a dozen or more different methods online that tell you the best method to use when organizing your bathroom, but you need to pick the one that will work the longest — the purge first approach.
When you get rid of things you don’t use or need, the opportunity for things to re-clutter your bathroom space is that much smaller.
Benefits of the Purge First Approach
The purge first approach helps you look at what you use and what you don’t need anymore.
By coming into a bathroom organization with the mindset that you’re looking to declutter and make your bathroom space work for you, you’ll get a lot more out of the reorganization process.
Take Everything Off the Counter and Out of the Drawers
To make the purge first approach effective, start by taking everything off of your counter. This way, you’ll have to sort through everything you have and only put back the items you use.
You should also take out everything in your drawers and cabinets, except for the medicine cabinet, if you have one. Things in medicine cabinets are typically small or not good to lose.
Here are some items you should look to purge when you’re getting rid of clutter:
- Expired makeup
- Skincare products that don’t work — if they’re not working for you, there’s no reason to keep them.
- Worn down products — nail files, brushes, old razors
- Old hair tools — stretched out hair ties, broken clips, and barrettes, etc.
Sorting Through Everything
Now that you’ve taken everything off the counter and out of the drawers and cabinets, you’ve probably got an overwhelming amount of toiletries, appliances, and assorted bathroom accouterments on your hands. To make this task easier, sort your items into groups. A few good groups are “keep,” “move,” “trash,” and “give away.”
The first few groups are self-explanatory, but there are plenty of items in your bathroom you might not need that someone else could use. Unopened toiletries and makeup products make for great donation items. Old towels also make useful donations to animal shelters.
Choose an Infrequent Use Cabinet
We all probably have a few bathroom implements that we don’t use very much, but we’re also not willing to part ways with them just yet. How about that flat iron you have on the counter that you’ve used only once or twice (or never)? Or the electric face brush?
But that’s ok! Instead of letting bathroom clutter and unused items get in our way, we’ll set aside an “infrequent use cabinet.” You can think of it kind of like a bathroom purgatory. Here, the items will be out of your way and stop taking up space on the counter, and maybe you’ll even decide it is time to downsize a little bit. Out of sight, out of mind.
Cleaning Everything Off
The best way to start an organizing effort is with a clean slate. If you have a lot of clutter, your bathroom could probably use a good deep clean. It could probably use a good deep clean anyway, considering how many germs a bathroom is typically carrying.
Now that you’ve gotten everything out of the way, you’ve probably realized you had more of a mess on your hands than you realized at first. There’s toothpaste in the sink and soap scum in the shower, but the good news is that now you don’t have anything in your way stopping you from cleaning it!
Let’s get started.
Here are some tools to have on hand for a thorough bathroom deep clean: disinfecting wipes, glass cleaner, toilet cleaner with bleach, toilet brush, sponge, cloths or paper towels, mop or steamer, all-purpose cleaner, scrubbing brush, microfiber cloth, and rubber gloves.
Cleaning the Sinks
Sinks are magnets for filth and grime. Your leftover toothpaste, hair from razors, unused soap — it all ends up here. There are a few steps to cleaning the sink, mainly the drain, basin, faucet.
Cleaning the Toilet
The most effective way to clean your toilet is by starting with the bowl first. The toilet bowl is the largest part and comes into contact with the most germs.
Clean out your toilet bowl with a cleaner that contains bleach. Bleach is the most effective cleaning product and helps to remove any unsightly stains. Coat the whole bowl and use a brush to scrub it into the toilet.
After you’ve done this step, it’s time to clean the outside of the toilet. Using a bathroom cleaner, spray down the outside, making sure to get all of the small areas you might overlook. These spots are mainly the handle, area in front of the tank, and the lid and seat.
It’s most effective to leave the cleaner sitting for about ten minutes. After waiting, wipe down your toilet with a sponge or paper towels.
Cleaning the Shower
A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and washing soda, typically one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts washing soda, is an excellent chlorine-free and bleach-free way to clean off grime and clean out grout on your shower walls.
Shower and bath floors are often the targets of scum and grime, so you’ll want to spend some extra time cleaning these off, both so they’ll be bright and gleaming and also to help avoid slipping and falling.
Spray on a shower or bathroom cleaner and let it sit according to the directions. Then use a rough sponge or scrubbing pad to scrub the surface down.
There are also good alternatives to shower cleaners if you don’t have one on hand. A baking soda and vinegar mixture is an excellent all-purpose mixture that helps clear scum and hard water buildup on all shower and bath textures, all in one fell swoop.
White vinegar is also the best solution to buildup on shower doors. It works even better than everyday glass cleaner.
The next step is to clean out the drain. Most shower drains are easily detachable. You can either pull them right up or unhook them from the shower floor or pull them up if you have a bath. Make sure to pull out any hair or debris that might be clogging your drain.
To clean it out and get rid of any smells, you can pour about half a cup of bleach down the drain and let it sit for approximately an hour. Follow this step up with four cups of water. If your pipes are not PVC, you can use boiling water, which will make it more effective in cleaning the drain. Finish the job with a spritz of natural bathroom air freshener to make it smell good.
Cleaning Everything Else
Using your all-purpose cleaner and sanitizing wipes, clean off your newly-clear counter. You might be surprised at how much dirt and grime has been hiding under everything on your countertops, but it’s finally time to take care of that.
Now that you’ve moved everything off of your bathroom floor, it’s time to break out the steamer or mop and clean off your floors. You might also need to use a grout cleaner if your tiles are especially dirty.
Next, clean your mirror using a glass cleaner. It’ll help to complement your newly cleaned and organized bathroom.
Organizing Specific Areas
Now that you’ve cleaned and purged your collection of bathroom items, it’s time to organize them. We’ll start by looking at the different main areas in your bathroom, breaking it down by each section to make everything a little easier to manage.
How to Organize Your Countertop
The countertop in your bathroom is always a place that attracts clutter. In my experience, almost every time I reorganize my bathroom, the counter stays nice and uncluttered for about a week and then immediately starts reaccumulating unnecessary junk.
But not anymore. A trick I’ve found that works for me is to use a small decorative tray or mat on your counter. It adds a splash of color or a fun pattern, but it also gives you a smaller space to keep the items you want to put on your counter.
I have a small 8 x 12-inch tray in between my sinks where I keep my countertop toiletries. It serves as a little perimeter for me to try and keep as few items as possible. Without it, I know my entire counter would be full.
How to Organize Your Drawers
If you’re sharing a bathroom with multiple people or organizing the children’s bathroom, getting a set of caddies or drawer organizers is a great idea. You can keep track of whose stuff is whose.
You can also use drawer organizers to separate different categories of things in your drawers, like first aid, makeup, accessories, and more.
How to Organize Your Towels
If you have a small closet in your bathroom or even leftover cabinet space, it’s much easier to keep your towels and washcloths in the bathroom. You can also store any other bathroom items that go along with this category. Think bathrobes, hair wraps, or shower caps
You can organize your towels and bath linens into different categories in your closet. If you have a lot of guests, you might have specific towels set aside for guests. These can go in individual stacks. You can also organize your towels by size and purpose or by matching sets if you buy towels in set patterns or colors.
You can organize towels by purpose. For example, sort hand towels, bath towels, and washcloths into separate piles. You probably also have beach or pool towels that can go in their own stack.
How to Organize Your Toiletries
The only things on your counter should be what you’re using daily: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand soap, commonly-used fragrance, and any other items you decide to keep out.
But remember: be sparing! The easiest way to fall back into disorganization and clutter is by having too many things out on your counter.
An easy way to organize toiletries is with a sectioned organizer. These typically have spots for brushes to stand up and flat compartments for products that need to lie flat, like makeup.
How to Organize Your Shower
One of the easiest ways to organize your shower is by investing in a shower organizer. You can pick one up for a range of prices, available for any budget. These are available in three common types: showerhead hanging organizers, standing shower organizers, or shower/bath-side organizers.
Shower organizers help keep things off the floor. No more tripping over that huge bottle of shampoo or having to sort through all of your bath products on the ground to find the product you need next.
If you’re short on space or have a shower/bath combination, a showerhead hanging organizer will work great. It gives you a place to hang things up in an organized way while also being easy to see.
If you have a little more space, like a walk-in shower, a stand-up organizer affords you a lot more room to keep items. You can hold multiple kinds of soap and different types of loofahs and scrubbers all on one organizer.
If you have a combination bath/shower unit, or you’re looking to make your shower space a little bit nicer, a good outside shower organizer might be the way to go. These are typically a little nicer looking, and they don’t need to be waterproof.
How to Organize Under Your Sinks
Under the sink is another place where junk tends to accumulate. Toilet paper, extra toiletries, and anything else you have winds up here.
You can also install attachable or over-the-door organizers under your sink. You can effectively double your storage space under the counter by attaching door organizers. Here, you can store items like brushes or other toiletry items.
You could also pick up a set of small storage bins to keep your items separated and your under-sink space easy to navigate.
How to Organize Your Hot Tools/Appliances
Bathroom appliances and hot tools take up a lot of space on the counter, but it’s also hard to find an accessible spot for them. Think about items like blow dryers, straightening irons, hair curling tools, electric razors, water flossers, and other tools.
Depending on the amount of space in your bathroom, you could make or buy a hanging organizer. These containers hang off the side of your counter or on a cabinet door. You can store your appliances here visibly and neatly.
If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you could also build a shelf with slots or holes to fit the nozzles of your bathroom appliances. This way, they are out of the way but also easy to access.
Now you’ve done all this work — the hard part is keeping it this way. To avoid losing a day to reorganizing again in a few weeks, develop daily habits that only take a few minutes a day to keep your bathroom looking beautiful and spotless.
A good habit to get into is putting everything back every day. When you take an item out of a drawer during your bathroom routine, put it back in its place right after you’ve finished using it. Don’t count on yourself being willing to put it away in the future.
If you want to keep your bathroom organized, start building good organizational habits, and holding yourself accountable.
Run water around the sink when you’re finished with your daily routine to catch any soap, toothpaste, or hair that might be around the sink basin after using it. There’s much less scrubbing involved if you clean soap and grime off right away rather than having to scrub it out later.
Use the same process in the shower or bath. Just running a little water over the walls or floor will help to dislodge any extra soap or grime that might be sitting there.
It’s also a handy daily habit to try and pull out anything that may have made its way into the drain over the day. What makes this process even quicker is a drain catcher. These typically sit over the drain and have small holes to allow water to pass through while catching anything that doesn’t belong down it.
Again, the best step you can take toward organization is investing in smaller habits. It’s much easier (and more likely to be accomplished) if you break tasks up into smaller steps or segments rather than going up against a big chore.
At least once a week, put a toilet cleaner in your toilet overnight. Scrub it in after you pour it all around, but let it sit there overnight. Remember to either close the toilet lid or close your bathroom door while it’s sitting overnight if you have pets.
Another easy way to keep your toilet clean is by attaching a set of toilet cleaner balls to the rim. These typically activate with each flush, so they’re always cleaning and preventing stains.
Also, get into the habit of cleaning your sink and shower drains each week. Trust us: it’s much less gross to have to clean out a little bit of gunk over time rather than a lot more all at once.
You can also put in a tile or all-purpose cleaner overnight in your shower or bath. The overnight approach makes for a deeper clean, and the next day you can just run water to clean everything off.
The secret to organizing a bathroom is starting by getting rid of everything you don’t need or redirecting it to the place it belongs to. Once you’ve moved everything out of the way, it’s much less overwhelming to envision an organized space.
Doing a bathroom deep clean is the next step to keeping a tidy space. If you start with a good foundation, it’s much easier to want to invest in organizing your space.
And when it comes to the organizational process, little things like drawer dividers and small storage bins go a long way and serve many practical purposes.