How to organize bathroom countertops for good, according to the pros

Bye-bye, mess

White marble bathroom countertop with jars and jewellery
(Image credit: IKEA)

Whether you have a teeny tiny shared bathroom or a space to yourself, it's beyond easy to clutter with makeup and skincare. But if all the beauty products are making your morning routine feel chaotic, it's probably time to declutter and organize your bathroom countertops. How? With the genius tips below, and with help from a couple of handy bathroom organizers, of course!

This surface can really make or break your bathroom organization — you want it to be aesthetically pleasing to look at, with your daily products easy to reach. But if we're being real, not every single lip balm or face mask needs to be out on display. 

We're here to spill our favorite methods for keeping countertops looking cute, and spoke to a couple of decluttering experts who also shared their insight on how to organize bathroom countertops for more style and function.

How to style and organize bathroom countertops like a pro

From giving all those essentials a home with first-class organizing products to adding only the cutest minimal decorative accents, here’s what you need to know about decluttering and styling that bathroom countertop.

1. Start with a surface clear out 

bathroom counter

(Image credit: The Container Store)

When it comes to what's on the bathroom counter, less is more. Especially if you're sharing your space with roomies or siblings.  So start by decluttering the surface as much as possible. A clear space will instantly feel way cleaner, plus it'll be soooo much easier to maintain. 

Make sure everything that doesn't belong there (I'm talking keys, receipts, your pup's collar) is rehomed. Also take this as an opportunity to re-evaluate which bathroom essentials have to actually live on the countertop. Extra bars of soap, spare toothbrushes for friends, floss, and all the rest can probably get demoted. More on this next.

2. Rehome non-countertop essentials

For anything that belongs in the bathroom but doesn't make the cut as an everyday essential, it's time to get creative. Making some drawer space will give you a spot to store non-essential items and instantly make your bathroom countertop feel more open and airy. Because let's be real: the minimalist, luxury vibe in your bathroom space is beyond soothing.

"Clear out the top drawers and the medicine cabinet and leave those open for essential items," suggests Shawna Percival, founder of Styleberry Creative Interiors. "Not that eyeshadow you use every other weekend, but the daily essentials. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t pack it to go on a trip, it likely isn’t essential!"

Once you’ve cleaned everything, try to keep your bathroom clutter-free. To maximize space, any accessories that you use on a day-to-day basis can be stored in cute colorful trays, in your bathroom vanity, or drawers that are built into the space.

But if you're working with a really tiny bathroom minus the built-in storage, you're going to want to work vertically. Find some moveable tiered caddies that take up minimal space but can carry volume. For toiletries, consider a cute adhesive caddy that sticks right to the shower wall, keeping your shampoo and cleanser looking clean.

3. Tidy up and decanter what you can

bathroom counter

(Image credit: The Container Store)

Trust, we're just as makeup-obsessed as you are. So we also get what a struggle the morning routine can be when your fave products are rolling around on the counter first thing in the AM. We're not saying you have to put your beauty essentials away out of sight, but we do suggest creating a designated home for them on your countertop.

If it's cotton balls and mouthwash that are ruining the vibe, pop these products into recycled jars or invest in some vibey unbranded glass containers for an apothecary finish.

Cute caddies and trays, carousels, and lazy Suzans will help keep your space looking styled while keeping everything accessible. Mason jars are a quick way to store makeup brushes and toothbrushes, too, but if you're struggling to keep yours upright, there are some workarounds. 

"A great tip here is to use white pearls, vase fillers, or even rice, in order to keep your brushes upright," says decluttering expert Kate Windleton. "Upcycled old flower pods could be a great addition to your organizing system, as they could be customized to your taste and aesthetic preferences."

Organizing your bathroom countertop will naturally help style the space, but that's not to say that you shouldn't pay attention to the finer details. The decorative pieces should be simple items, like a good reed diffuser or a small piece of art, says Windleton. In fact, think of your bathroom countertop as you would a hotel. Keep only the essentials with very sparse decor. 

"For your personal bathroom that most others don’t use, you can have a few more items on top if you’d like, but still try to keep it decluttered," she says.

What should I leave on my bathroom counter?

You can keep your most aesthetically packaged skincare, beauty products, and your toothbrush in a holder on your countertop, but tbh, you should still try to keep most of your items out of sight in cabinets and drawers. They'll be ready and in reach when you need them.

Keep in mind that the bathroom countertop can also be a humid place most of the time, which makes it a nice spot for bacteria to party it up. Keeping your counter surface clean and airy makes it easy to clean up and disinfect the space on a regular basis.

Getting organized will instantly help style the space, but you can still have fun with the decorative details. Look for simple and chic items, like some nice home fragrance or a small piece of art, similar to what you'd see in a boutique hotel or immaculate Airbnb. If you want an extra dose of personality, style intentionally using a bathroom-friendly houseplant or your fave scented candle.

Kaitlyn McInnis

Kaitlyn is an experienced travel and lifestyle writer with a keen interest in interior decorating and home optimization. An avid traveler, she's currently splitting her time between her apartment in a century-old châteauesque building in Montreal and her cozy chalet in the woods (that she built with her own two hands... and many YouTube tutorials!). Her work has been published in Travel + Leisure, Tatler Asia, Forbes, Robb Report Singapore, and various other international publications.