8 fresh ways to organize a small bathroom from decluttering experts

A pamper sesh is in order

Clear makeup storage organizers with cosmetics
(Image credit: Orthex Group)

We are all practicing self-care at home right? But let's get real, which spa did you ever go to where half-used bottles of lotion, slightly damp towels, and an eclectic mix of hair ties could be seen from all angles? We didn't think so. If this sounds like a familiar scene, you are not alone, and learning how to organize a small bathroom is a skill. Get it right and you'll restore that much-needed chill factor to this space, no matter how teeny tiny your bathroom may be! 

After all, a mini washroom can feel claustrophobic at the best of times, but throw in a ton of disorderly toiletries or maxed-out, mediocre storage and it's a recipe for disaster that will NOT help you get out the door quickly in the morning, let alone put on a face mask at the end of the day.

"Most people don't finish what they start – especially when it comes to projects at home," says Ben Soreff, a professional organizer at House to Home Organizing, sharing how a quick way to transform a bathroom is to focus on decluttering and organization.

So what's the remedy? We spoke to more decluttering experts for their best small bathroom organization tips so that you can create an optimal sanctuary that's as beautiful as you are  — inside and out.

1. Use shelves to turn clutter into a chic display

Calm 'shelfie' display featuring white decorative objet, reed diffusers, trailing houseplant, and folded towels on glass shelves.

(Image credit: @reynoldsresidence)

If you have the luxury of shelves in a rental, make sure you put them to good use! “You might not think about them often, but your bathroom shelves deserve some attention to detail," says Kayla Reynolds, creator behind the @reynoldsresidence (opens in new tab). "Glass shelves can help a small bathroom seem less cluttered, and a few key pieces styled on them will give your guests something interesting to look at! Think greenery, a fresh diffuser, framed prints, and mini hand towels for a stylish bathroom feature."

2. Organize linens with bins

Organized linen cupboard interior in chic neutrals, with labelled baskets of different linen categories.

(Image credit: @prettymodernstyle)

Small bathroom organizing starts with the linen closet, says Soreff. "Make space in your linen closet by removing old, stained, ripped, or unused sheets, blankets, and afghans. Then, use your new closet space to store runoff from the bathroom."

Categorize linens and fold them neatly into clearly labeled boxes or baskets for maxed-out efficiency.

You might assume that your stained linens are destined for the landfill, but Amy Bloomer, MA Organizational Psychology, Columbia University, suggests donating your ratted-out towels and linens to local animal shelters and sanctuaries instead of throwing them out.

3. Toss any expired makeup or skincare

Mint bathroom caddy storing small bathroom essentials, with rolled white towels on shelf.

(Image credit: @yamazakihome)

"Before you even think about organizing, it's essential to declutter your toiletries," says Caroline Solomon (opens in new tab), a home organizer based in New York City. Chances are there are expired products lurking in the crevices of your cabinets and drawers. Ditto for your makeup. This is especially important in small bathrooms, where even the tiniest amount of clutter is magnified.

Throw out any expired makeup or skincare products. "If the texture is off or has a strange smell, these are indicators that it might be time to toss," explains Soloman. "If you have a multitude of unused products that you won't get to before they expire (most unopened beauty and skincare products last two years), give them to friends and family, or donate them to your local homeless/women's shelter."

4. Keep daily go-tos at hand

Categorized toiletries and cosmetics neatly arrange in acrylic containers

(Image credit: The Container Store)

Once you’ve decluttered your small bathroom space, it’s time to organize it. If you have a medicine cabinet, place your most frequently used skin care products on a shelf at eye level for easy access. Solomon suggests that you place disposable items like cotton rounds and q-tips on the bottom shelf in clear containers with other overflow items from bathroom countertops. Keep skincare duplicates and medicines you use less frequently on upper shelves. Consider placing everyday makeup in an acrylic organizer in your medicine cabinet, which keeps your sink free of clutter (especially important in small bathrooms!).

Investing in sound small bathroom storage items like the above from The Container Store (opens in new tab)will help make use of small and/or dead space.

5. Categorize products by use

Bathroom storage trolley with itemized essentials, and colorful bird print shower curtain.

(Image credit: @honeyandmoss)

"When it comes to your skincare and makeup extras, creating zones is key," says Solomon. "Place like items together (e.g., hair care products, body care, travel products) and store them underneath your sink cabinet in clear, stackable drawers. If your bathroom doesn't have a sink cabinet, consider corralling items in a drawer solution." Ensure you organize under the bathroom sink properly to restore gorgeous order.

6. Don’t stock up if you don’t have to

Cane tiered bathroom caddy with folded towels and potted plant in white relaxed small bathroom

(Image credit: @imaniathome)

Overall, less is more when it comes to organizing a small bathroom. Resist the temptation to stock up on so many extra lotions and shampoos, as this creates clutter fast. "I recommend keeping only one to two extras of each product," says Solomon. "By simply holding onto only what you need and streamlining your everyday essentials, this will invite flow and ease into your bathroom routine."

7. Designate a place to hang towels

Scalloped wall mirror above sink in white bathroom, with brass fittings, and striped colored towels

(Image credit: homehagen.com)

Pondering how to store your fluffy stacks is a key element to creating a spa-like aesthetic. And let's face it, nothing is more annoying than going to use the bathroom and finding it strewn with smelly, soggy towels! 

From installing a combo caddy shelf with a hanging rail to free up floor space, to hanging your best towels on a rustic ladder to make both a practical and decorative feature there's a perfect towel storage solution for every small space.

Digital creator @lovetearsandteepees (opens in new tab), advises: “Create a spa-like bathroom with a free-standing towel storage solution. Accent open shelving such as a gold and glass unit will bring an element of luxury whilst also being practical, you can check on your towel stocks whilst powdering your nose.”

8. Consider additional storage furniture

Rustic over-toilet shelf ladder styled with towels, plants and woven storage baskets

(Image credit: @chantellelourens)

Finally, if storage is particularly tight, you might want to consider adding additional spots to store your essentials. "Some modern bathrooms do not have a vanity, instead favoring a stand-alone sink. A tall skinny corner shelf or open shelving above the toilet can fill that void," says Soreff. Or, look into adding a fresh new bathroom vanity for an even more polished finish – it might give you more of an incentive to stay organized also.

Content Editor

Holly is a Content Editor at Real Homes, and has previously worked at Future Homes brands including Country Homes & Interiors and Livingetc. She has a background in interior and event styling spanning a decade, which previously took her from coast to city and beyond to Australia. 

Holly loves working with creative minds and discovering fresh, indie brands, and is a firm believer that no home can have too many cushions, unruly blooms or decorative details of happy