How to organize a small bathroom ⁠— decluttering experts share their fave tips

Transform your small bathroom for good

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

If you're in need of a self-care Sunday but your small bathroom doesn't exactly feel soothing and spa-like, then you need to have a decluttering sesh. We get it: a bathroom is typically the last room you think of giving some TLC, and if it's an especially tiny space, it can be easy to let this room fall to the bottom of your priority list and allow the junk to pile up. Not anymore, though. 

With the help of a bathroom organizer or two, you can finally make space for your colossal skincare routine, and thanks to the expert tips we've collected, you'll finally be able to keep your drawers in good shape.

You start and end your day in your bathroom, so having a clean and chill getting-ready space is seriously underrated. Believe me when I say that learning how to organize a small bathroom is a skill ⁠— I know because my bathroom is teeny tiny, and the number of toiletries I have is larger than I'd like to admit. Once you get it right, you'll be in bliss while waiting for your bubble bath or putting on your evening face mask.

So, where should you start? I've listed six small bathroom organization tips to help you maximize this space for good. It's time to create a shower time sanctuary that's as beautiful as you are — inside and out.

How to organize a small bathroom in 8 simple steps

We spoke with a few experts to get their advice on ways to store more in a smaller bathroom. 

Caroline Solomonis a professional home organizer, podcast host, and content creator based in New York City. She also lives in a rental apartment herself, so she's a pro at making your space work for you.

Ben Soreff is a professional organizer at House to Home Organizing based in Connecticut. He specializes in decluttering and organizing solutions, especially for family homes.

Follow these steps and you'll be in it to win it.

1. Clear out expired makeup and skincare

A mint green bathroom caddy in a bright neutral bathroom setting

(Image credit: @yamazakihome)

Chances are, you have expired products lurking in the crevices of your cabinets and drawers. Ditto for your makeup. Clearing out your old products is especially important in small bathrooms, where even the tiniest amount of clutter is magnified. The time has come to throw out any expired makeup or skincare. 

"Before you even think about organizing, it's essential to declutter your toiletries," Solomon says. "If the texture is off or has a strange smell, these are indicators that it might be time to toss." 

She also points out that a surplus of unexpired, unused products are great candidates for sending to someone else. "Give them to friends and family, or donate them to your local homeless/women's shelter."

To tell how long a product lasts, you should be able to identify a symbol of a tub with its lid open on the back of the product. Aside from this, there will be a number. If it's the number six, it means that the product can only last for six months once opened, and so on.

2. Keep products that you use daily close by

Categorized toiletries and cosmetics neatly arranged in acrylic containers

(Image credit: The Container Store)

Once you’ve decluttered your toiletries, it’s time to organize them. If you can, place your most frequently used skin care products in a medicine cabinet or on a shelf at eye level for easy access. Solomon suggests that you place disposable items like cotton rounds and tips on the bottom shelf in clear containers with other overflow items from your bathroom countertops

Keep skincare duplicates and medicines you use less frequently on higher shelves, and consider placing everyday makeup in an acrylic organizer which keeps your sink free of clutter (which is especially important in small bathrooms!). Also, keep your bathroom trash can in a place where you can reach it with ease.

If you're looking for stylish storage solutions for your bathroom, then see some of our fave picks, below.

3. Categorize your products by their use

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

(Image credit: @honeyandmoss)

Save yourself some stress in the morning rush by categorizing your hair, skincare, shower, and makeup products ahead of time and giving each a designated space in your bathroom.

"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." 

Organizing doesn't stop at what's visible, though. Remember to organize the space under your bathroom sink as well.

4. Organize towels using storage bins

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

(Image credit: @prettymodernstyle)

Towels can take up a lot of space in a bathroom, so if you have free storage real estate elsewhere, take advantage of it. "Make space in your linen closet by removing old, stained, ripped, or unused sheets, blankets, and afghans," Soreff says. "Then, use your new closet space to store runoff from the bathroom."

(Finally) wash and fold those sheets and towels, and store them neatly in clearly labeled boxes or baskets for maxed-out efficiency. Fabric storage baskets and bins are both pretty and functional, and they're easy to clean and coordinate with your towels and decor. 

You might assume that your old and stained linens are destined for landfill, but consider giving them a second life by donating your ratted-out towels and linens to local animal shelters and sanctuaries instead of throwing them away.

5. 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're putting them to good use to pull the theme of your bathroom together and display your prettiest products.

“You might not think about them often, but your bathroom shelves deserve some attention to detail," says Kayla Reynolds, creator behind the @reynoldsresidence. "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."

We love the vibe of a coordinated pastel look, featuring the famous Hay storage crates, a delicious-smelling candle to fill your small space with fresh citrus smells, and an iridescent, bubble bath-inspired vase for a fun and decorative finishing touch.

6. Designate a place to hang your towels

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

(Image credit: homehagen.com)

A gorgeous display of your fluffy towels is a key element to creating a luxe, spa-like aesthetic. And let's face it, nothing is more ick-worthy than going to use the bathroom and finding nothing but soggy, scrunched-up 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.

“Create a spa-like bathroom with a free-standing towel storage solution," digital creator @lovetearsandteepees advises. "Accent open shelving, like a gold and glass unit, will bring an element of luxury while also being practical."

7. Consider buying some 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," says Soreff. "A tall skinny corner shelf or open shelving above the toilet can fill that void." 

Nestle some shelving into any corner as a renter-friendly alternative to a full bathroom renovation. We especially love the look and versatility of a ladder shelf for smaller bathrooms, and having an organization solution that also acts as a decorative display might give you more of an incentive to stay organized, too.

8. 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)

As a rule, less is more when it comes to organizing a small bathroom. Resist the temptation to stock up on every lotion, soap, and shampoo, 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."

Create a sleek look by decanting your shower staples into aesthetically pleasing refillable bottles. This small touch can make a world of a difference in the overall color scheme and ambiance of your small bathroom, as your daily products become a part of the decor.

Nishaa Sharma
Staff Writer

Hi! My name is Nishaa, and I’m the social media editor here at Real Homes. Originally from the Pacific Northwest in the US, I’ve made my way to the English countryside via Canada, Australia, Hungary, and Portugal. Along the way, I’ve found my passion for writing and creating content through working with travel, lifestyle, and wellness brands, and now use my expertise in social media to stay on top of the latest and greatest in home trends.

When I’m not scrolling for the best home decor trends for ya, you can find me exploring the cutest villages and brunch spots, or snuggled up on the sofa with a new recipe, my husband, and our puppy, Ebble!

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