Organizing Bathroom Drawers

13 January 2009

In the spirit of the ever-popular resolution to finally get organized, I’m answering some reader mail today. It happens to come from my sister, who recently moved into a new apartment with a tiny bathroom and no medicine cabinet. There are drawers under her sink, but she isn’t sure how to organize them for maximum effectiveness. Here’s my advice:

First, if her {or your} collection of toiletries is anything like mine, it could stand to be pared down: get rid of what you don’t use, including (especially!) lotions and potions you’ve kept around because you might change your mind in the future. Then, sort what’s left so you’ll be able to plan out your storage solutions more logically and effectively.

Once that’s done, the fun begins! The best part? Unlike some household projects, drawers are easily organized without purchasing fancy equipment or devoting an entire afternoon to the task. For example, one of my favorite catch-alls is the humble ice cube tray: its many hollows corral earrings, odd buttons, bobby pins, hair elastics, cotton swabs, rings, and safety pins in a flash.

Muffin tins and mini loaf pans serve the same purpose and work particularly well for slightly larger items.

{L: Martha Stewart Living, R: Real Simple}

The ubiquitous desk organizer plays nicely in the bathroom, as well. So does a flatware caddy like this one.


If you’re making a purchase, look for a clear storage container with adjustable compartments, like this one below, or this one or this one.

{Real Simple}

For bonus points when working with a deeper drawer, lay down a system of compartments as above, then install tension curtain rods as a track for a second layer of drawers to slide along. Martha gets the credit for that one. Or, buy a system here or here.

{Martha Stewart Living}

If you’re really looking for customization or have some oddly-sized items to store, consider slice and fit acrylic dividers, available from I don’t have any personal experience with them, but again, Martha seems to be a huge fan.

{Martha Stewart Living}

{Martha Stewart Living}

A few more suggestions for general bathroom organization:

If space is truly at a premium, consider installing a shelf over the door. Instructions here.

{Martha Stewart Living}

Hang shallow shelves {often seen in kitchen pantries} to the insides of cabinet doors to create storage space out of previously underutilized space. Get one here.


Corral prettier or more frequently used toiletries on a decorative tray or platter for the counter top. The tray makes cleaning easier, as well.

{Martha Stewart Living}

Consider using a wicker, woven, straw, or airy plastic basket to hold clean towels instead of storing them under the sink.



And lastly, a few of my favorite organization resources to get you started:
Stacks and Stacks
The Container Store

Good luck with those drawers! It’s absolutely worth the effort. {Just remember to keep everything in the place you make for it, once it’s got a spot.}

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January 14, 2009 2:00 am

Oh man! Too many choices! But thanks for the help.