The bathroom is a collecting point for countless toiletries and knick-knacks that can make for a big mess. Here's how to keep them within reach but out of the way.
If the devil is in the details, your bathroom could slide into perdition at any moment. Too apocalyptic, you say? Consider your assortment of toiletries and knickknacks: tweezers and Band-Aids; lip balm and makeup; medicines and Q-tips; toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and toilet brushes; cotton balls, bath salts, and aspirin-everything that you have brought together in one 5 x 9-foot space.
If it takes you more than 15 minutes to find needed items in your bathroom, you may need to impose bathroom organization at the micro level. Here's how:
IF THERE'S NO ROOM TO ORGANIZE, MAKE SOME
The basic principle of micro-organization in the bathroom is obvious: Sort items into appropriate containers and find a place for the containers. Take the attitude that there is room for the containers, and that you have to either find it or make it.
Thompson Price, president of Callier and Thompson Kitchens, Baths, and Appliances in St. Louis, says space for cabinets or shelves is often available over the toilet, above the shower head or even in the walls.
"We've done doors on a wall in the bathroom," he says, "where you open it up and basically build a cabinet that fits in between the studs in the wall." Thompson says this type of built-in storage is well within reach of low-end bath remodeling budgets.
"That's why going into the walls and getting that extra space is very valuable," she says, "because it can hold the little jars of Q-Tips and cotton balls and extra soap."
All the jars, bottles, baskets and other containers that hold your things are potential accessories in your bath's overall look, just like the towel bars, robe holders and toilet paper holders that are normally used to accent the room. Not surprisingly, manufacturers have designed plenty of products that can improve both the organization and look of your bathroom.
GO NATURAL WITH BASKETRY
Some storage containers fit better with specific looks than others.
"I think the natural earth tone look is very popular now," says Janice Costa, editor of Kitchen & Bath Design News. "Everybody kind of has that feeling that they want the sense of the great outdoors, the sense of natural materials." Baskets go well with this look, both in terms of color and natural texture.
GET DOWN TO BRASS TACKS
Of course, sometimes the best approach to storage is to just find the most efficient use for the space available. Not every knickknack in your bathroom is so attractive that it merits being kept out in the open.
Lipper International offers an expandable bamboo cosmetic tray for every bathroom utility. This tray allows for convenient storage of cosmetics in shallow, stacked trays that make the most of space while allowing easy access to what you want. This is a great place to browse for the items you need to organize your bath down to the last nail file.