Small Space Organization Series: Under the Bathroom Sink

Hi there!

I’m so excited about how many views I got on the start of my small space organization series! I also got some really awesome messages from friends and family about how I was inspiring you guys to get more organized and that makes me beyond motivated to keep sharing and keep writing about how I organize!

Today, I’ll be sharing with you one of my FAVORITE spaces of my home: under my bathroom sink. Like I said before, I live in 750 square feet of space and I don’t have a linen closet or anything that works for holding toiletries, toilet paper, cosmetics, extra things for showering, etc. So, I have had to take the space under my bathroom sink and make it into what would be like a bathroom closet. Here’s what I’m working with:

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The first tip I have for keeping your small bathroom organized is:

Keep the bare minimum on the counter.

The only things I like to have on the counter are functional things, nothing decorative. The reason for this is to cut down the amount of items I have to move when I wipe it down or deep clean it. One of my favorite professional organizers, Alejandra Costello, says you should take time every night before bed to clear everything off your bathroom sink and wipe it down. I try my absolute best to follow this rule, even though I can sometimes fall off the wagon. Having a clean bathroom sink, especially in a small space, really makes the space look bigger and less cluttered.

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As you can see, I only keep our toothbrush holder, hand soap, a hand towel, and my favorite q-tip and make-up remover pad container.

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Okay, let’s get to the good stuff now. I’m going to start from left to right and then show you the two drawers that are on either side of the sink and above the cabinets.

But first, I have another tip:

Think Vertical

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I use these stackable bins on either end of the space under my bathroom sink. They help take storage upward, without having to pull boxes out every time I want to access something. These organizers are from Joanne’s. I got them on sale in the seasonal section for back to college. I think they were three dollars for a pack of three, however I have also seen similar products at the Dollar Tree! What a steal!

I keep all the things I use frequently in these organizers. On the bottom I keep extra razors, Matt’s extra soap and extra contacts. In the middle bin, I keep tampons and only tampons. Which leads me to my third tip

Take everything out of its box.

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This one small middle “shelf” can hold almost two boxes of tampons and takes up about 1/2 to 1/3 of the space as if I stored my tampons in their original boxes.

Up top I keep a bunch of miscellaneous things, like a box of extra q-tips, an extra soap bar holder, some wet ones, and a small first aid kit.

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Sorry these pictures are so dark, the lighting under the sink is obviously non-existent.

To the left of the blue shelves, I keep shoe boxes for extra things that I access very infrequently. For all of these items, I keep one of each thing out at a time and when that runs out, I go into these boxes and get a new one. I’m only accessing these things about once a month or once every couple of months. Even though I’m accessing these things infrequently, I still like to know where I can find them when the time comes. Which is why I recommend that you

label everything.

I use my label maker to label all the boxes, shelves and organizers I keep under the sink. It helps me know where everything goes if I run out, it helps Matt know where to put things and it keeps me from putting things away in a place other than the place they belong.

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On top of the three shoe boxes, I keep a three compartment snap organizer that I got when I went to college. In it I keep nail polish, nail polish remover, and cotton balls. When it’s time to do my nails, I just pull it right out and everything I need is in one place.

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In some spaces, like this one for example, you can’t think vertical and have to work with what you’ve got. Working around the J pipe under the sink can be a challenge if you’re trying to “think vertical.”

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I keep all of my hot tools in a basket with the cords wrapped (kinda) around themselves. As you can see here, not all the cords of all of my hair tools are wrapped perfectly, but like I said in the first post of this series, having a home for things is more important than having everything look pretty. If I’m blow drying or straightening my hair in a rush, it’s so easy to just dump the things I’m done using back in this basket and be on my way, which helps me keep a more organized and orderly bathroom because it takes little effort to put things back in their place.

It’s more important to have a place to quickly drop something than it is for your space to be and look perfect.

I cannot stress this enough. I’m not the kind of organized that is “Pinterest worthy,” but I am organized because I know that when I’m in a hurry, I want to drop things and go. I do not spend extra time to make things look nice. The more time it takes, the less likely I am to put it all away.

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Directly underneath the J pipe, I keep a cosmetics bag with some make-up I only use for special occasions, not daily. Which reminds me,

Keep things you don’t use every day tucked away.

It really pays to keep the prime real estate space for things you are accessing every single day or multiple times a day and keep the things you don’t in other areas that are harder to access. While you’re still using space that would otherwise be empty, you’re also maximizing the much-needed “everyday space,” like in your medicine cabinet or vanity drawers for example.

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Next to the make-up bag, I keep some extra bathroom items that I got good deals on coupling, or we just have extra of. Usually, it’s an extra shampoo, conditioner, clear care, and saline solution. Which reminds me:

always leave room for growth.

You’re eventually gonna have more stuff, so leave room for it! Right now my growth space is all being used, but when I need the things that are currently occupying the space, I’ll have room for extra items.

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Yup that’s all my toilet paper. I have nowhere else to store it! But doesn’t it look pretty in this blue faux woven basket? I think so! I got the basket at Joanne’s during the same back to college sale for around five dollars. It keeps the toilet paper from sliding and rolling so that other rolls sit on top perfectly. This takes me back to the “taking everything out of the box” tip. If you take the toilet paper out of the terrible plastic casing, it not only looks better, but allows you to manipulate the shape they take to fit your space instead of having to make sacrifices for how the store chooses to package them.

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I turned the flash on for this picture, which is why it’s so harsh. Bare with me while I get used to this whole “photography” thing.

These are the same stackable bins that were on the right hand side of the cabinet, but they hold different things. Again, these are frequently used items, but not things I need on a daily basis. I like to keep them easy to access, but out of the way.

The cosmetic bag in the middle holds a microdermabrasion tool and pads to go with it. There are also some pore strips in that bin somewhere. (I took them out of the box because I like to follow my own rules.) The top cosmetic bag holds a bunch of extra headbands, hair ties, claws, etc.

Let’s move on to the drawers above all the spaces I just showed you. We have two drawers. One is Matt’s and one is mine. Mine is on the right hand side of the sink and it looks like this:

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One of the absolute best things I ever did for organization and cleanliness is keeping all my makeup in bins in this drawer.

For as long as I have worn make-up I have struggled with putting it back in it’s place and leaving it all over the bathroom counter. I’ve been on a quest for the longest time to find something that worked for me. I tried using a small pull-out drawer organizer, I tried using a cosmetic bag, I tried using a compartment snap organizer. I’ve tried it all, and my attempts to keep all my make-up off the counter and in it’s place have all failed, until now. When we moved here I knew that this drawer was destined to hold all of my make-up.

When I’m putting on my face, I open this drawer and leave it open. I put on my foundation, throw it back in the drawer. I put on my bronzer, throw it back in the drawer. I put on my eyeliner, throw it back in the drawer. I put everything back in the drawer because all I have to do is drop it back in. It is a one step process, which works for me. The most important step in organizing is to:

find a system that works for you.

Everyone’s habits are different. Therefore, the way one person organizes will not work the same as her neighbor. You need to figure out how to organize for your habits. If you struggle with always leaving one particular item out on the counter, devise a system–like this one–that makes not putting it away harder than putting it away.

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In the back I keep the case for my glasses, my headband for washing my face, and a drawer organizer with bobby pins, hair ties, and my most worn headbands.

I also gave Matt his very own drawer! Wasn’t that nice of me? Haha just kidding, we like to share our space evenly, even though I am a diva. It looks like this:

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I’m not exactly sure what all of this stuff is, but it’s manly and it’s his. He keeps things in this drawer pretty neat and orderly and organized in a way that meets his needs. What a lucky lady I am to have a guy who’s just as tidy as me!

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I still need to make a few adjustments to this system, but so far it’s working out great! I have extra storage above the sink inside my medicine cabinet, but hat’s a whole other post for a whole other day.

I hope you guys have gotten some good tips for how to organize your small space! Storing things underneath the bathroom sink isn’t always ideal, but when you’re living in close quarters, you have to make do with the space available. Keep an eye out for a post next week on the inside of my medicine cabinet! See you guys next time!

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