Perhaps your bathroom has always been too small, or maybe your family simply outgrew it. Either way, a few clever bathroom storage ideas can make a big impact on the way your bathroom functions. There are many ways to maximize storage space, get rid of the clutter and take back your bathroom.
Planning Bathroom Storage Ideas
If you're planning to remodel your bathroom, remember to work storage spaces into your layout. Adding storage during the design phase is often easier than trying to find storage after the fact. A great way to add storage without cutting into the room is to build shelves or niches into the wall. Like a traditional medicine cabinet, you can place these nooks between the wall studs for storage space that doesn't take up any of your bathroom's floor space.
When your budget allows, remodeling is also a time when you can steal a bit of space from another room. If there is a large room next to your bathroom, consider making it a bit smaller to enlarge your bathroom or to build a large linen closet. Unless doing so requires moving a load-bearing wall, you can often bump your bathroom out a bit fairly easily.
Choosing multipurpose fixtures also helps. Many shower stalls and tub surrounds, for instance, now include built-in shelves so you can get rid of that unsightly, overflowing shower caddy. You can also hang a second shower curtain rod across your shower and hang back brushes, washcloths and other items on it. If you're tiling your walls, look for tiles that can help. Some special tiles have built-in toothbrush holders that let you keep your toothbrush handy without taking up counter space.
Extra Storage on the Walls
If you don't have enough time, money or enthusiasm to remodel your bathroom, you may have to simply play the hand with which you've been dealt. When you feel like there's nowhere left to go in your bathroom, look up. You can always hang shelves on your walls to hold towels, a few rolls of toilet paper or your medicine bottles.
Like all flat surfaces, shelves can admittedly get cluttered and messy. You can avoid this by getting creative. For example, Better Homes & Gardens suggests hanging decorative planters on your wall to hold various items. You can also use baskets, wall-mounted mail holders or any other vessel that suits your fancy.
It's a good idea to keep things you use all the time handy, but go as high as you can with items you use less often. There's likely plenty of space for a shelf above your bathroom door that could hold infrequently used guest towels or spare tissue boxes.
Maximize Bathroom Vanity Cabinet Space
If you do have a vanity or closet in your small bathroom, make sure you're getting the most out of it. Install shelves so you have multiple layers of storage and consider placing a lazy Susan in the cupboard. This makes it easier to get to things and will help you more easily find them. For small items, consider installing hooks on the interior cabinet walls or inside the door so you can hang them out of the way.
You can also install a tension rod or dowel near the top of your cabinet. You can then hang spray bottles from it so they're not taking up valuable space at the bottom of your vanity cabinet. Another excellent way to save space is to mount magnetic strips inside your cupboard or medicine cabinet door. Scissors, nail clippers, bobby pins and other metal items will stick to the magnet and free up some space elsewhere.
Shoot for smaller packaging to save space as well. Do you really need a big box of Q-tips, or can you save space by standing them in a small canister? Don't waste the cabinet space you do have by storing superfluous product packaging. If it's safe and sanitary to do so, throw out bulky packaging instead of storing it.
Need Extra Space? Just Roll With It
If you're short on space, HGTV recommends adding a wheeled cart to your bathroom. You can buy a cart specifically for this purpose, but you could just as easily repurpose an old microwave or bar cart. Putting the cart on wheels lets you tuck your toiletries out of the way when you're not using them. You can still put it front and center, however, when you do need it closer to the shower or vanity.
You could even roll your cart right out of the bathroom and tuck it somewhere else. If you have frequent guests, for instance, you could fill a cart with extra towels, soaps and other goodies and roll it into the bathroom for them. When they leave, you can restock and easily remove the cart until you need it again. This is also a great idea when hosting parties, allowing you to place extra toilet paper, feminine products and other necessities in plain view for those who need them and then whisking it all away when the party is over.
Think Outside the Box
In this case, thinking outside the box for bathroom storage ideas means stepping outside the four walls of your bathroom. In many older homes, it was quite common to have a linen closet outside of the bathroom rather than inside. If you don't have a designated linen closet, turn a small closet into one or buy a small, free-standing cabinet and tuck it in a room near your bathroom. This can also serve as a great place to store extra toothpaste, toilet paper packages and first-aid supplies as well as linens.
It's also important that you don't let an open design make you feel boxed in by an apparent lack of storage. When working with a small bathroom, for example, design professionals often add touches that make the space feel bigger. One way to make a cramped bathroom feel bigger is to ditch the vanity and go with a floating vanity or a wall-mounted sink. Another is to add lots of open shelving rather than cupboards.
It's true that you won't be able to hide items behind cabinet doors if you keep things open, but that doesn't mean you don't have good storage spaces. You can install a floating shelf under a floating vanity to keep an open feel while adding storage. You can also roll up some towels and tuck them into a decorative basket under the sink. Placing decorative boxes with lids on open shelves is another great way to keep an open feel while giving you plenty of places to stash your more private items.
Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.