Organizing The Bathroom

Learn how to create vanities and extra storage spaces that can help organize any bathroom.

from Householder's Survival Manual

The bathroom calls for well-organized storage compartments and shelves to accommodate things both large and small. And while you could store such items as cleaning tools and supplies, the hairdryer, and extra bars of soap in another spot, it is handy to have everything you need in the bathroom at your fingertips.

Bear in mind, however, that the humidity and moisture in a bathroom limit what you can safely keep there. It may not be the place to put extra or guest towels, for example, unless you are expecting company.

Getting Organized
Nearly every bath has a medicine cabinet over the sink. This shallow compartment is misnamed, for it is the last place you should store medications; the humidity can harm the contents. A better spot for medicines is high in the linen closet — a dark, dry, cool place that is out of reach of children. The medicine cabinet is traditionally a place where out-of-date sundries such as cough medicine and eyedrops are kept. Make it a policy to inventory these shelves every month or so, and throw out
old bottles and jars. You will find the extra space you have created is very useful for the new sundries that you have collected.

Adding Storage Space
If you are like most householders, your bathroom is small and has little, if any, storage space. Happily, home centers and specialty closet stores are filled with shelving units and cabinets designed specifically for the bath. Before you venture into a store or order from a catalog, you need to calculate the space you have. Look for likely storage room under the sink, over the toilet, and in any unused nook or corner. Decide if you want your bath items visible or hidden — or both. Now measure your spaces, and you are ready to start looking at storage units.

Choosing A Storage Style
For a country-style feeling, you can hang wicker baskets on the wall and add an inexpensive wicker chest of drawers. Or for a more contemporary look, you can choose a covered-wire shelf system. The covering makes these wire shelves suitable for wet areas. In the shower, a covered wire rack can hang on the shower head or stick to a corner of the stall with suction cups. A covered-wire tray can span the tub and hold shampoo, rinse, and a bookrack.

In a children’s bath, you can use a mesh bag to hold toys while they drip after a bath and keep other bathtime needs on bright-colored plastic shelves.

Creating A Vanity
If your sink doesn’t sit in a cabinet, making it part of a vanity, you can get the same effect by adding a skirt to the sink. A handsome pleated skirt around the sink can hide all kinds of cleansers and sponges in a plain and inexpensive utility bucket.

An easy way to make a sink skirt is to measure fabric to go around the sink — three times to make pleats or twice for gathers. Cut the fabric to height, adding a 2-inch hem allowance to both the top and bottom. Hem the skirt and make the pleats or gathers on the sewing machine. Machine-sew a length of loop tape (one side of a length of hook and loop tape) to the wrong side of the top hem of the skirt. Fasten the other (hook) side of the tape to the sink with a hot-glue gun. With the tape fastener system, you can easily remove the skirt, put it in the laundry while you wash the bathroom floor, and then reattach the clean skirt when it is dry.

If your sink is set inside a cabinet, the cabinet is not likely to have shelves or other storage compartments of its own. You’ll find that there are many different add-on shelving units that you can easily install. Some are attached to the cabinet door; others are set on rollers and can be pulled out for easy access to the contents, even if it sits in the back of the cabinet.