Inside a Professional Organizer’s Bathroom Vanity: 7 Items They Can’t Live Without
Under-the-sink isn’t so scary anymore.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:07 AM
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One of the main issues with organizing a bathroom is that there’s just so much stuff. From tiny hair ties and everyday cosmetics to bulky cleaning supplies and bubble bath essentials, it can be challenging to figure out where all the odds and ends should go. Luckily, we found the people who know exactly how to achieve streamlined simplicity.
Professional organizers do some of their best work in the bathroom. Just take a peek at any of their Instagram feeds: They’re flooded with images of awe-inspiring vanities and pristine countertops. Their secret? They’ve compartmentalized their personal belongings with the help of a few genius products—seven, to be exact.
Ahead, we asked five expert organizers to share the items they use to keep their own bathrooms looking fresh and clean.
A Lazy Susan
Lazy Susans are the little-known backbone of a neat cabinet, which is why you’ll find more than just one in a pro organizer’s home. The turntables can be used for snacks, spices, and even pill bottles and Band-Aids.
“Medicine cabinets come in all shapes and sizes, but my one go-to is always the YouCopia Crazy Susan,” says Meggie Mangione of Organized Life Design. Her pick features three separate bins with handles so you can grab a bulk of items at a moment’s notice. “It’s easy to categorize with removable bins so I can grab the Tylenol and thermometer without even turning a light on,” she adds.
“If you’re feeling like taking it to the next level, you can split up allergy, stomach, cold/flu in each compartment (or any other ailments you may have),” shares Meg Markland of Neat by Meg. The Houston-based pro’s lazy Susan of choice is The Container Store’s ever-popular Interdesign turntable. While the separate compartments aren’t removable, its five divided sections let you divide and conquer a variety of goods—from medicine and cleaning supplies to travel shampoo and backup toiletries.
A Modular Set of Drawers
The scary cabinet under the sink isn’t going to clean itself. Luckily, organizing expert Rachel Rosenthal of Rachel and Company says it’s one of the easiest places to tackle first if you’re still procrastinating spring-cleaning. “Under-the-sink organization is one of the quicker spots to dive into during spring organization,” says Rosenthal. “Sure, there are pipes and short dimensions to deal with, but [it only takes] a couple of minutes of dedication to this area to make it a small but mighty powerhouse for your storage needs.”
To maximize this quirky space, Markland suggests thinking beyond baskets. “[The Like-It Drawers] are my absolute favorite under-sink organizer,” she shares. “They come in different widths and heights to accommodate plumbing and help you take full advantage of that often-underutilized space.”
For immediate visibility, a mesh set of drawers will allow you to see everything you have in one fell swoop (including any products you should probably toss).
“I like to use mesh drawers on either side of the obstructing pipe (paired with bin clips for labeling) to store bulky categories, like hair tools and makeup, and then include a divided turntable in between to corral smaller items, like hair products and accessories, cleaning wipes, and more,” shares Rosenthal.
A Vanity Tray
Holly Blakey of Breathing Room Organization only keeps the absolute essentials on her bathroom countertop—think deodorant, soap, and toothbrushes. Elsewhere, the pro uses simple, streamlined trays to corral goods in her shallow bathroom vanity. “I don’t use bins or containers because I’ve found it’s tough to grab things quickly,” she says.
Her tip for divvying up a shallow drawer? “Create designated trays for categories (a tray for face, hair, medicine),” she continues. “In my vanity, the top tray is for medicines—hardest for little ones to reach—the middle tray is all hair, and the bottom tray is all face products.”
Stackable Storage Bins
If you don’t have enough junk to justify drawers, take advantage of the often-ignored nook under the sink with versatile bins. “Stackable containers are a great way to maximize the vertical space and contain items by category,” suggests Cincinnati-based organizer Danielle Boerger of Simply in Style. When you get home with your brand-new bins, prioritize grouping things by category (i.e., face, skincare, hair) instead of size, color, or frequency.
Transparent bins are also a great way to divide and conquer a spacious bathroom or hall closet. “For my deep medicine cabinet (and many of my clients’) I use iDesign’s deep acrylic bins,” says Blakey. “The key is to only have what you need. Toss anything expired, broken (makeup, medicine lids), or [that you] never use.”
Brandie Larsen and Ryan Eiseland, the duo behind Home Sort, are also big proponents of streamlined bins. “[Clear containers] are modern, fresh, and see-through, which makes grabbing what you need a cinch,” says Larsen. Even if you’re not in a rush to find something, they’re just pleasing to look at. “Your bathroom will look organized and sleek,” adds Eiseland. “These containers make ugly organization a thing of the past.”
A Cordless LED Mirror
Acrylic bins and drawer dividers are certainly essential to an organized bathroom, but they aren’t the only thing standing in the way between you and chaos. The tools and products you use on a day-to-day basis should be as functional as your storage.
“A six-foot-by-six-foot bathroom wall mirror does not help when you’re trying to master your eyeliner,” says Mangione. “You will always find my Simple Human Mirror on my countertop. This one is my favorite because it runs on a rechargeable battery so there’s no need to worry about cord clutter.”
A Cosmetic-Specific Organizer
Bronzer, brushes, blushes—oh my! It’s hard to keep odd-shaped cosmetics in line and tossing everything into one communal basket won’t help your case either. “I’m typically team ‘nothing on the counter,’ but when I am short on drawer space, I love adding these acrylic drawers to a vanity,” says Markland. This acrylic system comes in an array of shapes and sizes so you can customize your storage to meet your needs. “The smaller drawers are great for makeup, while the larger one is perfect for face and hair products,” she adds.
If you constantly find yourself running out the door, having your go-to essentials on-hand and out in the open will shave some time off your morning routine. This luxe-looking glass organizer will inspire you to prioritize only the necessities.
“Having my daily products at arm’s reach is a lifesaver, especially when I’m chasing a toddler to put on her shoes in between each step of my skincare routine,” shares Mangione. “I keep it neat by storing in this sleek stackable organizer.”
Finally, your space is looking fresh, but wait, where did you put the cotton swabs again? Unless you have a rockstar memory, Rosenthal suggests properly identifying what’s what. But don’t go purchase a fancy label-maker just yet: These under-$10 dry-erase clips are a wallet-friendly, low-committal way to categorize your stuff.
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