Toiletry Storage - an epiphany!

claire_de_lunaAugust 16, 2006

I'm starting to plan for a bathroom remodel and was thinking about all the different ways I've stored toiletries and what isn't working for me. I currently have some deep drawers in the bathroom that are going to go away because things get lost in there. I think it's the idea of looking down on the tops of bottles without really seeing what they are which bugs me. I'm also using some space in a hallway closet for the ''overflow'' that has 15 inch deep slide-out shelves, but that hasn't been working for me very well either.

I had this idea that if I could have a shallow storage closet like a lot of kitchen pantries, I could find what I need a little easier. Since my bathroom is very small, I decided to load a tall, skinny bookcase I have (70 inches tall, 16 1/2 inches wide and 12 inches deep and many shelves) with all the toiletries I own to see if I could make it work. I'm happy to say it does, and I can see everything easily besides! I'm relieved to know something that size (with doors) will definitely work.

How are you storing your toiletries, and how is it working for you?

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I sorted mine into plastic trays that I put into those deep drawers. You're right, though. The deep drawers are not very user friendly. I like your idea. Sounds like it could be used as a spice cabinet as well.

I need to declutter all my bathroom items. Since I organized it over a year ago, there really are not that many items that I use. The rest really need to go.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 1:09PM
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yay! Shallow storage, and being able to see the label--two things dear to my heard. I relabel stuff on the tops, so I can see them in drawers; but that won't work well w/ toiletries.

In fact, I'd suggest you reconsider the size of that bookcase, and thinka bout getting storage that's about 4 to 6 inches deep inside. Measure your widest thing in that cabinet, and consider having your storage be JUST deep enough to accommodate it.

I don't have many toiletries.

I store them in an "over the john" cabinet that's about 5 inches deep inside (and it's a bit too deep, in some places), or in the medicine cabinet. I containerize stuff in the "otj" cabinet--all the tooth-related stuff in one plastic box (thanks, swap buddy!) all the bandage/first aid stuff in another.
All the makeup in the bedroom, bcs I seldom use it.

I used to think those huge, ultrashallow medicine cabinet mirrors were stupid, but I've come to think they're actually sort of smart--all the stuff in a single layer! nothing hiding behind anything else, so you can see it all,a nd you don't knock over the stuff in front.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 1:33PM
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Talley Sue, you made me go look! (I still have my toiletry items packed into the bookcase.) One thing I'm noticing is a lot of the more ''personal'' feminine items take a bit more room, and the bookcase is great size for those. (It's still pretty small.) I can also store things like boxes of toothpaste, q-tips, hair color etc. front to back (deep) and save a bit of space that way. I also want to be able to store the cleaners for the bathroom there, in a handled carry-all, so it's convenient to clean the room. Right now, all the cleaners are in my attic stairwell, which is fine for one bathroom, but too far removed from the other.

The items I have for related first aid is stored in my hallway closet with the slide-out shelves, along with my laundry supplies. (Forgive me; I'm thinking out loud here!) I'm also planning on two medicine cabinets for each pedestal sink for the small personal items. I would however, love a bit more room for TP (which I tend to stock up on) and paper towels that I like to use in each bathroom for frequent handwashing.

You DID jog my mind in a meaningful way! I remember when the kitchen was being finished, there was a lot of space between the studs that was begging to be used (in my mind), and there is a small space in my bathroom would be the perfect place to do just that! I know just how to implement this too, in a way that no one will ever notice.

Thanks Talley Sue...I love when a good idea grabs hold like this!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 2:43PM
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Here is a small refinement that I wish I had done to the tall space GC found between my studs. The cabinet has one tall door that is too awkward. I wish the door were divided into two sections -- an upper and a lower. Upper would be for TP and less used things and the lower would be for things I use every day.

I happen to keep my make up in that cabinet instead of in the medicine cabinet over the sink. I took the top of a container store lucite box which just fits on the shelf -- small enough that I can move it with one hand. All my stuff, brushes, etc. goes into that upside down top. I put in on the sink --do what I need --and put it back on the shelf. Works like a dream for me.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 5:11PM
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you're right, Claire--you *will* need some deeper storage, for stuff that's bulkier. I hadn't thought about it that much--just pictured all that space w/ little stuff. But boy would it be nice to stash plenty of TP in the bathroom!

I put pockets (cut down a shoe-pocket organizer, in fact, and staple-gunned it on) on the BACKS OF THE SINK CABINET DOORS. I can reach the doors when I'm seated, and that's where I stashed all the feminine supplies--no standing up.

I thought briefly about getting a cabinet made to have a door on the side, for accessing toilet paper and stuff while seated.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 7:35PM
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elizabeth, that's a good point, and well taken. I appreciate that two doors would make access a little easier, and fixing it so it's most convenient for what you're storing there would take consideration. Is your recessed cabinet next to the sink? How did you finish it on the inside? Do you have a picture? I'd love to see it.

Great idea TS on the shoe organizer attached to the back of your cabinet doors! I'm going to try and make a niche in the pocket door wall that's going to close off the toilet from the rest of bathroom. (If my plan works, I'll be storing ''some'' of the TP there, to be restocked from the supply as necessary!)

I have an idea about how I'd like this to be incorporated in my bathroom but need to speak with a carpenter to see if my idea is feasible or not...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 9:33PM
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Claire -- no picture but picture wouldn't add much info. . My tall door and recessed cabinet finish inside is paint grade wood, painted white. Shelves are laminate covered white whatever. Shelves are adjustable.

My bathroom is odd: Think galley kitchen open at both ends. Has two doors. The cabinet is across from the toilet and next to the shower. (We took out the tub.) Sink is to the right of the toilet. Simple, small NYC bathroom.

But where ever you find space between studs is the way to go.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 6:12PM
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Post script -- while I am at it, I should tell you that I have an outlet in that cabinet and my hairdryer is always plugged into it. The cord is long enough that I can reach to the mirror over the sink (or the you can think abou it like the bathroom is small enough so that the cord reaches the sink). I also keep my cell phone charger plugged and when I am charging the phone I let the phone hang out of the cabinet so I don't forget it -- I rarely do.

I just counted -- I have 6 shelves -- all spaced at different heights.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 8:12PM
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elizabeth, I have a set of hot rollers that are always plugged in, right now in one of my drawers. I definitely want that option somewhere in the bathroom. (I hear you about the bathroom being small enough that the cord reaches the sink!)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 9:00PM
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Our home had a homemade vanity that jutted out about 5 inches, 8 inches off the floor. We enclosed that space and added a drop down door. It's the perfect size for rolls of toilet paper and boxes of tissues.

Our drawer problem is just the opposite...only two and very small and shallow. Everything was going into the vanity and getting jumbled. I took various size boxes and covered them with contact paper, color coordinated to the shelf paper. Now the Hiz, Herz, and Ourz stuff is segregated and each box slides out for easy access.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:57AM
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jll0306 reminds me that Claire didn't say whether the hiz,herz,ourz is an issue. The saving grace for my small bathroom is that there is another one (even smaller) on the other side of the master bedroom. I make DH keep all our "sick" stuff in his medicine cabinet -- no aspirin / neosporin cluttering up my space.

That "all herz" probably is what makes my tall narrow cabinet plus medicine chest work for me. I have plenty of storage for my needs--especially since I was ruthless about throwing out old and intermittently used products. The only thing I keep visible is a vintage wooden box on the window ledge that has lipstick inside. I love the serentity of the space.

One thing about DH's cabinet -- I went to a lot of trouble (and some expense) to make sure his water pic lived inside the cabinet and could be plugged inside. He has to remove the water thing, fill it up, put it back in the cabinet but no part of the water pic has to be on the sink. So no one (including guests since it doubles as guest bath) has to see the water pic. Plus this arrangement frees up deck space on the sink.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 1:13PM
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Jan, isn't it great how even something that seems too small can be organized into order? A serene space is something I really aspire to, and it sounds like you've done it.

Elizabeth, I've always tried to keep our ''stuff'' somewhat separate. That way if his is a mess (or mine!) neither one of us are bothered by the other's clutter. (I'm all for keeping fussing with each other to a minimum.) I'm going through it all and streamlining as much as I can, while everything is ''outside of their literal boxes''. I'd like it all to have its designated spot, without having to the use the space for anything that doesn't belong there. That's what Isn't working for me now, so I'm thinking the more ''places'' I have for particulars, the better off my storage solution will be.

Re: water piks and electric toothbrushes (& hair dryers and hot rollers)...they should most definitely live inside the cabinets, plugged in and ready to go!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 1:28PM
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Claire, I think we all know the problem you're describing.

In one bathroom there is a goofy cabinet over the toilet and things can easily fall into the water. So I put clear plastic shoeboxes in there, and they slide out easily.

It also has an open shelf on the bottom, and that was even worse for things falling into the toilet. So I carefully measured the space, and took the dimensions and my tape measure in my purse to the store. I found three tall lightweight baskets that fit in there just perfectly, and hold lots of ugly little things neatly out of sight.

In my other bath I have a cab under the sink that's good for cleaners, and I have several drawers. I do love drawers. I have an "owie" drawer with all the bandaids and antibiotic cream in there. I have a "spare" drawer with spare soaps and toothbrushes. Another drawer is just hair stuff, scrunchies and the likes. Another one has pain meds in it. I don't have any little kids in the house, so no worries about having to keep dangerous stuff out of reach.

I mounted a big cabinet above that toilet, and filled it with plastic sheboxes, too. Those are great for holding all the little things. One of the boxes is just for cold meds. Another is homeopathics. Another is tanning lotions and the like.

But all in all, I should throw out half the stuff.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 11:51AM
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things can easily fall into the water.

Ummmm, don't you guys shut the lid on your toilet?

Everyone in MY family does. And my sis, when we were growing up, made a big stink about it, so we all did.

i can always tell when someone who is not family has been in our bathroom--they leave the lid up! So not shutting the lid must be very, very common.

Talk about yuck! Even if you DON'T have a cabinet over the toilet.

I think I'm going to get out the P-touch and put a label on the underside of the lid that says, "SHUT THE LID so stuff doesn't fall in!"

I got DH to train himself to shut the lid by pointing out that the cat would drink from the toilet if he didn't--that grossed him out too much, and he always shuts it.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 7:03PM
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Big Grin...;)

Yes, I'm a lid shutter. The old fashion toilets speeeeeeeew too much into the air as they whirl around the bowl before everything disappears. My new mantra is Toto, Toto, Toto. I'm also the handwashing Queen.

Have you ever noticed when you travel, some places don't have lids on their toilets? And no place to set anything down? (That part is a blessing if you just think about it.)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 7:32PM
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Just jumpin' in here. I've got two idea's that have yet to be tested due to a snails pace of a remodle - but I've had time to think (of unaffordable things).

Bathroom 1 (being carved in yucky basement)
Prob : store TP and organize library & fem. products
Solve: A free standing shoe orgaizer cabinet with pull down 'drawers'. See the Ikea link below. TP rolls fit perfectly (I measured!) accoss double tall and all sorts of reading material can be cramed in there, plus a box or two of lady things ( I agree- without standing up! ) If I pick the Nyland, I can paint it to match & it's short enough to hold a cup of coffee while reading.
Cost: $80

Bathroom 2 (existing)
Prob : "Open up" a basic 5' x 8' full bath that has no storage.
Solve: Frameless shallow wall cabinets with mirrored doors, small door pulls - all side by side & double tall across the 5' span over toliet & sink - stopping at the shower curtain. With Ikea's Vattern series, I'll need 8 at 15" wide & 27" tall. During assembly we'll have to cut the depth down to 8"-6". The top of the cab will be set 8" below the ceiling to allow for lighting completely across the top.
Cost: $480.

*Last year I talked my sis into doing a single row completely across her 8 foot double vanity and she loves the duel purpose and simplicity of design. Plus they put puck lighting on top of & under the cab's for an extra layer of lighting in addition to the existing overhead.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA product link

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 11:22PM
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I was thinking about getting something like this - it insets between the studs, and there is a nice choice of doors (see below)

Here is a link that might be useful: WG wood products

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 3:27PM
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nutynetie, good ideas for your bathrooms! I wish I had enough room for those particular units. Good luck with your project, and getting all the storage you need.

postum, thanks for the link. I'm seeing a lot of people using this supplier so it looks like they have the right products for little spaces. I'm definitely keeping this in mind as I do some space planning!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 4:11PM
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postum - look at the link below for a product similar. It's 16 1/2" wide so you'd need to plan the stud spacing, but lots of "nook" type & unobtrusive storage. I'm wanting to put the same in my hall way for display shelving.

Here is a link that might be useful: Glass-door wall cabinet Insert

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 11:49PM
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Keeping an eye on this thread since a bathroom remodel is our next "project".

We are lid-closers too and I, also, know when a non-resident has last used the bathroom LOL.

There was no policy enforced when I was growing up (and I have 5 brothers!)

But when first married, I left the seat in the "girl" psotion, and he left the seat in the "boy" position. So when we discussed this, we decided to keep the lid closed so that to access the toilet it is mutually inconvenient :-)

Combined with the "eewww" factor, it was a great solution!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 9:20AM
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Maura, I love we decided to keep the lid closed so that to access the toilet it is mutually inconvenient.

That's a perfect compromise!

I hope some of you are still with me here...I'm wondering about this today. Do you prefer built-in storage for your bathroom, or do you like unfitted cabinets?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 12:25PM
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well, I'll confess; i keep the lid closed because I dropped my clothes in the toilet at school in 6th grade. Ever since, exposed water makes me antsy--I can't even soak the dishes in the kitchen sink!

I think I'd prefer built-ins for cleaning, and unfitted for looks. Which means I'd *buy* built-ins.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 7:02PM
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I love your comments Talley Sue. What a great story,and I am going to use it at thanksgiving to explain why washing dishes is such a problem for me."I wish I could help with the dishes but--ever since 6th grade---in fact I have to sit down now I just get weak all over looking at the dishwater" Pass me some pie please.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 10:32AM
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Talley sue. I don't put the lid down on the john anymore. Sammy, one of my cats will jump up, squat and "tinkie" in the john.(He never misses)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 10:55PM
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Here, I thought Talley was just a great housekeeper and had a germ-less bathroom. LOL.

I like vanity cabinets and I really like being able to store a couple of dozen rolls of TP right where I need it. We have the original tub and toilets in pink and peachish beige, but someone took out the sinks :( I just put in non-descript oak cabinets which I'm painting for now. When I find the pink sink I can afford to ship up here, I'll either rip out that cabinet or just change the top to have boomerang laminte put in.

I don't really care for over the toilet storage. It just always feels so crowded next to the tub with our bathroom set-ups. Our saving factor is that we have three full bathrooms for 6 people. The DH uses the one on the bedroom floor and my two older boys share one. That leave me to share one with the two little kids and since it's on our main living floor I keep it in the best shape anyway. I don't use the other two, so keeping them clean isn't my job.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 1:24AM
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Years ago, when we had our bathroom remodeled, the room was completely gutted. The contractor was going to put the tub in the middle of one long wall (not too long; this is a small room). This seemed wasteful to me, and I had him shift the tub left as far as he could, and then he put in a very nice cabinet on the right of the tub - only about a foot and a half wide, but it has been a blessing. Meds, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, extra soap, etc. all are stored nicely - and it's right in front of the toilet, in case the toilet paper roll runs out!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 10:44PM
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I have a tall, skinny, deep cabinet at the end of my tub; it's great for towels. but for smaller stuff, like toilet-bowl cleaner, it's annoyingly deep; I've contemplated getting roll-out shelves for it.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 1:17PM
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