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How to Increase Storage in a Small Bathroom

Sharilee obtained a degree in secondary English education from the University of Calgary. She has taught in Canada for ten years.

Our very small bathroom.

Our very small bathroom.

Small Bathroom Storage Ideas

When my husband and I bought our current home, we inherited a very small bathroom—one which barely had room for a sink, toilet, and a bathtub. I scrambled to find some storage in this tiny room that would help to hold some of the essentials, such as grooming supplies, toilet paper, and medical supplies.

Based mostly on my own experience, here are some ideas for storage for a small bathroom that work. Right now, our washroom is not the most beautiful room in the house, but it does function. I hope you find some ideas for yourself when trying to make your small bathroom work.

The thing to do when figuring out how to maximize space in your small bathroom is to figure out what you want to use the room for.

One decision I made was to move my grooming essentials to another room (our bedroom) and create a small dressing table in there—for getting ready. Doing that allowed me to move all of my makeup, hair grooming equipment and product, and lotions out of the bathroom. That decision cleared up a lot of the clutter.

Decide what you want to use the room for, and see if you can use another room for getting ready, especially if you are a woman and have a lot of grooming paraphernalia!

storage-for-small-bathroom

Use Your Medicine Cabinet to Capacity

Your medicine cabinet: That tiny space behind the mirror on some bathrooms can actually hold a surprising number of things from your bathroom.

Some experts caution against storing certain medications in the cabinet. I admit that we still do store our medications in the medicine cabinet, but either way, use the cabinet to store as much as you can of small items, such as bandages, cotton swabs or nail clippers.

Organize it well; don't just stash things in there, and you will be surprised at how much room there actually is.

Use a Small Shelf in Unused Space

When you first look at the room, it might appear that there is no room for a shelf, but try a small shelf and you may be surprised what you can fit in. Sometimes a tall skinny shelf works best and can fit into a narrow space.

A skinny shelf can hold a surprising volume of small items such as toilet paper rolls, toiletries, and towels. I originally thought that no shelf would fit into this space but was surprised to realize that it actually did fit into this tight area. Try it, and see!

One more tip: We had a zero budget for re-decorating but I was still able to make a significant change to the space. Look around your home and see what you can reconfigure to use in your bathroom. Be creative!

A skinny shelf.

A skinny shelf.

Use Baskets and Boxes

To store small items, use baskets and even small boxes. Be sure to group your similar items together and place the small storage containers on your shelving or under your sink.

If you can afford beautiful baskets and gift boxes, decorate away. Be sure to measure before buying a storage piece, though, to make sure it fits your purpose. If you cannot afford new baskets or boxes, use what you have around the house for now.

For example, boxes from small appliances, bulk food items or other purchases can work great. Shoe boxes are often the perfect size for bigger items. Going to second hand store can also work wonders in finding inexpensive baskets and unique storage ideas.

storage-for-small-bathroom

Use a Pocket Organizer on the Door

One way to gain space in your powder room is to hang a pocket organizer on the door. This one is hung on the back of the bathroom door, and holds all all of my husband's grooming supplies, which, him being a man, aren't nearly as many as mine.

He was very glad to have one place for all his "stuff" that was easy to access. This organizer was one that I had on hand, and I therefore was a frugal way of getting stuff up off the counter. This particular organizer has three pockets and is quite small. You could also find organizers that are bigger and can hold more stuff, according to your needs.

Organize Under Your Sink

One more storage area that is often overlooked is under the sink. How many of us simply keep pushing stuff under there randomly, until that poor space threatens to explode? Decide what you want to keep under there, and then find some boxes or baskets to store the items.

Under my sink, I keep the feminine hygiene products and bathroom cleaning products, in organized boxes. Remember that you don't have to spend tons of money to do this. If you don't have a budget, try to simply use what you have around the house. I use boxes from things we buy from the store. Again, it's not HGTV pretty, but it does the trick! Remember that it doesn't have to be perfect: it just needs to work!

Comments

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on August 03, 2015:

I love all of these ideas on how to add storage to your bathroom. My bathroom is small like that, too. Good idea. I do have a medicine cabinet in mine. Voted up for very useful! Congrats on past HOTD honor!

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on July 10, 2015:

Great ideas here for a small bathroom.

It is amazing how small some bathrooms are, you have done a beautiful job of using what little space you have.

Thanks for sharing your home with us.

Besarien from South Florida on April 16, 2015:

Great ideas for organizing a small bathroom. At least you have a tub! Our first house only had one tiny bathroom with the smallest shower I have ever seen, never mind used. That bathroom made the one in my college dorm room seem palatial in retrospect.

Hannah David Cini from Nottingham on February 28, 2015:

I love pocket storage but never thought to put in the bathroom. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on November 27, 2014:

@Vespawolf, no storage can be really difficult, for sure. You could also try bringing in a small shelf, if you have the room, and put baskets on it. I am glad the article was useful to you. Have a wonderful night, and thanks so much for coming by!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on November 19, 2014:

This is very useful information for those of us who have small bathrooms. Actually, right now we have a large bathroom that has no cabinets, drawers, etc. a commin problem in Peruvian houses. So we use the hanging organizer on the back of the door, but I really need to utilize the under the sink space better. I'll look into getting some baskets. Thanks!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 24, 2014:

@Kathryn, that's so great to hear, that my article gave you a practical idea that you could try. Isn't organizing fun? And thanks so much for your kind comments. You have a great day, too!

Take care,

Sharilee

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on August 31, 2014:

I love organizing spaces, so this is a great article to bump into! I am moving in a few weeks, and one thing I look forward to is deciding what will work in different spaces. Seeing this post has made me realize that the small shelf I currently have in my bedroom could work very well in a bathroom if I have the space.

Thanks for sharing this with us. I noticed you won HOTD on it a while back, so congrats.

Have a great day.

~ Kathryn

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 14, 2014:

Rebecca Furtado, it is a great place for extra storage, and works quite well. Thanks so much for the comment!

Rebecca Furtado from Anderson, Indiana on March 02, 2014:

Pocket storage on the back of the door , I had not thought of it before . Good informative hub.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 20, 2013:

idigwebsites, I am glad that it was helpful to you. It can be pretty challenging to stuff all that stuff into such a small space, can't it? Thanks for the comment.

idigwebsites from United States on June 05, 2013:

Thanks for your wonderful tips. I have so many things going inside my small bathroom (including a variety of shampoos and conditioners etc.) and I really need to try to organize them. This hub just came along perfectly. Up and useful.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on April 06, 2013:

Cygnet, that is a great idea! I find the bathtub always gets too crowded, and I love getting off the of the tub. Thanks so much for the comment. Have a wonderful day!

Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on March 29, 2013:

I love the article! Another place we have storage in our bathroom is a hanging pocket organizer on our shower rod along our bathtub. It may not give us more space to store our things in the bathtub area, but it does make it easier to clean the tub because we don't have to move stuff on the side of the tube to clean it.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on March 16, 2013:

Marie, thank you! I am glad it might be helpful. It is a challenge to try to get a small place organized. Thanks for coming by, and for the follow on Twitter!

Marie Alana from Ohio on March 15, 2013:

Great ideas! I might have to use these ideas in the upcoming future. Thanks. I found you on twitter and just had to check you out.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 30, 2012:

@Megan, I am so glad that you liked the hub. Have a good night!

@Travel, I am not naturally organized, to be honest, so I have to really work to get it the way I want it. But it's nice when it happens. Have a wonderful day!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 30, 2012:

@Denise, that's neat that you wrote a similar hub. I still haven't had a look at it, but I will next weekend. (I've been working very long hours at this new job!) I've had this hub in drafts for a few months. Thank you for your kind words!!

@Housebuyer, I appreciate your kind words! Have a wonderful night.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 30, 2012:

@cramer, Thank you so much for your kind words. Have a great night!

@Ariel, congratulations on getting a new house! I hope this hub gives you some ideas.

@Vocalcoach, your pocket organizers sound amazing! Thanks for your kind words and have a wonderful night.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 30, 2012:

@Healthy, it's amazing how much medicine cabinets can hold, if you organize them well. I am glad I gave you some new ideas for shelves. Have a wonderful night!

@Rhonda, I am so glad I could inspire you to get your bathrooms organized! Have a great night!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 30, 2012:

@Jesse, the hutch sounds like a great idea, using vertical storage. Thanks for the comment!

@jc, thanks for the comment. Yes, an organized bathroom adds a lot to a house.

Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on September 24, 2012:

What a prim-and-proper ideas. Me, too, I also want a nice, small but organized home, including the bathroom.

I'm a clutter person and I'm guilty to admit that most women are the more organized persons than men. (lol!)

Rated it up and congrats of being selected as HOTD. :)

megansteel from London, UK on September 24, 2012:

You have some really interesting ideas about making the most of the space you've got. It was certainly an interesting hub to read!

HouseBuyersUS from Centreville, Virginia, USA on September 24, 2012:

I will use your ideas and tips. Thanks!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on September 23, 2012:

Congratulations on your HOTD. How uncanny-I have a similar problem and just wrote a hub about it for the WTI last week, haha. Great ideas here. Rated up/U

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on September 23, 2012:

Congratulations on HOTD! After reading your tips on storage for a small bathroom (mine) I can see why you were honored. I also came up with an idea similar to the pocket holder on the door (which I love.)

I found a larger pocket holder in black with 8 pockets and hung it on a section of wall. I roll up small towels and wash clothes and stuff them in the pockets. Voting up and sharing with a big thank you!

Eric Cramer from Chicagoland on September 23, 2012:

Thanks for the great ideas! Congrats on the HOTD!!! Voted Up!

Rhonda Humphreys from Michigan on September 23, 2012:

We are just moving into a home that has three small bathrooms so this information was very useful for me. There isn't even a place to store towels. So I will have to be creative. Rated up and useful

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 23, 2012:

@Dizzy, thanks for the comment. Ironically enough, I actually do have three cats! But they have so far left all of this alone. It's on an angle that they really can't reach it and so it stays put! But that is definitely a factor for me, too!

I had not seen those shoe-box size boxes but they sound great. I will definitely keep my eyes open the next time I go to the Dollar Store. Thanks so much for your great comment. Have a wonderful day!!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 23, 2012:

@SS, thank you so much for your congratulatory words! It was a big surprise for me today! A big bathroom is one of life's biggest luxuries! Maybe someday!

@Pfennig, thank you so much! I know exactly what you mean. All of those magazine-perfect pictures seem out of reach sometimes. I was simply sharing from experience, and it was fun to write. Have a wonderful night!

healthylife2 on September 23, 2012:

Excellent suggestions! I have three medicine cabinets in our bathroom and you gave me a great idea to add shelves with baskets. Congratulations on HOD!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 23, 2012:

@TToombs, thank you so much for your support, TToombs! Have a great night!

@Mary, I am so glad you found it useful, with your small bathroom, too! It is difficult to try to do something with these small rooms but with effort, it's amazing how much we can fit in. Thanks for coming by!

@Hui, thanks so much for the lovely comment. Have a great day!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 23, 2012:

@Vespa, I am so glad that I could inspire you to organize your bathroom, too! This had been on my mind for a long time and it was nice to finally make it function. The narrow shelf is a great addition, and it is surprising how little room they take up. Thanks for coming by, and take care!

@Geet, nice to hear from you, and to hear that you have had similar ideas. Thanks for coming by!

@Your cousins, the shower head caddy is another excellent idea for bathtub organization. Thanks for stopping by!

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on September 23, 2012:

Excellent suggestions! Utilizing space properly is very important. Moreover, an organized bathroom will look better and appealing.

jessefutch from North Carolina on September 23, 2012:

These are all fantastic ideas! One thing I did in an apartment I had that definitely suffered from tiny bathroom syndrome was place a hutch I found at a garage sale on top of the counter above the sink. The counter space as strangely large and the rest of the bathroom was squished beside it. We used the counter space to its full potential with the hutch. It actually looked great and worked wonders for storage space! Great hub. Voted up!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on September 23, 2012:

Congrats on HOTD! Well done, and good advice. It doesn't have to be "HGTV pretty" indeed...in fact, some of the things they do on that show I don't find all that attractive. And the "trash-to-treasure" segment? Guess what? IMO, it's still trash! But, to each his/her own.

I like your skinny shelf and baskets. That will work well--in a cat-free house.. LOL I can see our crew having a field day with that. I keep the TP back stock under the sink for just that reason.

Shoe boxes are a great size for this kind of use, and shoe-box sized plastic containers, for liquids that might leak, can be had on the cheap at dollar stores.

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Pfennig on September 23, 2012:

My gosh! pic of your washroom, could be a pic of mine! We opted for an over-the toilet floor standing shelf. A small shallow short shelf unit, about the same place as yours with wall hooks above for hanging robes, towels, etc. Our door is a pocket door opposite the sink instead of the end, so no back of door storage for us. Great post. Creative ideas, which trigger others to be creative. I like how you encourage others to "Look around your home and see what you can reconfigure ...". Your pic's help others to relate better, as most think, when looking a kitchen and bath mags... I have the smallest bathroom... that would never work in mine. Your Hub-of-the-Day honor is well earned.

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on September 23, 2012:

YAY, Congratulations PP on HOTD. Great hub. I have never had a big bathroom and your tips are great.

Hui (蕙) on September 23, 2012:

Interesting topic, good ideas, and great hub!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 23, 2012:

Congrats on HOTD: well deserved! You gave a lot of tips on storage in small bathrooms. My house has small bathrooms and I'm always looking for ideas.

I voted this Hub UP, shared and Pinned.

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 23, 2012:

Fantastic ideas, Princess, and congrats on the HOTD! :) Well deserved!

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 23, 2012:

Congratulation on the HOTD. You deserve this win for your great ideas on how to store your things when having a small bathroom. Voted this up and useful. Thanks for sharing.

scarletquill99 from Australia on September 23, 2012:

You've got some terrific ideas here! Over-the-door hangers and hooks are really fab inventions.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 23, 2012:

Congrats on earning HOTD for this practical hub. I love the idea of using an over the door pocket organizer.

Like your house, the first home my husband and I bought had a single, extremely tiny bathroom that we lived with for the first 20 years that we lived there.

When we finally added a second bathroom, it was like adding a piece of heaven. LOL

Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.

Hub Hugs,

Gail

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on September 23, 2012:

The pocket organizers are really useful. Also I like to use a shower head caddy. Thumbs up on your HOTD.

sangeeta verma from Ludhiana India on September 23, 2012:

useful tip for small bathroom.Moving things from bathroom to other area of your comfort is great what you have done is great.Even I have done the same thing moving my make-up things to the bedroom and utilizing the sink area.Voted up.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on September 23, 2012:

You've inspired me to organize my bathroom! Small bathrooms are always a problem in Peru, and there are almost never closets in the homes. We have a large shoe organizer on the back of the bathroom door where I stash most items. We also have a well-used medicine cabinet. I like your idea of the narrow shelf and using baskets, etc. because it would be visually appealing. I'll see what else I can do in there! Oh...and the dresser in the bedroom is another great idea. Congrats on HOTD...very well deserved!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 23, 2012:

@Giblin, the space under the sink always tends to get wasted, so it's great when you can get it organized. Thanks for the comment!

@Mandy, that sounds like it holding a great deal of "stuff." They are amazing organizers, for sure. Have a wonderful day!

@Virgina, great to paint the baskets to match the décor. It's amazing how much we can do for so little, isn't it? Nice to see you. Take care!

@DDE, thanks so much your wonderful support. Take care!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 23, 2012:

@Eiddwen, thank you so much. I was glad to share my own experiences. Have a wonderful day!

@Till, it was definitely a challenge. Thanks for your kind words. Have a great day!

@Emma, I am thrilled! It really is hard to get things organized in such small spaces. I wish you all the best with your space. Have a great day!

Emma Kisby from Berkshire, UK on September 23, 2012:

Love this! We also have a very small bathroom and struggle for space. Your ideas are very helpful, especially the pocket organizer on the back of the door. I'm inspired!

Mary Craig from New York on September 20, 2012:

You've done a great job of maximizing your space! Everything looks neat and tidy. It isn't always easy trying to make space where there is none.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Eiddwen from Wales on September 18, 2012:

Useful and well informed.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 18, 2012:

@Angela, how wonderful to have a decent-sized bathroom now, for you! And yes, the dressing table really does help with getting rid of clutter in the bathroom. Lucky for me, my bedroom is a bit bigger to allow for this, ha ha! Thanks so much for coming by and commenting. Have a great day and blessings!

@Kashmir, thank you so much, my friend. I appreciate your kind words and also the shares. I trust you are doing well. Take care!!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 18, 2012:

@Green Lotus, I always thought those built in niches were so wonderful, but we have never done them. That truly is the best way to create space, but you do need some knowledge of construction to make them. And the C.D. shelves are also good choices to re-use for something. Thanks so much for the comment and take care!

@It's funny how they made bathrooms so small isn't it, that sometimes we almost couldn't use them for their main purpose? That's funny! I am glad you were able to come up with some ideas that worked for you. Thanks for coming by!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 18, 2012:

@Dianne, yes, many times guest bathrooms are much smaller. I am glad the suggestion was helpful for you. Have a wonderful day!

@Julie, I can relate to having a small house! It really does make one get creative, doesn't it? Thanks for the comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 18, 2012:

Awesome ideas thanks

Virginia Kearney from United States on September 17, 2012:

Great ideas. I've done lots of organizing/storing on a zero or low budget. I use tons of baskets and one thing I've done is to buy a can of spray paint to paint either baskets or shelves to match the room. For about $5.00 you can have a custom look. That helps a lot if you buy items at garage sales or just have them around. Voted up!

Mandy M S on September 17, 2012:

I used an over the door shoe organizer to store my bathroom supplies in my tiny bathroom and it has made all the difference in the world. I love it! Hair pony's in one, clips in another, toothpaste in another, detangler, hairspray, contact lens solution, etc. It's my discovery of the year! :) Awesome hub!

GiblinGirl from New Jersey on September 17, 2012:

Great ideas. I have two very tiny bathrooms and I really like your suggestion about storing things in boxes under the sink. I'll have to try that out.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on September 17, 2012:

Hi my friend, these are all great tips and advice to have great storage in a small bathroom and loved all the great photos to.

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

Angela Blair from Central Texas on September 17, 2012:

Excellent Hub and superb advice. The house I own now is the first I've had in many years that has a bathroom of adequate size -- fact is that's one of the main reasons I chose the house! Before this house I'd had to get very creative to get what I NEEDED in the bathroom and like you, I moved myself out of the bathroom to a dressing table and it helped immensely! Best/Sis

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 17, 2012:

These are great ideas. Our bathroom is similar to yours. But if I put one more thing in there. There would be certain things a large man just could not do. It is almost like they made, even the bathtub smaller. Thanks for some ideas on how to get rid of clutter. We placed a shelf for my thing above six feet and that does help.

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on September 17, 2012:

It is hard to make space and still keep the design looking uncluttered and unspoiled. What a challenge! It's become of speciality of our design firm to create space when there seems to be none so I can relate to your Hub. We often create wall niches during construction, but if that's not possible, you can get creative by adding unconventional shelving units. We've even used carousel-type tall CD racks.

Blurter of Indiscretions from Clinton CT on September 16, 2012:

These are some great tips. We have a really small house, so I am always looking for new ideas to contain the clutter! Voting up :)

Dianna Mendez on September 16, 2012:

I have a small guest bathroom and your suggestion on baskets is one that will work for me in that space. Thanks for sharing this idea. Voted up.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 16, 2012:

Realhousewife, pocket storage would be great for little bottles like that. Thanks for coming by and for the great comment!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on September 16, 2012:

I love the pocket storage for the back of the door! That would be great in my master bath - I have lots of little tubes and bottles of junk...but I love it all and don't want to throw it out!

Thanks for the great tips!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 16, 2012:

@Carol, that's funny! It's very cool that we were thinking so much alike. Great minds .... :)

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 16, 2012:

@Jeannieinabottle, thank you so much for the share and encouraging comment,and thanks for understanding! Have a wonderful weekend.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on September 16, 2012:

As someone that has suffered with small bathrooms a time or two, I fully understand your pain. These are great ideas for anyone with a tiny bathroom. Thanks for sharing your ideas and voted up!

carol stanley from Arizona on September 16, 2012:

At first I thought that was a picture of my bathroom of my house in Oregon. I added shelves just like the ones you have. Good ideas obviously because mine were the same..Thanks for sharing.