How to organize your bathroom toiletries: Tips from a mother-daughter duo

Blair Pfander


It may be the smallest room in the house, but between plucking, curling, straightening, moisturizing and lipstick-ing, we spend an astonishing amount of time in the bathroom.

Too often, though, we spend half of that time frantically searching through messy drawers and cabinets to find our favorite new nail polish or a spare cotton swab. That’s why we recruited mother-daughter duo Kate Berger and Ann Lightfoot of NYC organizing company, Done & Done, to give us their top tips and tricks for creating a highly functional (and totally time-saving) bathroom storage system for toiletries.

Here, the ladies weigh in on over-the-toilet shelving ideas, the virtues of storage baskets, and the importance of a well-placed candle.

1. Clutter Purge. “When organizing the bathroom, the easiest way is to spread a towel on the floor and then empty the contents of the medicine cabinet and drawers onto the towel,” says Berger. “Group like with like so you can see how many lipsticks you really have and then decided which ones to keep and which ones to toss. Repeat this process with all groups: cosmetics, shampoo, cough and cold remedies, and pain relievers. While everything is out of the cabinets and drawers, wipe them clean.”

2. Prioritize. “Take a look at everything you’ve decided to keep and ask yourself if each item or group needs to be in the bathroom. Many things that end up in the medicine cabinet would be better off in the kitchen where there is more storage space —especially cold remedies and pain relievers. Consider putting all the duplicates in a basket and moving them to the kitchen. Keep handy only the medicines you use daily or weekly.

3. Room for Expansion. “Consider installing a large medicine cabinet with a mirror on the inside. If you have a little one above your sink this could make a huge difference in your morning routine. The larger cabinet allows space for the daily grooming items. The inside mirror eliminates that irritating practice of opening and closing the medicine cabinet in order to see your reflection.”

4. Keep Daily Necessities Close at Hand. “Inside the cabinet, keep only the items in constant use and make sure there is easy access to those items. Put cotton balls, Q-tips, toothbrushes, tweezers, scissors and other small tools in open jars or cups on the shelves. Often the storage in bathrooms is hard to access. The area below the sink is often so deep and dark that things go missing. When there is a closet with shelves, those shelves are often hard to keep tidy.”


5. Invest in Storage Accessories. “In order to make the whole bathroom function, get a set of baskets and place each group in its own basket. Keep the hair dryer with the brushes and the straightener. Use another bin for the cleaning supplies and paper towel. Perhaps place the toilet paper in another and keep it towards the front so guests can easily find a spare roll.”

6. Think Vertically. “Use the space above the toilet for an extra shelf or two. This is a great place to keep clean towels.”

7. Add Aesthetic Accents. “Once you’ve completed your organizing project, why not treat yourself to a bit of nature—perhaps an orchid, or maybe a green plant? And now that the counters and ledges are clean and clear, bring in a pretty candle and light it for your well-earned soak.”

For more tips and tricks to keep you streamlined, visit Kate and Ann at at