6 Mistakes You're Probably Making When Organizing Your Bathroom

Updated 06/14/19

 Sarah Sherman Samuel

Whether you have an insanely small bathroom the size of a closet, or a sprawling master bath that's borderline grandiose, organizing a bathroom of any size can be a challenge. So, to find out how to tackle some of the most common bathroom organizational problems, we turned to experts Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of The Home Edit, a home organizing service that’s garnered over 1 million followers on Instagram, as well as a slew of celebrity clients including Busy Philipps, Mandy Moore, and Khloé Kardashian.

When it comes to determining whether or not a bathroom needs a major organizational makeover, these pros swear by a simple method: The drawer and cabinet test. "If we open it and items aren't contained, it's an organizational red flag," Shearer and Joanna tell MyDomaine. "The key is to create functional systems where items are contained and have a designated home, so you always know where to look for things and where to put them back." Ready to give your space an organizational overhaul?

Ahead, the experts behind The Home Edit break down six of the most common bathroom organizing mistakes and how to avoid making them yourself.

Mistake #1: Organizing Before Purging

Professional bathroom organization ideas
 Sara Tramp; DESIGN: Emily Henderson 

For Shearer and Teplin, the biggest mistake you can make when organizing a bathroom is skipping the editing process. "This means taking everything out, creating groupings, and paring down your items, no exceptions," the pros explain. According to The Home Edit team, purging is a crucial step when trying to find an organizational system that will work for your space.

"It's the only way to fully access the space, the contents that will live there, and how to best organize them," say Shearer and Teplin. "It will also give you a chance to take better measurements of the space, which is important when choosing storage containers," the pros add. "The wrong product can add to the clutter, not conquer it."

The Container Store The Home Edit All-Purpose Deep Bin with Divider $20
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Mistake #2: Not Zoning Your Products

How to organize a bathroom
 Sarah Sherman Samuel

As a general rule of thumb, Shearer and Teplin recommend zoning your products into a few core categories. "You will almost always be organizing your items into these groupings: face, hair, dental, bath and body, and likely some or all of these additional groupings: eye, makeup, hair tools, cotton swabs, back stock, and travel," say the pros.

That said, don't get too specific with labels when you're corralling your products, advise Shearer and Teplin. "In a bathroom, [labels] can actually be pretty general, as long as your items are contained and live in a designated spot," they note.

"General categories create a flexible road map, so if there is an outlier, it doesn't get thrown in haphazardly," they explain. "It's also important that you label the categories, which is basically a guilt mechanism if you try to put something back where it doesn't belong."

Dymo Embossing Label Maker $11
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Mistake #3: Overhauling a Small Space With Back Stock

Organizing a small bathroom
 Tessa Neustadt; DESIGN: Emily Henderson 

Rather than storing bulky items like extra towels and boxes of tissues in a small bathroom, stash them away somewhere else until you need them. "Since you don't need to access back stock until absolutely necessary, you can store these items in any linen closet, or even a laundry room," advise Shearer and Teplin. "We like to use stacking bins with labels to keep back stock contained and accessible when we're ready to replenish."

The Container Store The Home Edit Large Drawer $30
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Mistake #4: Not Keeping Daily Items Accessible

Bathroom organizing mistakes
 Sarah Sherman Samuel

When it comes to developing and maintaining an organizational system, it's especially helpful to keep the items you use the most in a designated space. "Simplify your routine by grouping all of the items you use twice a day without fail: toothbrush and toothpaste, contact lenses, face wipes, and whatever else suits your daily routine," recommend Shearer and Teplin.

A product the pros swear by for organizing oft-used products? Modular drawer organizers. "We like to use modular drawer organizers to keep items separated," Shearer and Teplin tell us. Curating "a 'daily drawer' also helps when you travel so you can grab-and-go and not worry about forgetting your essentials," the pros explain. Genius.

The Container Store The Home Edit Organizer Bins $8
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Mistake #5: Not Maximizing Usable Space

Professional bathroom organization tips
 Sarah Sherman Samuel

If storage space is at a premium in your bathroom, make the most of the space that you do have, advise Shearer and Teplin. "For instance, if a drawer is deep, don't use shallow inserts, use more modular ones instead," the pros offer. "Take advantage of the height, width, length, and depth of every space, even negative space like a floor or wall."

The Container Store The Home Edit All-Purpose Bin $18
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Mistake #6: Overlooking the Importance of Consistency

Bathroom organizing ideas
 Amy Bartlam; DESIGN: Jennifer Muirhead Interiors

"Consistency is key, so try to buy storage containers in the same collection or at least the same color," the pros tell MyDomaine. "Matching products instantly elevate a space, while mismatched products make it look sloppy," they explain. "Streamlining your supplies will make everything look polished."

Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin The Home Edit $25 $15
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