Kitchen/Bath Education Series: Bathroom Storage That Works

I love the contemporary bathrooms we see in homes today, and their beautiful lavatory bowls suspended in glass countertops, or wall-hung units with exposed plumbing beneath; perfectly folded towels ready at a moment’s notice; a ledge for toiletries and a bank of drawers for the small personal items we use each day. As beautiful as those bathrooms are, what do they really look like after a full morning of family members getting ready for the day?

A mirror as a recessed medicine cabinet and a couple of drawers in a vanity just aren’t enough anymore. Male or female, regardless of age, we use many personal care products. From babies to toddlers, tweeners to teenagers, kids have different personal care product needs than adults. As adults, we require everything from prescription medicines and vitamins to an endless variety of skin and hair care products. Don’t forget the tools: hair dryer, curling irons, flat irons, electric shavers and on and on it goes. Add to the mix that in today’s world most of us shop and purchase in quantity. The best example of this is the bale of toilet paper instead of the four-roll pack. Where is all of this stored in the bathrooms we see today?

Ultimately, the size of the bathroom will dictate what can be included and how it will be stored. The primary consideration should and always will be the needs of the users. Below are a few of my favorite storage tips that will work for all ages and stages of life.

Storage tips

Create a linen cabinet that is 18 to 21 in. deep with a mix of shallow to deep roll-out trays and full-depth shelving. These shallow roll-out trays are great for vitamins, prescription medicines, first aid and any small items. Deep roll-outs are great for bulkier items like oversized bottles of personal care products. Small hand and facial towels can be rolled instead of folded for easier use. The full-depth shelves in an 18 to 21 in. deep linen cabinet will allow for most towels to be stored in half-fold as opposed to a triple fold thereby allowing for more towel storage. The mounting heights of the roll-out trays can be located based on the user’s need. This is a consideration if someone in the household uses a wheelchair or has limited physical abilities.

Drawer organizers. You will find these most commonly in the kitchen or home office but these are great in the bathroom for small items used at the vanity. Molded plastic or stainless steel selections are what I recommend for their ease of maintenance and cleaning.

Base pantry pull-outs. We see these in the kitchen used for canned goods or cooking oils. They are excellent in the bath as they are a narrower width cabinet and will accommodate ease of access to most commonly used items.

Point-of-use storage. Recessed niches at multiple heights and locations in the shower enclosure can accommodate users of any age or ability. A toilet topper is one example of this type of storage, and can range from traditional to contemporary in styling and need only be deep enough to accommodate a roll of paper.

Recycle bins. These are found in the kitchen or a utility room, but depending on the style they can make excellent bins for laundry items.

Under-sink storage. If a bathroom has limited space this is an easy storage solution for hair products, lotions, shampoos, etc.

A 15- to 18-in.-deep cabinet with adjustable shelves; sounds too simple, yes? Consider this real-life example of a family with kids using a shared bathroom. Each child was assigned a “French shopping basket” to store all their personal items. After they used the bathroom, all their items went back into the basket, which was put away on their designated shelf in the cabinet.

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