Wondering how to organize your bathroom drawers so that they’ll stay that way for the long haul?
You’ve come to the right place. Bathroom drawers always start out so tidy and neat, but over time, as you go about your daily life, they always seem to get crammed haphazardly with so much junk that you can never find what you’re looking for.
Often, the problem is not that you haven’t organized your bathroom drawers; it’s that you haven’t done it in a way that will last—not for weeks or months but for years.
The strategies I explain below are specifically aimed at teaching you how to organize your bathroom drawers in a way that you can maintain. Because what good is all your effort if hardly lasts at all, and you keep having to start all over again?!
I learned a lot of these tips from my friend, Kim, who is a natural super-organizer. She came over to my house about ten years ago, after I complained that the chaos in my bathroom drawers was driving me nuts.
Kim not only taught me how to organize my bathroom drawers, but also she revealed the one strategy that would help me keep my drawers organized for a decade. (I’ll share it with you later in this post.)
Before You Organize Bathroom Drawers, Purge!
Kim said that before she could show me how to organize my bathroom drawers, we needed a “good purge.” Research shows that clutter literally makes us stressed and anxious (not that I needed any studies to tell me this).
Empty All the Bathroom Drawers
First, Kim told me to take every single item out of my bathroom drawers and put them on the bathroom vanity top. (But we ran out of room and started a pile on the floor.)
Sort Through Medications
Next, Kim made me go through each medicine and get rid of all medications that were expired or almost gone.
“But what if I get a sore throat? Or a cold? Or a stomach ache?” I protested. I had about seven medicines for any possible ailment. Kim let me keep only one for each.
Get Rid of Empties, Boxes, and Trash
Finally, Kim told me to collect all empty bottles and tubes, and either put them in the trash or recycle them. I got rid of trash like dull razors, broken hair ties, Q-tips that had been rolling in the bottom of the drawer for a few years.
How to Organize Bathroom Drawers for the Long-Haul
What follows are 9 tips that will not only help you organize your bathroom drawers today, but will allow you to sustain the organization for the long-haul.
You won’t believe how much more you’ll enjoy bathing, putting on makeup or shaving, in a newly-organized bathroom with easy-to-navigate bathroom drawers.
1. Use Non-Slip Drawer Liners
Pull anything remaining in your drawers out and onto the bathroom vanity, so your drawers are completely empty.
After you clean out the drawers, cut some pieces of non-slip shelf liner. Try to match the color with the color of your drawers. When it blends in, I find that the drawer looks neater.
If you cannot find a color to match, go for either white or black, as these create more of a negative space effect, and cut it so that the entire bottom of the drawer is covered.
Washable drawer liners will make handling unfortunate spills much easier and non-slip liners will stop all your stuff from sliding forwards and backward as you open and close the drawers.
Stabilizing your contents inside of the drawer is another key to sustainable organization because shifting causes disorder.
2. Group Similar Items
You should always know what is in your bathroom drawers and where it is because it should be everything that you use.
Purging and pulling everything out of your drawers helps you get a good look at what you have.
When you put items back, group similar items together. You can utilize whatever system works for you and the number of drawers you have, but I would suggest either group according to category (i.e., dental, hair, face, etc.) or according to the frequency of use (i.e., daily, weekly, occasionally, etc.).
If you group according to the frequency of use, you can also still then sub-group into other categories like “dental” “skincare” and “medicine”.
3. Create a Storage Drawer Expressly for Spares
If you’re like me, you never want to run out of anything, so you always buy more before something is finished.
But, as Kim taught me, spares should be stored smartly. You may be able to keep it below what you are currently using (for example, stand your current tub of face cream on top of your next one).
However, not all spares can be stored like this, so I would recommend a spares drawer (if you have enough drawers to warrant giving one up).
If you have a small bathroom, then dedicate a drawer or shelf in an adjacent room for your spare bathroom products. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on the toilet, realizing there’s no more toilet paper, hearing company in the living room, and knowing the spare rolls are all the way across the house!
4. Use Organizers That Snugly Fit Your Drawers
Drawer organizers and containers can change your life—if you get the right ones.
Before you buy, always measure your drawers. The goal is to get the organizers and containers to fit snugly into your drawer without wasting space. You should also know roughly what you want in each drawer and the container size that would accommodate this.
I would recommend getting a collection of sizes but be careful of container sets because they often contain a lot of the smaller sizes, which are less versatile.
See my recommendations for the best bathroom drawer organizers at the end of this post.
5. Box Anything With a Cord
Hairdryers, straighteners, and curling irons. All these tools are a source of great frustration to someone who wants their bathroom drawers organized because of the power cords.
To sustainably keep these items organized, you should keep them in individual boxes, but these boxes should not have lids, so you can easily grab the tool and put it back.
Lids are the enemy of drawer organization. You don’t want to be trying to pull a container’s lid off to reach something. The drawer is its own lid, so leave the boxes open.
Now, putting a hot curling iron into a plastic container is not a good idea, but there are solutions to this!
Either you can opt for a metal container for your hot tools, or you can get Heat Resistant Silicone Mat Pouches. These are actually excellent for travel and even as a “hot plate” for your curling iron while you are using it.
6. Put Highly-Used Items in the Front
Digging for what you are looking for is a sure way to mess up your newly-organized drawers.
Within each drawer, put the items that you use more often in the front and the ones you use less frequently at the back.
However, the items at the back should not be stuffed back there, only to be extricated with great effort. You should be able to access these things with ease as well.
Stacking (items or containers) is usually not a good idea unless, as I mentioned earlier, it’s spare items. Or, the other instance it’s okay to stack items is when you always use them together, or if you have especially deep drawers.
7. Stack Items in Deep Drawers by Group and Order
Organizing deep bathroom drawers can be tricky because it can be hard to know what’s at the bottom.
If you have one or two deep drawers, but the rest are regular-sized, then try to store your spares in the deep drawers. Stacking isn’t ideal, but you can get away with it with spare products.
You can also purchase stackable containers like the STYLIO Stackable Clear Acrylic Drawer Organizers.
These are a great option because they are clear, so you feel that the items stored in them are more accessible. In addition, they stack without lids, keeping you that little bit closer to what you are digging for.
When stacking anything deeply, ensure that the order and grouping make sense.
For example, make one stack your make-up stack (grouping). Put what you use first at the bottom and what you use last at the top (order). Using this order, you are motivated to remove the top few layers first and replace them as you move on. So, when you are done, everything is already packed away.
8. Place Lazy Susans in Broken Drawers
If you have bathroom drawers that do not open fully, or are hard to see the back of, then you need to get a bit creative.
In this case, store your items on a lazy susan. I would recommend something like this Copco Non-Skid Storage Turntable because it has raised sides to hold your items. Then you can rotate which objects are visible and which are not.
9. Label Your Drawers on the Inside
This one strategy Kim taught me improved my bathroom organization for years! Of all the tips, this one is my favorite because it’s made the biggest difference for me: Label your containers and/or your bathroom drawers.
All those years ago, Kim brought over an actual label maker and printed out labels that we stuck on containers that said “skincare” or “dental.”
These labels are still on my drawers and organizers, and they are not only helpful to me, but to my husband and son who also frequent the bathroom.
Without these labels, I would never slow down enough to put things in the right place when I’m rushing around doing too many things at once.
I love this strategy so much, I got my own label maker and labeled bathroom cabinets and kitchen cabinets and drawers. (If you want a label maker, here’s the one I recommend that you can order from Amazon.)
And once you have a system, maintaining it is about knowing where things belong and putting them in the right place.
But don’t think you need an actual label maker to pull this off. You can use any small piece of paper or plain sticker. Just cover it with clear packing tape when you fix it to the bathroom drawer, so if it gets wet, your label won’t get destroyed or come loose.
Top Secrets to Sustain Organized Bathroom Drawers
Yes, you need to know where each product in your bathroom belongs inside the drawer—or if it belongs there at all.
However, the other important key for learning how to organize bathroom drawers that remain orderly is to always embrace the purge mentality!
Kim says that instead of doing a massive purge every year, I should purge once a week. Set a day, grab a glass of wine, put on some music, and just spend a few minutes on a mini-purge. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m up to her standards in this department.
When Kim first came over for the emergency bathroom organization session, our kids were in kindergarten. Now they’re in high school. I’ve purged quarterly since the original intervention and my bathroom drawers are still in pretty good shape. (And Kim’s still giving me life-changing advice on the regular.)
Best Bathroom Drawer Organizers
The Madesmart Basic Gadget Tray Organizer is a great staple because you don’t always want each compartment to be a separate container.
- The Madesmart allows you to have one piece but multiple compartments.
- Furthermore, you don’t lose as much space between the different sections because it is a single wall separating them as opposed to a wall from each container.
The Kootek 12 Pieces Plastic Drawer Organizers are another staple for bathroom drawer organization.
- You can use them to fill your drawers, but they are probably better utilized as gap fillers next to trays like the Madesmart.
- They can be pulled out of the drawer one by one, so they are ideal for something like nail kits, which you can grab and go sit down somewhere comfortable to file your nails.
- This set is good because there are no tiny containers which are not practical for most items.
- Another feature of this set that I like is that it does not have lipped rims, which prevent the containers from being pushed close together for the best use of space.
To Organize Bathroom Drawers Forever…
I’ll tell you one last secret. You don’t have to follow every one of these tips to maintain organized bathroom drawers. Better to pick a few favorites that truly resonate with you and implement them relentlessly.
I suggest you come up with a mantra for how to organize your bathroom drawers that is personal to you. My mantra is “Purge, group, label, repeat.” Go ahead, try to make your own mantra for organizing your bathroom drawers! I have confidence it will lead you to long-term success.
And now that the inside of your bathroom vanity is organized, why not reward yourself by placing a beautiful bathroom plant on top of it!