toiletry containers scattered on light blue background

Streamlining Your Bathroom Vanity: Organizing Toiletries

Organizing toiletries in a bathroom vanity can transform a cluttered, stressful space into a serene and functional area. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you efficiently organize your bathroom vanity.

Step 1: Declutter and Clean

Organizing your bathroom vanity starts with a thorough decluttering and cleaning process.

Empty out what you don’t need, give the entire space a wipe down and have a clean slate and return the items you’re keeping.

This step is crucial as it lays the foundation for a well-organized and functional space. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Remove Everything

Start by taking out all items from the vanity, including products inside drawers and on shelves.

Check Expiration Dates

Go through each item, especially skincare and makeup products, and check for expiration dates.

Products past their expiration date can be less effective or even harmful.

Make up and lotion containers often don’t have a printed “use by date” so look for a little open jar symbol, usually on the back of the product itself, towards the bottom.

The number in the center of the jar will tell you how long the manufacturer recommends you have to use the product once opened.

Exposure to air and humidity will begin to degrade the product and bacteria and other germs can get into the container.

So if you can’t remember when you first opened that tube of mascara, it’s likely time to pitch it since mascaras are good for 6 months after the first use.

If you can’t find a date and there’s no jar symbol to use for guidance, check to see if the product has changed in color, texture, consistency or smell.

If you find any changes, toss!

I often lose track of 6 months, so I’ll often write the date to pitch on the end of tube with a permanent marker for an at a glance reminder.

Assess Usage

Be honest about what you actually use. If you haven’t used a product in the last six months, it’s likely you don’t need it.

This doesn’t apply to seasonal items, but everyday products should be regularly used.

Otherwise, the unused products are just contributing to a cluttered area.

Better to remove the from the vanity, since you don’t have unlimited space.

Dispose Responsibly

For products that are expired or no longer needed, make sure to dispose of them responsibly, recycling when possible.

Recycling rules have recently changed in many communities, so check to see if the container is something your local recycling center currently accepts.

Just because the container has the chasing arrows recycling symbol doesn’t mean it’s actually recyclable.

Generally, #1 and #2 plastic bottles and glass bottles are recyclable but the hard shell plastic containers (usually marked with #5 or #6 or #7) are not accepted by curbside recycling programs.

Some make up brands offer recycling programs for cosmetic packaging, so you can return containers to the store.

For items that you won’t use, consider passing them along them to friends who might appreciate them to give the products a chance to be used, rather than added to a landfill.

Once the vanity has been cleared, give it a wipe down from top to bottom, inside out.

Give the products you’re keeping a quick wipe down too to remove dust and residue.

Frequently used items like lotions and hair products often have some sort of build up on the packaging that will be removed with a quick swipe of a cleaning cloth.

Step 2: Categorize Your Toiletries

After decluttering and cleaning, the next step in organizing your bathroom vanity is to categorize your toiletries to help you determine how best to re-organize your vanity.

Create categories or groups of similar items together, making it easier to find what you need and keep the space more organized over time.

Separate items you use daily from those used less frequently.

Daily use items should be more accessible, while occasional items can be stored elsewhere.

Categorization Tips:

By Product Type: Group items by their type – skincare, haircare, makeup, dental care, etc.

This is the most straightforward method and works well for most.

Create subcategories for cosmetics in a similar fashion- face, eyes, cheeks, etc.

This is the method I personally use.

Top drawer of my bathroom vanity with all of my daily use items categorized by function.

By Function: Another approach is to categorize by function.

For example, all moisturizing products – body lotions, face creams, oils – in one group.

Seasonal Items: Season-specific items, like sunscreens or heavier winter lotions, can be grouped and stored separately, rotating them into more accessible areas as needed.

By User: If multiple people use the same bathroom, consider carving out space for each person, even if you’re only able to spare giving each person their own container.

This can prevent mix-ups and make it easier for each person to find their products and can help everyone use the space more amicably!

Travel-Sized Items: Keep a separate category for travel-sized items and refillable containers.

This makes it easier to pack for trips and maintain organization since the grouped items are easier to access.

Also, unless you’re traveling on the regular, travel items should be stored in an out of the way area of your vanity or bathroom.

Implementing Categories:

Once you’ve established categories, consider labeling them.

This could be as simple as using adhesive labels on drawers or containers.

Ensure that the most frequently used items are the easiest to access.

Less used items can be stored in higher or deeper parts of the vanity.

Remember, your needs might change over time, so be flexible and ready to re-categorize items as your routine evolves.

Step 3: Use Drawer Organizers

Once you have categorized your toiletries, utilizing drawer organizers in your bathroom vanity can immensely improve the functionality and aesthetics of the space.

Drawer organizers help in maintaining the categorization and make every item easily accessible.

Here’s how to effectively use drawer organizers:

Selecting the Right Organizers:

Measure Your Drawers: Before purchasing organizers, measure the dimensions of your vanity drawers.

Consider the height, width, and depth to ensure the organizers fit well in the drawer.

Choose Appropriate Sizes and Shapes: Select organizers that match the size and shape of your items.

For example, longer compartments for brushes and combs, small sections for makeup or hair accessories.

Material Matters: Consider durable materials like plastic, acrylic, or bamboo.

These are easy to clean and can withstand the humid bathroom environment.

Adjustable Dividers: Opt for organizers with adjustable dividers for added flexibility instead of an all in one drawer unit.

This allows you to customize the space according to your needs as they change.

Your current make up brushes might fit just fine, but future ones may have longer handles.

And you’ll probably want to choose a brush based on the style and needs as opposed to handle length.

Organizing Tips:

By Category: Place items in the organizers according to the categories you’ve established. Keep skincare, makeup, haircare, and other categories in separate sections.

Frequently Used Items Front and Center: Position items you use daily in the most accessible parts of the drawer.

Less frequently used items can go towards the back or on a lower shelf or drawer.

The bottom drawer of my bathroom vanity holds a hairdryer and back up hair styling products.

Utilize Vertical Space: If your drawers are deep, consider stackable organizers to maximize vertical space.

This can double the storage capacity of a single drawer.

Middle vanity drawer with facial and hair products.

The hair clips and bobby pins are in a stacked container with an identical container with additional hair ties below.

Stacking the bins makes sense in this drawer because it fully uses the available vertical space and the clips and pins are used much more frequently than the hair ties.

Step 4: Implement Storage Solutions

After sorting and categorizing your toiletries, the next crucial step is to implement storage solutions in your bathroom vanity.

This involves selecting the right containers and organizing methods to maximize space and maintain order.

Here’s how to execute this effectively:

Start by Choosing the Right Containers:

Assess Your Needs: Based on the categories you’ve created, decide what type of containers you need.

Would containers help make your space more functional?

Containers aren’t always necessary or helpful, so don’t assume you’ll need to add one.

It really depends on what you’re storing and the available space in the vanity.

If you decide a storage container would make the space more functional, group bulkier items in baskets and small bins for makeup and makeup application tools.

Material Selection: Opt for materials that withstand humidity and are easy to clean, like plastic, acrylic, or glass.

Avoid materials that can warp or mold in a moist environment.

The bathroom really isn’t the place for DIY cardboard boxes or fabric covered storage containers.

Transparent Containers: Consider using clear or nearly containers for items you use frequently so you can see exactly what you’re looking for.

Uniformity and Aesthetics: Choose containers that are visually appealing and cohesive with your bathroom’s decor.

Uniform containers can create a neat and organized appearance.

Different colored containers will make the space feel more cluttered and disjointed, especially since the colors of the products and items you’re storing are probably varied and not uniform.

Over to you!

Remember, the key to an organized bathroom vanity is taking the time to organize every aspect of the unit and then maintaining the system you’ve set up.

With these steps, your bathroom vanity will not only look fantastic, but also function efficiently, making your daily routine smoother and more enjoyable.

Happy organizing!

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