Eight Pretty Ways to Contain Your Bathroom Clutter

When Tom and I put our first house on the market, our Realtor team had a whole list of things we needed to do in order to “neutralize” the house.  We emptied out the closets to our essentials and boxed up the off-season clothing in the garage.  We took down our eleventy million wedding photographs and put away personal momentos.  I guess the thought is that if a buyer coming through sees evidence that a family actually lives in the house, the buyer won’t want to buy it.  I wish you could see me rolling my eyes right now.

But, honestly, those things weren’t really that big of a deal.  They were one-time changes, so we didn’t have to worry about it on a daily basis.  The one thing that WAS a huge pain to us was hiding our essential toiletries from our bathroom counter.  We had no drawers in that bathroom, so I bought plastic bins to hold our toothpaste, razors, medication and deodorant in the cabinets.  Every morning, we’d pull our respective bins out, get ready for work, and put them back under the cabinets.  And every evening, we’d pull out our respective bins out, get ready for bed, and put them back under the cabinets.

We’re kind of lazy, so this simple act drove us insane.

I love the look of bare bathroom countertops, but it’s not a practical reality for two people like us.  I thought about showing you the state of our bathroom counters right now, but then decided against it.  It’s pretty embarrassing.  We need some creative ideas to corral the clutter STAT.

In that vein, I turned to Pinterest and found a whole host of gorgeous bathrooms – but not much in the way of containing the clutter other than building shelves or baskets, baskets, baskets.  However, from the ideas that I liked, I put together eight of my favorites to share with you today.

Eight Pretty Ways to Contain Your Bathroom Counter Clutter | Makely School for Girls

1.  Use clear acrylic containers to house your disposable products and pretty tools (like makeup brushes or lip gloss).  I really look the wooden cotton swabs featured in this photo, but I don’t recall ever seeing them in stores.  I did some googling and saw that you can buy them at CVS, so I’ll be picking up some of those as soon as my boring white ones are gone.

2.  Store colorful items, like nail polish or ponytail rubberbands, in glass candy jars.  The jars come in various sizes, and I’ve seen them at Target, the Container Store and Walmart.

3. Throw out expired product.  This one seems so easy, yet I will save a 1/4 full bottle of hairspray for 17 years.  Products that have the little lidded jar symbol with numbers inside tell you how long the product should be used.  In this example, the bottle should be thrown out after you’ve had it for 24 months (regardless of the amount of that expensive lotion you still have left).

4. To help remind you when it’s time to free up a little counter space, place small stickers or tape with the date you open it on the bottom of your products.  This is a great idea for those of us (ahem, okay me) who know they are supposed to throw something about in 6 months but don’t remember exactly when you bought that mascara – Was it in May?  Oh, wait – was it last December?  Yikes!

5.  If you are lucky enough to have drawers in your bathroom, you can use inexpensive silverware organizers to keep your cosmetics and other necessities sorted.  I like to put all of my like products in the same section – eyeshadows, lipstick, and hair barrettes each can have their own special home.

6.  If you have a pedestal sink and lack any countertop whatsoever, attach a pretty hook on the wall and hang a bucket from it for your every day essentials.  This sounds like the perfect excuse to use some pretty scrapbook paper, some Mod Podge and some clear acrylic sealant.

7.  You know all of those little pieces of servingware or place settings you love but can’t justify buying a whole set?  Use the pieces to hold necessities on the counter itself.  Mismatched vintage pieces or Fiestaware would be so cute used in this way.

8.  When all else fails, add a pretty little tray to your countertop, display a few essentials like artwork, and own it.

What’s your bathroom counter’s M.O.?  Is it cluttered and crazy (like mine) or beautiful and thoughtful like the ones above?

Images via Real Simple, HGTV, Real Simple, Real Simple, Real Simple, BHG, Real Simple, and Real Simple.

Filed Under: Decorate Your Home, Real Life with Lindsay

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. In our main bathroom, it’s a mix between cutely corralled (me) and covered in beard hair (husband). Just keeping it real here. Our master bath (half bathroom), it’s cluttered because the vanity is so small that any amount of stuff makes it look cluttered. I can’t wait to install my new pedestal sink!

  2. Well, our current apartment has very little counterspace in the bathroom unfortunately, but a few containers for supplies could doll it up a little, I’m sure. Hrm…putting this one on my list for tax return time! :O)

  3. I am just wondering why these simple ways to keep my bathroom neat and tidy, never happened to me. I especially like that 2nd image (nail polish jar). I have an old fish bowl that i guess i can use to store all my nail polish bottles.

  4. Loving the bucket on the wall idea–that one is new to me and the design you have pictured really adds an extra piece of pop in the room while also holding all those items. Pretty sold on this and now the only task is to find a neat design that will accent or compliment the sage colors I have in my bathroom right now! Thanks for the inspiration and ideas :)

  5. Gorgeous! I especially like all the lucite containers. :)

  6. This is just awesome! It’s gotten 87 pins from my Pinterest site already:) I’m going to blog about it tomorrow with a link to your blog- So happy to have found you! :)

  7. I’m a fanatic about food expiration dates but didn’t know about the lidded symbol in #3 … heading to check out my lotions and potions for the symbol. I’ve always used a toss sticker on mascara and anything that doesn’t have a one way dispenser (as in I touch and could deposit germs) but I just assumed 1 yr for mascara and 8 months for lotions / creams, so it would be great to know the true timeframe based on the little symbol. Thanks so much for sharing, Robin

  8. I like the lidded baskets you can get from Ikea or Cost Plus. They look pretty and provide storage for the little things like sample sizes which you can’t bring yourself to throw away, yet want to hide because a dish of mish-mash of samples looks too funky.

  9. My bathroom is kinda crazy and organized, if that’s possible lol. Great ideas here by the way :)