Dear Kathi,

My cabinets under the bathroom sink are always crowded and disorganized. Everything is scrambled together. The worse part is that I keep buying duplicates of items that I find later which makes it even more crowded and disorganized. Help! I can’t find a good way to keep my cabinets organized and would welcome any suggestions that you might have.

Beverly, San Diego


Bathroom cabinets are typically very small. Especially in cabinets that have pipes under the sink, storage does become a problem. You may want to consider relocating towels to a nearby closet shelf in your home. Shoe polish and its accessories are probably best served by living in your closet by the shoe rack. For shoe-cleaning supplies, make up a shoe cleaning kit. You can quickly make a shoe-cleaning box out of an old shoebox or a new clear plastic shoebox.

Now for those cabinets! First things first. Take everything out of the storage cabinets and drawers. Sort them into similar categories. Razors with extra shave crème, hair brushes with barrettes, etc. Get rid of all bottles with outdated expiration dates and all items that you no longer use. I recently discarded my hair ties and barrettes given the fact that I now have short hair!

Since you’ll want to keep all common medicinal items in one space, this project may involve changing how you are using your medicine cabinet as well.

For the medicine cabinet, follow the same procedure, emptying the entire contents onto your countertop. Discard old, outdated medicines. Install a small magnetic strip to the inside of the door for convenient access to clippers, tweezers, and small scissors.

Gather all medicinal items into the medicine cabinet. Alternately, you could use any of your other bathroom cabinets.

Once you have sorted through the items to reintroduce into your under-counter storage space, consider which type of boxes, bins, or baskets might best fit the items and your space. A small, three-drawer plastic unit is small enough to fit beside the sink pipe, using that space more efficiently. If you want to really optimize this space, you could install a pullout basket beside the pipes. Tall shampoo, conditioner, or soap bottles can also live nicely beside the sink pipes.

Three-drawer plastic units hold many loose items neatly. They are perfect for extra grooming utensils, hair supplies, Q-tips, band-aids, cotton balls, and whatever other small items that you own. Label each drawer to make it very easy to find your items.

If several people share the same bathroom, consider storing each person’s items behind a separate door. It is less confusing and easier to keep sorted, if physical space separates each individual’s items in the same bathroom.

Since you are already cleaning your cabinets, consider the countertop area. Get as many items as you can off of the countertop. If you have a drawer, organize it with drawer dividers and put as many items as possible in it. If there are still loose items scattered on your countertop, small trays or bowls will hold similar items together. Your countertop will be peaceful to look at and easy to clean!

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San Diego Professional Organizer