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Eric Piasecki
Well-utilized cupboard space and sliding drawers help keep bathrooms neat and tidy. Too often bathroom drawers harbor junk.

The number one rule for keeping a bathroom neat and tidy is finding the right place for everything. By using the room efficiently and providing everyone with space for their personal items, you will help keep the peace, create a better-looking bathroom, and even provide a more comfortable visit for guests.

A bathroom shared by a family can get a little chaotic, especially during the morning rush. Toothpastes and hairbrushes crowd the sink, and towels constantly find their way onto the floor. The result is a space that feels cramped and cluttered.

To provide sufficient storage, add a standing cabinet. If you can, choose one with separate spaces, preferably one for each person — one drawer can hold Mom's hair-care essentials, for instance, while another contains the kids' bath toys.

Bathroom drawers are second only to junk drawers in their potential for messiness. It's easy to toss grooming products in there pell-mell. Use wooden boxes and trays to help categorize the items. They are available in various sizes and materials, so they can be mixed and matched to fit any sort of drawer. Lazy Susans, too, make accessing toiletries a snap. As a final touch, paint the cabinet a color that coordinates with rest of the bathroom.

If you have a wall-mounted medicine cabinet, eliminate items that don't belong there, such as prescription medicines (which can be affected by humidity and heat). To expand storage space, affix a sheet of precut galvanized steel to the back wall of the cabinet's interior with construction adhesive, and use magnetic hooks to hang scissors and a hand mirror. Small plastic containers with magnetic bottoms can be used to corral small necessities, such as hair elastics and clips. Clear cups will keep cosmetics and tweezers in order, and let you store larger items, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes, more efficiently.

If you have enough storage elsewhere, you might replace the medicine cabinet with an interesting antique mirror that coordinates with the rest of the bathroom's decor. A sink with ample counters can hold small attractive trays — one for each family member — to keep frequently used personal items in place. A bedside carafe makes an attractive container for mouthwash.

If you have cabinets under the sink, outfit them with roll-out wire trays like those used in kitchens for easy access to miscellaneous toiletries. Stash items used at the same time, such as shaving or hairstyling supplies, together in a basket so they can be pulled out easily when needed and then stored. Fasten hooks to the inside of the doors, and use them to hang hairdryers and flat irons. In an adjacent cabinet, install a second sliding track for the bathroom's trash can. Keep extra rolls of toilet paper within reach by storing them in a tall, clear, cylindrical vase near the toilet.

Next to the bath, a hotel-style, multitiered towel rack attached to the wall will keep fresh, folded towels at hand. On the back of the bathroom door, attach as many as three towel bars to provide plenty of places to dry towels.

In the bath, uniform plastic bottles not only look better than the usual shampoo and soap containers, but they also fit more neatly in storage devices. It's helpful to identify the contents of bottles with laminated labels, which can also be used for the names of family members who prefer their own products. If you're renovating, consider adding a recessed shelf. A 3-inch-deep cavity will provide plenty of space for shampoo, conditioner and body wash decanted into plastic vessels.

Guest bathrooms can require frequent cleanings, so keep a plastic bin with all the necessary supplies in one of its cabinets. One item guests seem to forget more than any other is a hair dryer. Rather than make them root around in the cabinet for one, consider mounting a streamlined unit to the wall beside the sink. These devices are available through online suppliers of hotel accessories. Likewise, always provide shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste and disposable razors, just in case your guests need them.


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