Pretty Organizing: bathroom edition

I have learned, through much trial and error, that for me to keep things organized two things are required: 1) everything must have a very specific place and 2) it must be pretty. The second one is obviously not universal, but as an incredibly visual person who probably cares too much about aesthetics, the truth is that if it’s not pretty to start with I just won’t care enough to keep it that way. Today I thought I’d illustrate this with my bathroom counters. Everything that I use throughout the day (as opposed to exclusively in the morning or at night) is left out on the counters. I use trays a lot, everywhere, and they work particularly well in the bathroom, as they can be picked and moved to clean the counters.

Pens and scissors (for cutting tags off clothes, errant bang layers, cosmetics packaging), q-tips, a bowl full of bobby pins and hair ties, and of, course, sunglasses, which I wear pretty much every day all year round (the ones shown are a vintage Italian pair I picked up at the Alameda flea market for a song.) There’s also nail clippers and tweezers, which aren’t used every day, but are nice to have immediate access to when needed.

The larger view. (I should probably get plain glass pump bottles for the lotion & hand soap…) Everything is corralled on the vintage mirrored tray, leaving most of the counter clear. Also note the tissue box cover: I am kind of oddly obsessed with them and put one in almost every room. Tissues are nice to have on hand, but the boxes are ugly, and, well… I’m obviously kind of a visual snob about some things. : )

The other side – water glass, vintage brass tray (that used to belong to my grandparents) that holds perfume, my glasses, and a bowl for jewelry. Since I tend to take my jewelry off when I wash my face at the end of the night, having somewhere to stash it in the bathroom is key to keeping it in one place and not losing earrings down the sink drain. Once every week or two I empty it and put the pieces back into their appropriate places in my jewelery drawer, although some of my most frequently worn pieces actually live in that bowl. The vitamins stay on the counter because otherwise I forget to take them, although they could certainly use more attractive bottles they actually don’t bother me that much and I can stash them easily when company comes over.

One of the best parts of this system is that the bathroom can be picked up in 5 minutes flat – since everything has a very specific place (obviously, most of my stuff lives in drawers or cabinets, but it all has very specific places in those too) all I have to do is stand there and move anything that’s been left out to it’s space.

Any good tricks out there for keeping things organized? One of my favorite things to do when I’m in other people’s homes is look at their organizational methods – I have gotten so many brilliant ideas this way.

photos: Elizabeth F. Clayton

posted in decor accessories, organizing


  1. Emily
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 08:53 | Permalink

    I love the tissue box. Here’s another one I like from one of my favorite places in Portland: Canoe. It’s a Japanese inspired box.

  2. Emily
    Posted May 22, 2011 at 10:00 | Permalink

    and another good one from Etsy… you may have seen it already

    • elizabeth
      Posted May 23, 2011 at 09:58 | Permalink

      ahhh, that whale one is *adorable*!