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4 tips for organizing a small bathroom


Raise your hand if your kids’ bathroom is a complete chaos! Up to a couple of weeks ago, mine would have been raised, and I would have been typing this post with my last remaining 5 fingers.

Let’s go back a bit in time to recapitulate my story, if you don’t mind.

When we lived in North Carolina, each of my daughters had their own bathroom – thank you cheap North Carolina real-estate. And then we moved to San Francisco, and while we were very lucky to find a house with a bedroom for each of our girls, they do have to share a small bathroom [44 ft²], which also happens to be the guests’ bathroom when we have visitors. We set up the bathroom the best we could, but the amount of storage is 1/5 of what they had in North Carolina.

I tried at first to regularly clean the shelves [if you have teens, you know that expiration dates on cosmetics is a foreign concept to them.]

And then, and then… I dropped the ball.

I capitulated.

I decided somehow that as almost-adults, they should be organizing regularly their bathroom and clean it. Wrong, wrong. And wrong again.

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Once in a while, I go on a crusade and try every possible trick in the book. Money: “I’ll give you extra pocket money if you clean the bathroom”. Management: “There is a calendar for each of you, girls, for bathroom cleaning chores attached on the fridge door.”  Threats : “No sleepovers or guests of yours in this house until the bathroom is cleaned.” And then, when we have imminent guests arrival, I become a real dictator. A true #momster.

So I dropped the ball.

But then, I remembered I’m not a quitter. So when Cottonelle asked me to share with you bathroom organizing tips, I thought it was perfect timing to regain power over the guests/teens bathroom. Like a boss, because… because I’m not a quitter, remember?

Here is how I organized the space:

1. Shelves: I emptied all the shelves and threw away anything that looked expired or looked like it died a few months back but did not get a proper burial. That’s almost half the shelf space gone… yay me. Then, I got some pretty acrylic boxes and organized products by category : hair accessories, makeup, creams, and pot-pourri, also known as “I don’t know what the heck this is for but it looks very special to my girls.”

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2. Bathroom door caddy: I sewed a simple behind-the-door caddy to organize bathroom countertop products. It is now so much easier to quickly clean the bathroom sink and countertop area. A similar step-by-step project tutorial can be found here.

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3. Undersink area: This used to be the ‘hair-curler-straightener-dryer- tangled-wires’ zone. Well, no more, my dear. I used a magazine holder and organized the mess, leaving some room under the sink for extra towels, cleaning products and toilet paper – because they always run out of toilet paper you know when, and I always get to play ‘Super Mario’ down to the garage where we used to store the paper toilet stash. It also helps greatly that Cottonelle Mega Roll has a much longer shelf-life… like 4 rolls in just one roll, thank you very much.

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ps: I’m such a boss, I even learned how to do toilet paper roll origami pliés when we have guests over. Impressive, right? Here is the tutorial I followed if you want to impress your guests as well.

4. Wall organisation: barrettes and necklaces are so pretty to look at; I arranged them on the wall so they are easy to access, and there is more storage available in the under-sink drawers for the not-so-aesthetically appealing accessories.

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I will keep track of the situation in the girls’ bathroom by doing regular raids – instead of waiting for chaos to take over.

I’m happy to report that in the last 2 weeks, my check-ups have really surprised me. The girls have noticed the effort I put into their bathroom and they seem to be following along.

Do you have organization tips or easy DIY projects for bathroom organization? Please share! Xo, Si-

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• This post is a partnership with Cottonelle, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make FrenchByDesign possible.


  • Chloe

    I love what you did with the bathroom it looks so practical but pretty! My boyfriend and I are moving into a new house, the bedrooms are large so the bathroom is compromised (typical in the UK) so these tips will be amazing! -xo

    • French By Design

      Oh, awesome! So happy to read that you got some inspiration for your bathroom! Congrats on the new house, and good luck with the move!

  • Kate

    Haha, you ARE a boss, Si! Great tips, and your post made me laugh out loud! XOXO-

    • French By Design

      Ha, are you a momster as well, Kate?! ;)) thanks for the sweet comment! Xo, Si-

  • Lauren

    Great tips, my favorite is definitely the magazine folder used for the hair devices. Super clever! Thanks so much for sharing! Lauren

  • tunie

    You’re a genius for taking charge! I was over-whelmed by bed/bathroom management as a teen. Parents very mistakenly expect kids to just *know* how to tidy up, but they seriously do not. It’s overwhelming. So every so often while I was age 11-13, my mother would tire of pleading and simply do a clean sweep while I was at school, putting anything she didn’t understand in a small box to the side. But everything else (clothes, magazines, books, etc), was back in it’s place in a way I would never have managed. I was always filled with a profound relief and gratitude! (After getting over the shock of invasion, that is…haha). Love the bathroom ideas here, esp the back of door pockets and the repurposed magazine caddys!

  • LAU

    oh Yess… I do!!
    Since we moved back to the Provence, we share a 1,8 sqm tiny “shower with sink” ;-))
    and we already tried lots of wall storages… last one seems to be the “right” one… when we used photo-gallery shelves from our fav swedish store!!
    and it works…
    I’ll try to take some pics soon… but not easy in such a narrow place!!
    Let’s see…
    Et bravo pour tes aménagements c’est fonctionnel, et très très chouette!
    hugs from Provence