Economical Bathroom Storage

I could use suggestions on creative and inexpensive storage ideas for living in a very small apartment. By storage I mean places or ways to store the basics of clothing, kitchen items, and bathrooms items so they are organized and easy to get to. 
This epic entry is in response to Alice's bathroom storage inquiry. You can read the kitchen storage post here and the clothing storage post here

My small bathroom lacks both a linen closet and an under-the-sink cabinet, but I figured out how to store my toiletries in private, economical, and attractive ways. I'll list my own solutions, and then I'll provide images and links to others.

1) Edit your toiletries and don't buy in bulk

Editing was my initial response to clothing solutions. Do you have hair products you rarely use? Make up you save for special occasions? Expired skin creams?* A plethora of used tiny hotel shampoos? Clumpy, half-dried nail polishes? I did, and I threw them away two years ago during our first move, and haven't looked back. Now I only keep items that I use on a daily or weekly basis, and I don't replenish my supply until I am almost out. I also stopped wearing make up two years ago, which has greatly decreased my need for storage. 

Buying in bulk is cheaper, but if you seriously lack storage space like me, then buying in small quantities is the way to go. I made the mistake of buying an 18-pack of toilet paper the other day, and now the rolls are stacked up 9-high, like tissue towers. 

*The period after opening label will show a number followed by the letter M, for months. Eye makeup is good for 6 months, foundation a year, and lipsticks two years. Preservative-free products degrade more quickly. Source

2) Hack a cabinet

Since our bathroom only has a small and shallow medicine cabinet for storage, I'm unable to drill shelves into the wall due to wiring, and I hate the look of over-the-toilet shelves, I had to get creative. I repurposed 9 of IKEA's RETUR recycling bins into a unit that holds my mini straightening iron, comb, razors, and lots of other toiletries. Although the units stack well, they either need to be glued or taped together. I recently placed an order for Wallpops' Santorini Stripe to put along the sides and bottom of the unit to help it stay together and to coordinate with my bathroom accessories. The unit can be hung on the wall, but I have mine sitting on the tank of my toilet. Here's a photoshopped image of what it will look like once I adhere the decal.

What I like most about this hack is how customizable it is. You could stack several RETURs to create a narrow floor unit, and Wallpops offers dozens of solid and patterned Stripes from which to choose to match your bathroom decor.

View many more storage ideas after the jump.

3) No linen closet? Make towel burritos.
We roll our towels and bathmats into burritos, stick them in a bag, and keep it under our sink. Rolled linens save space and give your bathroom a spa-like quality. Make sure your bag/basket can handle damp spaces. Mine's made of polypropylene. 

That's it for my bathroom storage tips. Now let's see what the interwebs has to offer.

4) Repurpose a coat rack or a salvaged ladder for towels
If you need extra towel bars, but are unable to drill into the wall, try repurposing a coat rack or leaning a thin wooden ladder against the wall.


5) DIY mason jar storage
If you're handy, this is a great way to store small toiletries. All you need are mason jars, a piece of wood, picture hangers, and large pipe clamps.

tutorial from Lovely Little Details

6) Wall-mounted small toiletry holders
Here's another small storage idea. Buy ready-to-hang glass tealight holders to store cotton balls, q-tips, and the like. 

CB2 tealight holder, $1.95 each

7) Rail storage
Use a rail system with cubbies to suspend toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other small items. You can hang hair dryers and towels from S-hooks.

The IKEA FINTORP series has a rail for $8. You can accessorize it with white caddies for $7, silver caddies for $4, and 5-packs of hooks for $3. It is marketed to be used in the kitchen, but I think it's suitable anywhere you need small storage.

The BYGEL series is even cheaper. Containers are only $0.99 each, and the rail is $3. A 10-pack of silver S hooks is $0.99, or you can get a 6-pack of colored ones for $0.99.


8) SKAR shoe cabinet for larger items
I am definitely hawking lots of IKEA products, but they have so many great items that can be repurposed. The SKAR shoe cabinet is narrow so it doesn't occupy much floor space, and it can be used to store larger items, like extra shampoo bottles, hairdryers, and even rolls of toilet paper.


9) Over-the-door shoe organizer
It reads dorm-y to me, but shoe organizers are a great way to store antiperspirant, hairbrushes, and plenty of other small items. I recommend getting one with pockets that aren't clear, so you'll have a bit more privacy.


10) Over-the-tank toilet paper holder
This product saves floor and cabinet space. It will also be a boon to guests: they'll know where to find more toilet paper if the current roll is finished.


11) Over-the-door shelf
Use a shelf and attractive baskets to store extra toilet paper and other items that don't require daily use. 


12) Tall and slender shelving
If you lack the wall space to accommodate wide shelves, go vertical!

IKEA LACK, available in black, red, and white $50

13) Repurpose a drawer
This idea comes from Better Homes and Gardens. They suggest lining the inside with paper (or perhaps Wallpops Blox?), and then using picture-hanging hardware to hang the drawer on the wall. They even mounted a cup hook along the bottom to hang a towel.


14) Hang a box
This is another cute tip from Better Homes and Gardens. They suggest suspending a box from two wall hooks with a leather strap, and filling it with towels and toiletries.


15) Window box as towel storage
Real Simple repurposes a window box as a rolled towel holder.


16) Repurpose a crate 
Another inexpensive tip from Real Simple: use a wooden crate to store towels and toilet paper.

Or mount a wine crate to the wall. Read the tutorial over at Apartment Therapy.


17) Fruit basket for shower or other toiletry storage
One more great tip from Real Simple! Suspend a fruit basket from the ceiling. Use it in the shower as a caddy or in an unused corner in your bathroom to hold lotions and the like.


18) Vintage Planter
Martha Stewart suggests using a planter to display toiletries. To achieve a consistent look, I recommend sorting your q-tips, cotton balls, etc. into clear apothecary jars, and pouring your various liquids into labeled clear/translucent containers.


19) Add towel bars
Stacking towel bars uses vertical space efficiently. If you're a renter, I recommend drilling into a wall instead of the door. 


And that concludes the bathroom storage round-up! You can use some of the tips from the kitchen storage post to organize the cabinet under your sink effectively. I hope these suggestions have been helpful. Please let me know if you come up with different ones.