• Cheryl Libutti

Organizer, Organize Thyself: Bathroom Linen Closet.

Happy 2016! January was a busy month, full of new clients and great work being done in people's houses. Many of my clients right now are more long-term, and they are all tackling big re-organization projects, which is great for them but not so great for my favorite before-and-after blog posts.

Good things come to those who wait, however, and I promise that a few of these projects are wrapping up and I'll be able to post about them soon.

So in the meantime, I bring you a thoroughly embarrassing Organizer, Organize Thyself post in which I expose my horrible, unpretty bathroom linen closet.

Please be kind.

Our master bathroom is very functional but not super pretty. We each have our own small-ish vanity seperated by a garden tub. In the vanity, I have two tiny drawers and a double door cabinet underneath. When we first toured the house as prospective buyers, I immediately claimed the vanity closer to the bathroom linen closet, knowing I would need the extra space for my makeup, hair stuff, and other girly neccesities.

My husband and I are planning a mini-micro makeover of the space- just paint, maybe install a shelf or two, and change the window treatments- later this month so I thought I would get a jump start on things by tackling the linen closet.

Here are the awful before pictures:

Ugh. It looks even worse in the pictures.

My daughter worked with me on this one. First we emptied out all the shelving and laid the contents out on the edge of the tub area.

I sorted and purged while she cleaned. While sitting in the tub. Love that girl.

After a few hours of arranging and labeling (love my label maker) and one quick trip each to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Marshall's, and Walmart, and we arrived at this:

Sooooo much better.

The top baskets hold hair clippers I use to cut my husband's hair and some first aid items and Q-tips and cotton balls.

The middle row holds three organizers which break down into categories for skin, hair, and nails. Hey, I have two daughters. We have a good supply of this kind of stuff.

Next row down is my things for getting ready everyday- my makeup in a new acrylic holder, a smaller bin for my lotions and potions for my face, and a big bin for my hairdryer, brushes and hair spray.

Bottom row is new towels. Such a luxury. (These were previously purchased from Target.)

The closet has a large bottom section that I filled with a rolling cart to hold (from top to bottom) my girly supplies, my larger lotions and extras that didn't fit in the smaller drawers, and a drawer for recycling empty toilet paper rolls and all the plastic bottles we go through for body wash, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, etc. It gives me a place to stash it all and every few weeks I can empty it out. Prior to this drawer we would have those items floating around the bathroom for a day or two and I got sick of looking at them.

The fronts of the drawers are see through, so I slipped a sheet of white cardstock paper in the front of each drawer to make it clean and white.

When taking the pictures, I very deliberately kept in the shot my little stick vacuum I use in the bathroom. This is where I keep it, and I wanted to keep the pictures honest. Many linen closets you see on Pinterest or online are not real people's linen closets- and you can tell in a second which ones are magazine set-ups and which ones are real houses with actual people using them. Don't get sucked in by fake pictures- it sets up an unrealistic expectation about how people really live. And sometimes our stuff is just not very pretty. My stick vacuum is not very pretty but that is where I keep it for maximum functionality. And over and over and over I remind people I'm working with to think about everyday functionality when organizing your spaces. So I celebrate my little stick vacuum being in there!

While I was at it, I emptied out the area under my sink and cleaned out the excess stuff that had accummulated there. Some items moved from the linen closet to that area. Overall, it's a much smarter use of space.

Now whenever I open that door, instead of feeling like an organizing fraud, I feel pretty and calm and happy that it's so much better. Ahhh.

Here's the breakdown:

Goals: clean out used and old toiletry items, create some better organization, utilize the whole space more effectively, and use pretty bins to hide less pretty items and visually unify the shelves.

Hours spent: 3

Garbage bags of stuff thrown out: 1

Cost: about $30 for the bins (BB&B), $9 for the rolling cart (Walmart), and $13 for the makeup holder (Marshall's) for a grand total of $53.

Number of things I found that I forgot I had but had to throw out anyway because it was too old to safely use: 4

And a public thank you to my daughter, who helped me in this project and was understanding when I refused to give her money for payment even though she asked very nicely. (I took her to Panera for lunch instead.)

A great project DONE!!


1. Investing 3 hours can make a HUGE difference in a space.

2. Less than $60 can also make a huge difference.

3. We all like it to be pretty, but keep function in mind as well, especially in a frequently-used area like a bathroom.

4. No one should ever be embarrassed about showing me their spaces because I've put pictures of mine on THE INTERNET FOR ALL TO SEE.

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