Living Smart: 5 efficient bathroom-storage solutions

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Six in the morning on a Monday ó your alarm goes off. After rolling over and pressing snooze more times than youíd like to admit, you spring out of bed and run to your messy bathroom, knowing you have less than 20 minutes to get ready.

You spend the first five minutes searching for the hairbrush. Frustrated and behind schedule, you realize you can no longer wait to find a storage solution for the clutter.

Professional organizers say maximizing the space in your bathroom makes it more efficient and leads to happier mornings. "It saves you time," says Tammy Atchison, owner of The Busy Corner in Houston. "If you have storage solutions and a routine, then you arenít scattered to find things."

For better bathroom storage, follow these five organization tips.

1. Discard unused items

"First, you have to touch everything and make sure you need everything that you have," says Tova Diamond, owner of Everything Has a Place in Nevada City, Calif.

Go through the medicine cabinet. Properly dispose of any expired medications. Do you have six types of shampoo? Recycle the bottles, or give them to a friend. Getting rid of unused toiletries provides more space to store what you really need.

2. Containerize your goods

Diamond recommends using containers to organize your bathroom accessories.

She says to use different sizes to fit different items. They can be cardboard, metal or plastic. "You can pick and choose depending on your aesthetic preference and price range," she adds.

Save money by using what you already have, such as the boxes your checks come in, Diamond says.

3. Use drawer dividers

"Drawer dividers are the most important purchase anyone can make for their bathroom," says Diana Luck, a professional organizer in Portland, Ore. Use them to help keep your bathroom items compartmentalized.

She adds that everything used daily should have a place on the counter. Neitra Blair, owner of Organizing Lifestyles in Houston recommends keeping makeup used daily in a small three-tiered plastic container. Anything not used daily should be stowed in its own space in a drawer or cupboard.

4. Utilize space throughout the bathroom

Susan Stewart, owner of Perfectly Placed Organization & Design, in Phoenix and St. Louis, recommends over-the-door baskets to make use of the back of the cabinet door. Custom shelves or narrow sliding baskets fit around plumbing fixtures below the sink.

Blair says there are great products for hanging hair dryers and curling irons on cabinet doors or attaching them to walls.

You can also make use of the wall space by attaching containers to the wall for towels or other bathroom accoutrements.

5. Think outside the box

In small bathrooms without ample built-in storage, Stewart recommends over-the-door shoe holders with clear pockets to hold hair accessories. She says itís especially helpful to do this when there are multiple children in the household.

A lazy Susan is often associated with the kitchen, but Stewart says they can be great in bathroom cabinets for bottles that stand upright.