Looking for bathroom storage solutions for tiny stuff
October 30, 2017 12:09 PM   Subscribe

I have 50 million small sample bottles of skincare and hair products currently housed in a tray on my bathroom counter (like so.) I need a better set-up because I never use them when they're stored this way!

They are all crammed in there and I don't use them as much as I would like because I can't see what each bottle contains without fishing each one out. The ideal solution would be a medicine cabinet, but I rent and installing one is far beyond my skill set. I've searched for a freestanding medicine cabinet but that brings up large pieces of furniture, which is not what I need. I basically need something where I can store all my tiny bottles in rows, 1 bottle deep, maybe 5 rows high. Any solutions?
posted by tatiana wishbone to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Spice rack?
posted by lizzicide at 12:13 PM on October 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

There are medicine cabinets that mount on top of the wall; they're not hard to install. Look for a YouTube video. You basically find the stud(s) or use drywall anchors, figure out how to find the right spot to put the anchors or screws into the wall, and voila.

Then, for tiny bottles, get some small boards and make additional shelves. Usually medicine cabinets just have one or two shelves, but that wastes a lot of space for small things. Adding two or three more shelves will make things much more organized. It's easy to do: look inside the cabinet at how the original shelves are mounted; if they use a special metal pin to hold up some basic rectangular boards, you can get some of those pins yourself.
posted by amtho at 12:13 PM on October 30, 2017

Nail polish rack? They have on the wall and free standing types.

Though, ironically, I found my solution was to put everything in a drawer, sorting things by type into cosmetic bags. I then rotate which stuff lives out in the open every so often and I've actually found myself using things more this way.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 12:17 PM on October 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Ikea spice racks. Alternatively, Ikea knife rail and attach peel and stick magnets to your samples. You can also do this in prettier ways with a magnetic board in a pretty picture frame ala Pinterest.
posted by Issithe at 12:20 PM on October 30, 2017

What about one of those standalone spice organizers with the drawers and racks? I actually might get one of these for my own million samples now that you've asked this question!
posted by leesh at 12:25 PM on October 30, 2017

Would some variety of over-the-door storage rack work in your bathroom? There are a wide range of styles/sizes/price-points available, designed for storing pantry items or shoes or whatever, on shelves or in see-through plastic pockets.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 12:35 PM on October 30, 2017

I like pixiecrinkle's solution, but I wouldn't give these things a drawer because that's prime real estate and they're annoying and don't deserve it. Round up all the bottles. Select one of each kind of product you actually use regularly. Donate anything you don't actually use--or regift at a white-elephant party. Put the rest of the stuff in a shoebox and stow the shoebox. Put the selected bottles where they'll be to hand when you're ready to use them. Use hotel shampoo first, not your regular fullsize bottle, until you've used it up. Same with everything else. Anything you find you don't like, jettison. Replenish your in-use bottles as needed from your shoebox until you've emptied the shoebox. Throw away the shoebox and stop acquiring tiny infuriating bottles of unguent.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:40 PM on October 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

This is a nice medicine cabinet alternative-- unlike most carts, it's very slim.

Personally what has worked for me is storing the majority of my samples in ziplocs organized by category (skin, hair, makeup etc), and just keeping a few things in my bathroom.
posted by acidic at 1:16 PM on October 30, 2017

Hanging organizer with clear pockets. I keep one in the inside door of my linen closet. Depending on the size of your samples, look for jewelry organizers or shoe organizers. I prefer this to spice racks and similar because the bottles aren't standardized the way that spice bottles are.
posted by xyzzy at 1:41 PM on October 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

"Though, ironically, I found my solution was to put everything in a drawer, sorting things by type into cosmetic bags. I then rotate which stuff lives out in the open every so often and I've actually found myself using things more this way."

I do something similar -- I put up a command adhesive soap dish (it has a lip) in the shower, and I threw all the sample sizes into a storage box. I sort through and pick out a few things -- two shampoos, two conditioners, a shower mask, a body wash -- and put those in the soap dish in the shower (plus a couple moisturizers or whatever on the counter). As I use those up, I replace them with other things from the storage box.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:23 PM on October 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you still want to consider a piece of furniture, kitchen cabinets tend be smaller. For instance, this one on Overstock is only 12.5" deep.
posted by slipthought at 8:14 PM on October 30, 2017

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