5 Big Mistakes You're Making When Organizing Your Bathroom, Says a Pro

Beautiful, organized bathroom

Whittney Parkinson Design

Whether your aesthetic is calm and spalike or maximalist and glamorous, an organized bathroom is a must for making your life easier. It's also key if you’re looking to maintain a regular self-care routine. But as it turns out, a disorganized bathroom isn't the worst thing in the world: a badly organized bathroom is.

With the help of professional organizer Meredith Goforth, we looked at all the ways your best attempts at bathroom organization can actually make a mess of things. 

Meet the Expert

Meredith Goforth is a professional organizer and the founder of House of Prim. She utilizes her passion for organizing, schedules, and style to help clients tidy their homes.

Mistake #1: Prioritizing Categories Over Needs

According to Goforth, one major mistake people make when organizing their bathrooms is prioritizing items by category instead of by routine. As Goforth points out, the bathroom is one room in the house that’s particularly ruled by our daily routines

“Many of my clients have an extensive cosmetics collection, but they only use a selection of a few products regularly,” Goforth says, who suggests separating your daily-use items from your backup supply or your special occasion items. But if identifying these items is proving tricky, Goforth has a tip.

“Place an empty box in your bathroom for a few days,” she says. “When you use a product, place it in the box. After a week, the items you use on a weekly basis will be separated from items you don’t use as often (or ever).”

Why does this work? As Goforth points out, we often overestimate what we need. This is a surefire way to show you what you’re using daily—and what you need to prioritize when organizing.  

Beautifully organized bathroom

Whittney Parkinson Design

Mistake #2: Keeping Too Much Stuff in the Bathroom

Depending on your available storage, another major issue Goforth identified is not being intentional about what needs to be in the bathroom, as opposed to what can be stored in a linen closet or other area. 

“I often advocate for creating a separate supply zone outside of the bathroom,” Goforth says. “This space can house extra toilet paper, cleaning supplies, bath linens, backup products, additional cosmetics, and more. Closets are often an ideal space for the supply zone outside of the bathroom.” 


If you’re short on extra closet space, Goforth suggests getting creative with something like an over-the-door organizer.

Mistake #3: Buying the Wrong Storage Products

Another major mistake Goforth says to avoid is investing in the wrong storage solutions. Not only can this create a ton of wasted space, but she says it can also make your space extra messy if things are spilling out or overflowing. 

“My number one recommendation is to intentionally map out what you’re putting in each space before customizing the areas accordingly,” Goforth says, who also tells us it’s crucial to make a plan first. “Measuring your drawers and cabinets is a good start. Prioritize solutions that are the ideal measurements and clear acrylic for visibility and easy cleanup.” 

Along with measuring the surface area of your cabinets, Goforth says to make sure you’re maximizing vertical space, too. Think stackable drawers, and always clear so you can see what’s inside. 

Beautifully organized bathroom

Whittney Parkinson Design

Mistake #4: Choosing Aesthetics Over Function

Thanks to a sea of organizing hacks to be found online, Goforth has noticed a shift toward prioritizing cute storage pieces over actual, functioning solutions. But, according to Goforth, just because a bathroom product can double as decor, that doesn’t mean it should. 

“For example, a glass jar of cotton balls on display is useless when you don’t use cotton balls,” she says. “That doesn’t mean a successful storage solution can’t also be beautiful, but in a small space like the bathroom, it needs to be functional first.” 

Beautifully organized bathroom

Whittney Parkinson Design

Mistake #5: Ignoring Your Own Unique Needs

On paper, it makes sense to keep things like makeup and hair accessories in your bathroom. But in practice, Goforth says it’s important to consider whether or not that makes sense for you. 

 “One of my clients always did her daughter’s hair for school at the kitchen table while she ate breakfast,” Goforth says. “It may be unconventional to keep hairbows and headbands in a kitchen drawer instead of in the bathroom, but it met the family’s real routine seamlessly!”

It’s important to remember that this is your space. It’s okay to ignore some arbitrary rule of what people have decided belongs in a bathroom. Instead, make your space work for you and it’ll all fall together beautifully.