A Pro Organizer Helped Me Transform My Bathroom Linen Closet for Under $50

published Aug 4, 2023
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unorganized shelf in linen closet, bottles everywhere, towel on inside of door, green and pink jungle shower curtain
Credit: Lauren Wellbank

My bathroom linen closet has been a source of frustration since I unpacked the first box the day my family moved into our house. As the only storage closet we have in our four-bedroom, one-bathroom home, it’s responsible for storing everything from first aid supplies to bleach wipes. With five people (and a dog) in and out of this space daily, it can quickly turn into a mess. Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of storage solutions to make things easier on us (like bins and tiered trays), but nothing stays where it’s supposed to for long. 

When I recently got an opportunity to talk to Jean Prominski of Seattle Sparkle about my storage woes, I jumped at the chance to get a professional organizer’s take on things. Here’s how she helped me get this chaos under control. 

Credit: Lauren Wellbank

First, I sent Prominski a photo of what I was working with. I was a bit embarrassed because … well, look at it. We had stuff crammed everywhere. There was no real order to the madness — while we each had an assigned shelf, things had gotten so out of hand that we all eventually just started putting things anywhere they would fit — and things were constantly getting lost.

Get everything out and declutter.

Her first bit of advice was to pull everything out of the closet and assess what was staying and what was going. “Do a quick purge,” she told me, adding that I should get rid of anything that I wasn’t using anymore and anything that had expired. Fun fact: Dental floss expires, which is to say I was able to throw away some spools that had gone years past their best-by date. I also tossed a curl cream that I bought six years ago and hated and a few cosmetics that were well past their prime. 

Credit: Lauren Wellbank

Sort by category.

Next, I pulled out all of our extras and backup stock and relocated that to the basement. At Prominski’s suggestion, I separated everything that was left into categories and left it on my bathroom floor while I washed down the shelves, bins, and trays. Then I sent her another photo of my massively pared-down collection of toiletries. 

Declutter once again.

We collectively decided my tiered trays had to go. One of the biggest problems I had with them was that as soon as one thing got knocked over, everything sort of fell apart because it’s hard to get your hands in there to pick stuff back up without knocking more stuff over. 

Credit: Lauren Wellbank

Use bins.

Prominski suggested doing bins instead, as they would be easier to manage and would keep stuff contained. “When using bins, I recommend using what you have first,” she explained. “Even just cutting down small/medium sized Amazon boxes or using plastic zip-top bags will help you see what sized plastic bins you need.” 

I ended up repurposing some bins I already had, but I didn’t have enough to store everything so I ordered a few from Amazon. I went with the clear bins with handles for some of the bigger stuff for my husband and me and then I opted to get these stackable storage bins for the rest because I knew they would be easier to store and more user-friendly when it came to the things we’d need access to every day.

Credit: Lauren Wellbank

Organize the space.

My husband and I put our heads together to determine how we would separate our stuff. Ultimately we decided to each get a bin for our skincare items and another for our hair care items. Then I put the kids’ bath stuff into one of the stackable bins and put it on top of our dog’s stuff because I knew a grown-up would always be responsible for getting things out of those bins. I put the kids’ toothbrushes and toothpaste back on the lowest shelf so that they could still have easy access to them. 

Credit: Lauren Wellbank

Extra credit: Label.

Lastly, in what my husband called my attempt at earning “extra credit” I created labels for each of our bins using my Cricut

Once I had the finished product to show off I called my family in to take a look (and to tell them I expected it to stay this way for at least an entire day before it goes back to looking super lived-in). I can’t believe what a difference switching to bins made. And as a bonus, because I already had almost all the supplies on hand, this entire linen closet glow-up cost less than $50!