5 Common Bathroom Items That Are Probably Taking Up Precious Counter Space (Including Your Toothbrush!)

published Jul 24, 2021
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Your bathroom is a sanctuary. It’s where you get ready for the day, unwind from stressful moments, and answer the call of nature. It’s also where you store so many essentials, from toothbrushes to serums to hair tools and accessories. However, these essentials can start to take over precious bathroom counter space if you’re not careful, and if you live in a smaller space, you’ll know that every inch counts.

Does everything need to be stored on the counter, or are you better off moving certain products and devices to cupboards, drawers, or even to a different room? These expert tips will help you figure out what’s taking up much-needed real estate and where to store it instead.


It’s very common to remove jewelry before showering and leave it in the bathroom, or to store favorite pieces near your morning essentials so you don’t forget them before starting the day. Alyssa Kuchta, the founder of f.y.b jewelry, totally understands the struggle. “I love to have my jewelry easily accessible when I get ready in the mornings and keep a jewelry dish on my bathroom shelf,” she says. 

However, Kuchta notes that it’s important to pay attention to what your jewelry is made of; gold and gold-plated pieces can withstand moisture and humidity, but other metals can’t. “For fashion jewelry or pieces made from sterling silver or brass, immediate exposure to humidity can lead to wear, rust, or tarnishing over time.” Kuchta recommends keeping your jewelry in a pouch or box in a cool, dry place if possible to keep it at its sparkly, shiny best.

Credit: Alexa Hayes


Serums, lotions, and oils — oh my! If your skincare routine is taking over the counter, do some rearranging to help products work at their best. Dr. Anna Karp, a dermatologist and Bio-Oil partner, says that a cool, dark cabinet is the best spot for any precious skincare favorites, especially if your bathroom gets lots of direct sunlight or is particularly steamy post-shower. “I advise everyone to store their skincare products in a cool cabinet out of direct sunlight,” she says, noting that certain products or medications may have more explicit instructions written on their packaging if they require special storage. You can also consider relocating some products to the kitchen (yes, really) or investing in a skincare fridge. “Some products feel better when applied cold like eye creams and masks, so a refrigerator is another option for storage. If you don’t want to store your skincare in your main fridge, they sell cute skincare fridges that can be plugged into any outlet.”

Dr. Karp also recommends taking a look at the trendy skincare gadgets that may be cluttering up your countertops. “At-home laser hair removal devices are not very effective. They don’t have enough power to make serious impact on hair growth,” she advises. “You are much better off getting treated with a professional laser. I also think electric face massaging tools provide a minimal temporary effect and not the many anti-aging benefits they promise. These also do not have enough energy to offer lasting results like in-office radiofrequency or ultrasound treatments.”


Do you keep your toothbrush on the counter as a reminder to brush and floss each morning and night? You’re not alone, but it’s not the best spot for this hardworking tool. “The drawer or cabinet is recommended since your bathroom is a place with many microscopic germ particles being circulated from you and other people using the bathroom for bathing, grooming, and the toilet, so if your toothbrush head is exposed, it can become contaminated,” explains Dr. Lilya Horowitz, a general dentist and the owner of Domino Dental

Dr. Yuliya Rabinovich, DDS, the owner of Dental Muse, agrees. “Wherever you keep your toothbrush, just make sure it can dry fast. A toothbrush by default holds a lot of bacteria and so air drying it after every use is very important to avoid turning your cleaning tool into a bacteria growing petri dish.” She recommends keeping it in a cup in a cabinet with good air circulation. 

Electric toothbrushes and waterpiks can be major culprits for taking up valuable space; they’re often clunky and come with large chargers. Dr. Rabinovich says that if you’re renovating your bathroom, a smart way to reduce clutter is to install power jacks in your cabinets or drawers for said devices. “That way you can charge your oral care electric devices while hidden away,” she explains. “Most electric toothbrushes don’t need to be charged daily. Some may hold the charge for up to two weeks so no need to take up counter space with chargers.”

Menstrual care products

It’s not just your counters that are begging for breathing room — if you have storage under the sink, you’ve probably utilized it for the items you may not want front and center. Menstrual products like tampons, pads, and pantyliners are commonly stashed under the bathroom sink, but it’s not necessarily the best place for these monthly essentials. “Keep them in a cool, dry area to avoid exposing products to moisture and possible mold,” says Dr. Jodie Horton, MD, the chief wellness advisor for Love Wellness. “Storing products under the sink may seem like a good idea until you have a leaky faucet. It is important to inspect the packaging to look for tears or openings that could be a path for bacteria and mold.” And if your tampon or pad ever looks discolored, don’t use it.


Fragrances tend to end up in the bathroom, but it’s definitely not the best place for these delicious-smelling juices. Beauty writer and creator of Eau de Jane perfume Jane Daly previously told Apartment Therapy that the bathroom is simply too hot and humid for fragile fragrances. “Light can degrade the scent and make it break down. Heat has a similar effect,” she explains, adding that the best place for scents is a cool, dark cabinet or cupboard. Looks like the counter has some competition!