I Doubled My Bathroom Vanity Storage for Only $20

Your poor bathroom vanity. It has to hide all the things we don’t want on display, which is no easy task. Consider that we’re talking about a box that also has to hide a nest of plumbing pipes: No wonder it easily devolves into a jumbled mess and then a black hole into which toiletries disappear. Soon you end up with duplicates of mouthwash and deodorant—which only makes things worse—because you can’t find anything under there.

For the last month, my husband and I have been living in our small Airbnb while we renovate our own bath and kitchen, so we’ve shared what I optimistically call a “compact” bath, along with its petite vanity. Since I opted for a pretty mirror instead of a medicine cabinet, this 24-inch-wide vanity stores back-up cleaning supplies and amenities for guests. (What kind of host would I be if travelers couldn’t avail themselves of Q-tips, micellar cleansing water, and makeup remover pads, and actual Kleenex brand tissues?)

Obviously, the poor thing is taxed. So, inspired by Pinterest images of vanities with shelves, we checked out pre-made options that come complete with mounting hardware. We grabbed one for 10 bucks that would just fit the vanity, with a couple inches left over. (Pro tip: Don’t forget to measure your vanity before you go to the store.)

But then, while oohing and ahhing over the kitchen cabinet system for pots and pans in another aisle, my husband’s eyes lighted on the little bamboo storage cubes on the next shelf, the ones meant for corralling things in junk drawers. I’d seen them and not thought twice. But he suggested we use those and stick them to the vanity with adhesive strips.

Sold. No need for a drill, and no worries about damaging the particle board cabinet. We’d just stick ’em up. Plus, we could mount them on either side of the plumbing, so there would still be room below for the tall things, like hair spray or bottles of cleaner. Bonus: Putting items in those shallow cubes meant less risk of toppling things over when you reach below them for something.

We grabbed two of the bamboo cubes ($12 total) and a value pack of the 3M Command strips rated for 16 pounds ($9), then hurried home to empty the vanity. And it was truly a black hole. There were supplies lurking in there that I hadn’t seen in months. I took the opportunity to clean, throw in some cute contact paper I had leftover from the apartment’s kitchen, and move some of the back-up supplies to the housekeeping closet. Then, in a matter of five minutes, I mounted both cubes.

Note: I tried to get by with only three Command strips, while my husband overdid it—so I thought—with six. I overloaded mine with cute, but too-heavy, glass and ceramic jars, and it fell shortly afterwards. So moral of the story: Go overboard with the Command strips and stick to lightweight containers.

Getting all the smalls off the bottom of the cabinet made a huge difference. Given the plumbing in the way, adding those two cubbies doubled our usable space in the cabinet, and can actually see what’s in there now—what a novel concept!

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