Tip #168: Hang a high shelf.
My forever motto is less stuff, not more storage. But there are some things that need having and those things need a place to perch. In those cases, a clever solution is worth its weight in gold.
Enter our new bathroom shelf.
Our bathroom is tiny. It’s windowless and furniture-less. Until now, we’ve stored our few essentials on the back of the toilet, but it’s been a cumbersome solution both because of the toilet’s tendency to sweat and because of our children’s tendency to grab anything within reach and use it to festoon themselves or each other. In the midst of our bathroom updates, I decided it was finally time to create a nook to store our in-bathroom essentials: stain remover and laundry detergent for hand washing clothes, and, if we could swing it, a few extra rolls of toilet paper.
I didn’t want anything too imposing—or too tempting for tiny climbers. Above-toilet shelving units abound and there’s no shortage of small space advice extolling their virtues, but I crave open space and our bathroom storage needs are small enough that I can’t justify the expense or imposition of a large shelf. (Indeed, neighbors recently moved out of our building and left a lovely unit of this sort curbside, but even at the very tantalizing price of completely free, I didn’t want the space hog.)
Instead, we now have a shelf where I least expected one: Above the doorway. The wall above the bathroom door is the perfect place for mounting a slim shelf that virtually disappears from view. A quick step up on the footstool we keep below the sink for hand washing and teeth brushing purposes makes it easy to reach for adults but far out of reach of kids.
It’s a tiny fix that’s decluttered the back of the toilet and made room for an extra roll or two of toilet paper at the same time. I can see it being especially useful in a kitchen, too, but really it’s a simple way to use otherwise wasted space, anywhere.
For the curious:
+ We chose the Brake Angle Shelf, generously provided by Schoolhouse Electric. We have thicker-than-drywall plaster walls so we had to get extra long screws, but the mounting was fairly straightforward and I love the clean lines of the shelf.
+ Somewhat unrelated but I know the questions are coming. I’m often asked about I how I manage to wear white/sleep on white sheets while also living with two small kids. The answer is two-fold: First: I try hard not to be too precious about this sort of thing. (What’s a grass stain but a sign of good living?) Second: I remember that most stains, if treated swiftly, will come out. Here’s what I use:
+ My very favorite stain fighter are solid bars of stain remover a la La Laundress Wash & Stain Bar. We’ve also had equally terrific homemade options procured from small French markets. Should you be traveling this summer, keep your eyes peeled. Nellie’s All-Natural also makes a stain stick that I imagine is terrific, but I’ve never tried it. “We” once accidentally spilled an entire glass of red wine onto our slip cover and we removed the stain entirely using one of these bars. Truly, every bar of this sort that I’ve ever tried has worked extremely well and I keep one in a small glass jar in my bathroom at all times. We were also given a bottle of La Laundress Stain Solution that we keep on our shelf. I’m trying hard to avoid single-use plastic, so I wouldn’t purchase this again, especially because stain bars work so well.
+ For regular hand washing needs, including daily washing of cloth diaper covers, we use Common Good detergent which we can refill locally at our grocery store. (If you don’t have a local refill option, stay tuned. They’re soon going to launch remote refills! UPDATE: You can preorder your box today and get 30% off. Will ship late-July in a container that uses 83% less plastic!)
+ For loads of white sheets (and other laundry) that we send down to the laundromat, we supply them with Nellie’s Oxygen Brightner and detergent (most often these days, Charlie’s Soap). We wash our sheets weekly! Does this keep them perfectly pristine? No. But our current bed sheets are all more than two years old and they still feel mostly fresh to me!
+ More about the rest of the bathroom updates this way.
What about you guys? Any genius small-space storage solutions you’ve stumbled upon lately?