Category Archives: House / Bathroom

Organizing the Awkward Space Under the Bathroom Vanity

Tips for organizing the awkward space under the bathroom vanity and quickly preparing it for guests.

Bathroom vanity with artThe new year is a great time to refresh your space, since the bad weather often has you stuck indoors. I get excited about it, because the weather inspires me to organize and clear the clutter out of spaces. Staying organized is especially important in small spaces like the bathroom, where good storage systems will help you remain organized through the rest of the year.

My bathroom was suffering from organization neglect. Even though I have a generous vanity cabinet, everything was messy from four years of disorganized use!

Get Fresh Bathroom cabinet before

To tackle this mess, I first pulled everything out of the cabinets and drawers, and ditched items I didn’t need. I threw out the old makeup, hair and body products that weren’t getting used, because you don’t need to create a storage system for unused clutter.

They key to good storage in the bathroom is maximizing the under-sink storage area, even though it’s awkward with pipes coming into it.

Before tackling the organizing, I covered the bottom of the cabinet in removable, adhesive shelf paper. Then, to maximize storage, I tried using a few different shelving and drawer systems from home improvement stores, but they were pricey, and all took up a lot of space without adding a lot of function. Instead, I resorted to the simple-yet-effective solution of clear plastic bins.

Get Fresh Bathroom cabinet organization bins

I grouped items in categories, such as “extra bath & body products” and “extra baby products”. Each group got its own bin, so we know where to check when we run out of a product.

Nail care items fit perfectly into a little plastic box that slid under the awkward sink pipes, making use of that small bit of space.

Get Fresh Bathroom soap storage

Smaller items, like bar soaps, razor blades and hair combs, went into a small plastic drawer unit that for easy access.

Get Fresh Bathroom makeup caddy

I put my makeup and makeup brushes into a little caddy to make it both easy to grab, and easy to put away.

Hair dryers, straightening irons, and big brushes are awkward to store. I solved this by hanging them on adhesive hooks inside the doors of the cabinet. If they didn’t have good loops for hanging, I made my own by adding a zip tie around the appliance.

The beauty of a good clean-out and organizing project?   When I was done organizing the vanity, I discovered I had more than enough space to store everything, leaving room for items that may get added through the year.

Get Fresh Bathroom vanity cabinet detail

Once you’ve tackled that under-sink storage, everything else is easier.

A clean, clutter-free counter is key to keeping your bathroom fresh, so I moved most of our daily use items into the vanity drawers. The key is to keep them easily accessible.

One vanity drawer holds my husband’s personal items that he uses daily, while another holds mine. There were two drawers left over, so one by the toilet is filled with toilet paper rolls, and the other holds our pet bathing shower attachment.

I used a pretty tray to corral the items that are best left on the counter; this gives the space a more cohesive look.

Get Fresh Bathroom vanity wall view

Be smart when you accessorize the bathroom. Due to its small size, it’s no place for clutter, but a few nice touches go a long way:

  • Hang some art
  • Add a live plant
  • Use pretty, matching bath towels and coordinating bath mats

Get Fresh Bathroom guest towels candle

Finally, when you’re entertaining guests, quickly freshen up the space with these three tips:

  • Wipe down the sink, counter, faucet handles, and mirror
  • Light a scented candle for elegance
  • Set out some pretty hand towels by the sink

When it comes to keeping a small space fresh and organized, just remember: If everything has a place, there can be no mess.

This post was originally published on, where I am contributing writer / brand ambassador.

Updated Rental Home Tour: Master Bedroom & Bathroom

Master Bath

Beautifully renovated and tiled, our master bathroom doesn’t require much decorating. Decorating bathrooms in a rental, and creating enough storage in them, is often a challenge – but we really got lucky with this one.

If I ever run out of projects, I’ll repaint the walls so that they’re more of a light, warm cream that blends with the tile rather than their current yellow-toned beige.Master Bath

Master Bath Details:

  • Owl art from Funnelcloud Studio
  • Glass vanity items from Crate & Barrel
  • Other plants and counter decor (candles) rotate on my whim :)

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom was the first room I “finished” decorating when we moved in. Light and airy, with a window directly over the bed, this room gets a beautiful breeze and makes it hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. It got a seriously hand-made treatment, from custom curtains to home-built nightstands with handmade (and upcycled) storage bins. I customized and hung wall-mounted lamps for night time reading. As for accessorizing, I’ve made some special art and some personalized photography.


And then . . . well, then we “undecorated” the room.  I explained why in the post about the wedding quilt.  We still haven’t built our new king size bed, but we’re getting closer.  Maybe in July?
Once we build the bed, then we’ll start from scratch in the room.  In the mean time, we’re keeping an eye out for some small mid-century nightstands.

Bedroom In Progress

Bedroom Details:

Bathroom Decor and Organization Update & Wall-Mounted Vase Review

It’s time for a much overdue bathroom decor update.  Come on in, there’s plenty of room . . .

I haven’t shared a lot about decor or organization for our main bathroom.  There’s not a lot to decorate in this space.  Many of my old apartment bathrooms were cold, ugly, awkward . . . giving me more of a decorating and storage challenge.  Unlike those apartment bathrooms, this one was renovated completely prior to our move-in, so I haven’t had to try hard to make it look nice.

When you last saw the forgotten bathroom,  I had just hung clear teardrop vases from CB2 on the one blank wall large enough to decorate:

Bathroom Glass Hanging Vases |

I loved the look of the wall-mounted vases, but they didn’t work out for me in the long run.

First, they were quick to display dust, a problem that was solved by running them through the dishwasher occasionally.

Second, when I hung fresh flowers in them the flowers would leave marks against the walls as they wilted and got older, and one time a sad flower blossom stuck to the wall and left a big smear in its wake. Granted, if I were Martha Stewart and changed out my fresh flowers every three days, wilted flowers leaving marks on walls wouldn’t have been an issue.

Giving up on the fresh florals, I tried using some fake flower stems in the vases for a lower-maintenance look.  This didn’t work out well at all – I couldn’t add water to the vases with fake flower stems in them, and so there was no counter-balance weight to hold them in place.  If I didn’t place the floral stems just right, the vases would tilt and spin on their wall hooks.  I was worried they could fall off the wall, so down they came.

I didn’t give a hoot that the vases didn’t work out, because Ryan and I found the perfect replacement!

Hoot Owl Giclee Print Funnelcloud on Etsy

Credit: Funnelcloud on Etsy

This awesome Hoot Owl Giclee Print is from my friend Rachel’s shop, Funnelcloud Studio.   It was the perfect piece of art to add some much-needed color to that wall.  I love the blues and greens as a starting point to add more color to the bathroom with new towels and a rug, for example.

Bathroom Owl Art Nov 2012 |

I framed the print in a super cheap frame and photo mat from Michael’s – I was glad I could find a frame that matched the mirror and cabinetry so closely in color and style.

I also added some smaller organization and decor touches that I’ll share too, since we’re already talking bathrooms.

We have to keep our soap and lotion on top of a tray so they don’t scar the marble counter more, so we included the glass tray and the small glass canisters from Crate & Barrel in our wedding registry. We also store our electric toothbrush and toothpaste on the tray . . . not sure where it got off to in this photo.

 Bathroom Counter Organization |

Do you see the little electric toothbrush heads stuck to the wall next to our “Blue Canary In The Outlet By The Light Switch“?  We couldn’t find a good way to store them, so I was excited to find this stick-on toothbrush holderon Amazon. If we had a cabinet above the sink, we’d have installed it inside the cabinet door. But since we don’t, we just used the back corner of the wall.  They’re out of the way but easy to grab.

On the other side of the bathroom I’ve added a few things.  My painting from Italy needs a custom frame and I need to just get that done . . . I just forget.  But once I get it framed I think it will be too large for that wall, so I need to find another space in the house.

Bathroom Nov 2012 |

We’ve got a ton of orchid plants leftover from our wedding, and I’ve jokingly referred to the bathroom as the “Orchid Hospital.”  Orchids that were close to death have come gloriously back to life in the bathroom, probably because it gets so humid from the shower.  So now I’m rotating a few of our dozen orchids through the bathroom each month.

Second, the monogrammed cross stitch hand towels were a sweet wedding gift from a college friend.  They come out when company is visiting . . . or apparently when I’m taking photos for the blog. :)Bathroom Nov 2012 Naked Man |

Oh wait. . . you want to know about the naked man?

Are you telling me you don’t have a naked man swinging from a pole in your bathroom?  The Naked Man was found on the floor of my friend’s mom’s car as I rode to the wedding ceremony.  I stuck him inside my purse and he came along for the ride.  He’s hung out in different scenarios at the Borrowed Abode ever since . . . and this last stop in the bathroom was Ryan’s doing. I’ll have to share The Full Adventures of the Naked Man at another time.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for the product commentary included here. I purchased both the art and the vases – and all opinions are my own.  

The Accidental Before & After: Bathroom Disaster Edition

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a problem here at the borrowed abode.

Without our permission, a Before & After has taken place, and not for the better.

Remember our bathroom?

It’s pretty nice, right?   I’m starting to feel that maybe it’s a little too nice for a rental home.

The lovely counter you see before you is most likely marble.  It’s gorgeous, but it’s a pain in the a** to take care of and protect.

The reason I put the bottles of soap and lotion on a little tray is because within a day of buying them and putting them on the counter, they had left marks where they sat.  Marks that were almost impossible to get rid of. It seems that if even the smallest drop of water dripped down the bottle to rest at it’s base on the counter, it “scarred” the surface.

After that, we put the bottles on a tray, were careful to quickly wipe up any substances that got on the counter, and we even bought special marble counter cleaner.

But then, one day last week, I left a bottle of eco-friendly shower cleaner on the counter and went to work.

After work, I walked into the bathroom and noticed liquid sitting all over the counter, around the bottle of cleaner.  Immediately I thought “uh-oh, this is bad.”  Sure enough, I removed the bottle and cleaned off the counter frantically, only to find that I was left with a horrible marred surface:

Marble etching - bathroom countertop damage

See all those white markings?  The rectangle is where the base of the bottle sat.  The big splotches are where the bulk of the liquid rested.  The marred areas appear to be raised above the polished surface of the rest of the counter.  But the damage is permanent – meaning no, we can’t just clean it off.

(I inspected the bottle of shower cleaner, and found a very tiny crack in the base of it.  I have no clue how that got there.  Gah.)

A bit of Googling revealed that it is most likely a marble countertop, because marble is very prone to “etching” from acidic liquids and such – unlike granite.   (Also, I noticed many photos showing cup rings etched into marble counters simply from water.)

Back to the problem.  We’re letting our landlord know – this is not something that we want to try and fix on the down low, because we’re out of our league with counter top repairs.   And our landlord or his contractor probably will know a good company to use to fix it.  Of course we’ll need to foot the bill for the repairs.  If it can’t be fixed, we’ll have to have it replaced upon move-out, and take that cost (ouch!) out of our security deposit.

But then, that’s what security deposits are for, right?

Either way, I’ll let you all know what we find out, in case you need to fix a rental property countertop without letting your landlord know!

Do you have any experience fixing marble counter damage like this?  If so I’d love to know!