WWMD: What Would Martha Do? (Photo: MarthaStewart.com)

Bathroom drawer need some organizing? Not sure? Here’s a quick test – give yourself a point for every item on this list:

1)      97% empty tube of crusty lip balm

2)      Rusty “back up” disposable razor (Holy tetanus shot, Batman!)

3)      Floppy discs and/or AOL CD

4)      Gore/Lieberman 2000 election pin

5)      Any makeup item by Wet n’ Wild or Bonnie Bell

So, what was your score? 1? 4? Guess what? IT DOESN’T MATTER. Because we already know that your bathroom drawer is a complete and utter mess. An unrecognizable mélange of dental floss, Now & Later wrappers, clandestine pics of your ex-boy/girlfriend and hair products in varying degrees of ruin. That’s why we love you. And that’s why we’re here to help.

Introducing a fail-safe, step-by-step guide to overcoming the inscrutable black hole that is your bathroom drawer:

Step 1: Admit You Have a Problem: Like kicking booze or trimming nostril hair, you must begin by opening your eyes to the situation. The motivation to change will kick in once you realize how much time you’ve spent wading through your tangled web of toiletries. Remember spending twenty minutes frantically searching for nail clippers the morning of your big meeting? Right. Let’s not do that again.

Step 2: Do a Clutter Dump: Empty everything out of the drawer. The extra-satisfying way to do it is to take the drawer out and turn it upside down.  That’s right, just dump it. Wait! Lay down a towel first, you fabulous beast!

Step 3: Divide & Conquer: Play the “one of these things is not like the other” game and evict anything from beyond the bathroom. Pencils, stickers, pennies, and silverware all have their place, but it ain’t here.  Group like-minded items together (toothpaste, white-strips, and floss are all in the dental products family) and put whatever doubles you have aside.

Step 4: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: This is hard for us because, you know, they’re so cute! And free! And we may need them for that trip to Madagascar we’re going to take one day! But throw away all those tiny hotel shampoo bottles, or donate them to a homeless shelter.  If nothing else, store them with your luggage. Because at the end of the day they only remind you that you aren’t on vacation, right?

Step 5: Make Tough Choices: Separate your daily use items from your once a week “papaya and chickpea exfoliating masque” type items. Whatever your daily grooming regimen requires should live up top. Q-Tips and cotton balls – check. Blue, black, AND orange nail polish? Not so much. (Deodorant? Yes, for the love of all that is good, YES!)  Store what you use less frequently and anything you have doubles of under the sink. Use clear plastic containers or clearly marked shoeboxes to make them readily accessible when you need them. (Note: this will give you the odd sensation of being a responsible adult. Go with it.)

Step 6: Tools of the Tray: If at first you don’t succeed, tray, tray again! Seriously – there are people out there, engineers and industrial designers with PhDs, who do nothing but design organizational trays for a living. Get one! Or kick it old school by using muffin tins or egg crates as catch-alls for bobby pins and hair accoutrement, while well-washed plastic take out containers can help keep larger items together.

Now, ready…set…organize! And remember, life is better when everything has its place, even your waxing kit and wart remover.

Did you try our six step organizing system to declutter your own bathroom? Tell us your success stories in our comments section! And check out the rest of our Organize This! section for more tips on tackling small spaces!