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Shower headLike many of you, I am a member of the great washed masses of renters.

This means I will almost always have limitations I need to work around when I rent a new home. This has never been more true than now, as I’m somewhat hamstrung by the only real drawback to my wonderful 1931 character apartment: The bathroom.

It’s so small I have to completely close the door to use the toilet, and I can reach the tub whilst doing my business on the seat. The tub is a masterwork too. It’s a small apartment-sized tub with a 45-degree scalloped back to lie against, and sloped along the sides too. I can’t even sit my wineglass on the side. Oh, this troubled life I lead.

Since I’m stuck with my options thanks to a wall I can’t drill in and a showerhead I can’t hang anything off of, and I know I’m not alone, I thought I’d bring you fabulous people along on my journey through the interwebs for a solution.

A many-armed solution

My current caddy is a metal one. It’s not even 2 years old and it’s already rusted. It wasn’t a cheap model either, I paid some $25 for it, hoping it would last a long time.

The rust has me looking at alternative materials, and that’s when I found this, a weird little product that has a lot of promise. With nearly 300 customer reviews on it, it is close to a five-star customer-rated product. The “Shower Squid” is made of silicone rubber and you can hang anything from razors to shampoo bottles in its “tentacles.” With my awkward shower head, this will be easier to hang than most caddies might be. Its designer is Jens Widerburg, who also designs for IKEA and other clients, so he’s all about thinking way outside the box.

Stuck on you

There is no end to the availability of suction-cup products in bathrooms now. They can be a wonderful addition to tubs, but it’s not something I can use, thanks to a textured wall that will prevent adhesion. If you’ve got a nice smooth wall, it can be a great option for a number of storage needs.

One big caveat emptor on these products besides the whole only-works-on-some-walls thing: Price. You need to pay the big bucks for quality suction-cup products, and I wouldn’t purchase them online unless you’re familiar with the company. Why? Because those rubber suction cups are not all made equal. Cheaper products will use cheaper suction cups. Some will get brittle or hard and lose their suction within months. You want a soft, pliable rubber guaranteed to last, because once the suction cup goes, you’re looking an at useless caddy.

Think outside the tub

Sometimes there are no optimal solutions for inside your tub/shower. Sometimes you need to install a little shelf you can reach from inside the tub. Maybe it’s a standing shelf, perhaps it’s a telescoping pole with shelves attached, or maybe it’s just a medicine cabinet installed on the wall next to the tub. You’ll want to remember reaching out means dripping water, so either a tray or a mat underneath might be helpful.

Another great solution in even my super-small bathroom would be those telescoping poles with shelves. The tension-mounted pole takes up a tiny floor footprint, and makes for easy sweeping and cleaning, that it’s one of the least-invasive methods to get that needed storage. These poles can often be installed on the corner of the tub with as little as 2 inches space needed, or on the floor by the tub if that’s the only other option.

Some tension-mounted poles are crazy cheap, but beware of them. The shelves will loosen, rust will come quickly, and your tension devices might fail. That’s not only Earth-unfriendly, but it’s dangerous in a place where it’s slippery and you’re off your guard. I’m considering solutions like this well-reviewed-but-more-expensive OXO-brand tension-mounted caddy.

Hung up

For people like me with weird, weird showerheads that have nowhere horizontal to hang a shower caddy, a lot of traditional options are out of play. That’s where over-the-shower-door and from-the-rod hanging caddies can save the day.

Something like this $25 plastic suspended-baskets caddy can be hung over the shower curtain’s rod. The plastic may not be as flashy as chrome, but your $25 won’t be rusted in less than two years like I’ve experienced with my fancy chrome.

I’ve used many products from Umbra and I’m always satisfied with what I’ve gotten, but look at other options in case they have adjustable heights, organization compartments, and hooks.

Things to look for

Whatever method you go for, keep in mind all the things you need to store — loofahs, wash cloths, razors, bottles of varying kinds — and look for little features that make these all possible to store.

Hooks of varying sizes are a huge bonus. I do love the razor-hooks on my current caddy, and it also has a great feature where the average shampoo bottle can be stored upside-down for when you’re near the end of the product.

“Wire” platforms are great for preventing pooling water, but if they’re too far apart, things keep falling over, or soap keeps slipping through.

Adjustability isn’t a usual perk with shower caddies of any kind, so instead look for built-in organizational features that will allow you to store all manner of things.

Be organized, look nice, stay safe

A disorganized shower is a dangerous one. Whether it’s soap falling underfoot, bottles knocking over and oil or soap spilling on the floor, none of us wants to fall over in the shower.

A great caddy should keep you effortlessly organized, control the contents, and make your shower a nice, safe place to be. Lots more creative solutions exist out there, so keep an eye out.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.