Tips for Organizing Under The Kitchen Sink | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Tips for Organizing Under The Kitchen Sink

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tips for Organizing Under The Kitchen Sink

Is the cabinet under your kitchen sink a catch-all for anything you don't know where else to store?  Do you find it hard to organize because of the odd shaped pipes and tubes? Are you afraid to look under your sink because an avalanche of stuff may fall out?

Under your kitchen sink is an obvious place to store dish-washing and kitchen cleaning products and supplies.  Many people have garbage cans and recycling containers under their kitchen sinks too.

But what else is hiding there?  Is there someplace else those items can be stored so the space under your kitchen sink will be more useful?

Today, I'm continuing my kitchen organizing tips series, sharing organizing tips to maximize the awkward space under your kitchen sink.

Kitchen Organizing Tips

First, here's a list of all the tips I've shared already (with links to the corresponding post).

  1. Use drawer dividers
  2. Measure before you buy
  3. Determine the purpose of each drawer
  4. Purge before organizing
  5. Store like with like
  6. Keep items where you use them
  7. Store items you don't regularly use in "out-of-the-way" spots
  8. Maximize the vertical space in deep drawers
  9. Create zones in your kitchen
  10. Use boxes and baskets to contain like items
  11. Use clear containers for baking ingredients
  12. Label your containers
  13. Done is better than perfect
  14. Store dishes in a cupboard you can easily reach when you empty the dishwasher
  15. Maximize the vertical space in cabinets using wire shelves 
  16. Store all your hot beverage supplies together
  17. Use under-the-shelf baskets to maximize vertical space in cabinets 
  18. Store all your breakfast supplies together
  19. Use the top shelf of a food cabinet to store extra foods
  20. Hang paper towels on the back of a cabinet door to keep them off your counters
  21. Keep as many items in drawers or cabinets as possible, instead of on counters
  22. Rearrange or relocate items on counters for a less cluttered look
  23. Wash dishes frequently and put them away quickly 

Wow this list is getting long!  Who knew there were so many tips to organize your kitchen? :)

Under My Kitchen Sink - Before

I organized under my kitchen sink about a year or so ago.  It used to be a disaster!  It wasn't as bad now, but there were lots of items in that cabinet that I wasn't using, and it was hard to find what I actually needed.

Here's a closer view.

You can see my basic organizing system was there, with the bins to contain some of the loose items.  But they were getting cluttered and things weren't being put back neatly.  Here's a closer look at the insides of the bins.

I think I've mentioned previously that I don't really like cleaning.  I'll declutter and organize any time, and I enjoy having a clean house, but cleaning it is not my forte.

I always felt like I should have certain cleaning supplies to get the job done.  Having lots of selection is actually overwhelming though and I really don't need any extra hurdles to jump over when I'm trying to clean.

So I decided to purge anything that I don't normally use.  Gone are the never-used sponges, several old or excess cloths, a bottle of homemade cleaner that I tried several years ago and didn't like, and a box of degreasing tablets I kept meaning to try but never did (I ended up trying one before tossing them...but either it's too old to work now or it's one of those "looks better than it works" products... can't believe I kept them all that time for nothing!).

Kitchen Organizing Tip #24:  Relocate Items That You Rarely Use So They Don't Clutter Your Kitchen

Your kitchen works hard for you (and you work hard in your kitchen!), and it's less overwhelming when there's less stuff.  So use your kitchen real estate wisely... especially if you have a small kitchen!  Don't waste valuable space with items you only use once or twice a year.  If you really need those items, store them somewhere else.  Just remember where you're put things so you can find them when you do need them :)

In my case, I relocated my watering can.  I think it was under there from when I used to try to have plants in our home.  When I watered them I'd need water from the sink so having the watering can under it was convenient.

But, I did not inherit the green thumb in my family.  And we have terrible natural light in our home.  So plants do not typically survive very long here.  Other than the occasional poinsettia plant, we haven't had any plants for several years.  That watering can hasn't been used in a LONG time.  It certainly doesn't need to take up prime real estate in my kitchen.  

Under My Kitchen Sink - After

So here's how my cabinet under the sink looks like now.

I cleared out some excess items and moved a few others around.  You you can see my paper towel holder on the back of the door.  The other door still has our garbage bag (I love having it on the back of a door, and it's basically a necessity since we hardly have any floor space to put a stand-alone one).  We also keep our organic waste bin under the sink for all our compostable garbage.  

Kitchen Organizing Tip #25: Use narrow spaces under the sink for tall, narrow items

It's hard to work around those annoying pipes under your sink, but if you have any awkward shaped items, try to use that space for them.  We have a piece of counter cut to fit over one of our sinks so it becomes an extra bit of counter space if necessary.  I used to store it on the right side (no particular reason why), but I moved it over to the left side so it can fit in between the side of the cabinet and the pipe.

It fits perfectly and stays standing up better than it did before.  And I can just pull it out when I want to use it.

I also have my fire extinguisher in front of the pipes so it's easily accessible in an emergency but out of the way the rest of the time.

Kitchen Organizing Tip #26:  Use plastic bins to contain cleaning supplies under the sink

And after purging many of my cleaning supplies, the two bins are much less cluttered.  This is the one on the right, with all our general cleaning supplies.

I "filed" the rags so I can find the type I want without having to rummage through the whole pile. I had a bit of extra space left over so I decided to store the box of compostable bags in this bin since it's right behind the compost can. 

That left the left bin pretty much empty!  I decided to store all the dishwashing supplies in it instead of having them all scattered around the bottom of the cabinet.

It's easy to pull this bin forward when I need the dish soap, dishwasher soap, bottle brush, gloves, or a scour pad.  {Oh and in case you're wondering why the Koolaid package is there... I want to try out some DIY dishwasher soap after this bottle is finished and it's one of the ingredients.}

I love how much less cluttered it looks under the sink now by having all these items contained in a bin!

So that's my under-the-sink cabinet.  It feels less cluttered and more use-able now.

If you have more items you need to store under your sink, you may want to consider a rack on the back of a door to store dishwashing or cleaning supplies.  {I prefer having my garbage can and my paper towels on those doors instead.}

I've seen some people use plastic drawers or stacking bins to maximize the vertical space.  {I didn't do that because my bottles are pretty tall.}

You can find more kitchen organizing ideas on my Kitchen Organizing board on Pinterest. 

And stay tuned the next few weeks as I continue to show you my kitchen and share tips to help you organize yours. 

What do you store under your kitchen sink?  How do you organize the cabinet under your kitchen sink?  What's the strangest thing you found under the sink in your kitchen?

Happy organizing!

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Here are all the posts from the kitchen organizing tips series: