Under the sinks in your home are probably the hardest places to organize. They are small and cramped and often have pipes filling up some of the space. They are typically cluttered and messy and usually something has spilled, which turns a simple project into a daunting one. Organizing your under-sink spaces really doesn’t take very long and is a gratifying task that will leave you feeling better about your space.
Under the Bathroom Sink
Let’s start with the bathroom. Many of us are known to buy too many bath and body products. It’s a common problem, which not only does damage to our wallets; it takes up precious space in our bathrooms. Once you’ve organized your under-sink space, you will be able to see and access what you have, which will prevent you from going out and overbuying.
Start by pulling everything out from under the sink. Chances are that your collection contains expired and unused bottles, so throw away or recycle the former and give away the latter. Women’s and homeless shelters appreciate donations of unopened toiletries. Be sure to clean the space before you put anything back in it.
Look at what you’re storing under the sink and see if it wouldn’t be better stored somewhere else. Anything with bulky packaging also adds to the jumble. Remove your makeup pads, cotton swabs, cotton balls and other bulk items and sort them into little storage jars that are accessible and refillable. You can place these on your counter for easy access and to get them out of your under-sink space.
For items you do want to keep under your sink, there are lots of great storage solutions. You can use small, clear containers to sort and store items by category. Think in general terms when categorizing.
If space allows, use small drawers to make items even easier to get to. There are so many options out there, including modular, stackable plastic drawers, stainless mesh drawer systems and even built-in drawers that are designed to fit around your pipes. Look for storage solutions with smaller compartments to help keep all of the little things organized.
You can use the back of your cabinet doors for additional storage. Attach a wire basket or a hair dryer caddy to increase your storage.
Under the Kitchen Sink
This is probably one of the most frequently opened cabinets in your kitchen. And despite its frequent use, the under sink space in the kitchen can be awkward and cluttered (especially if there is a garbage disposal). Most people keep cleaning supplies in this space and tend to throw things back there haphazardly.
As you did with the bathroom, start by taking everything out from under the sink to see what you have. In some houses, the under sink space can extend to the left or right and be a storage void. You might have dozens of plastic bags stuffed in there that you didn’t even know about!
Wipe everything down and clean it out. You may want to line the bottom of the cabinet with a water-proof shelf liner, or a plastic tray to keep spills from ruining your cabinets.
Sort the items into categories and get rid of, or put duplicates elsewhere. If you have a small under sink space, limit the number of products you store under there. Take bulk-items out of their packaging and store in smaller containers. Only have dish and dishwasher detergent, a few rags, a sponge or two, the refill for the hand soap and two or three all-purpose types of cleaners: counters, glass and disinfectant. Even better, choose multi-purpose products. The remainder should be in the bathroom cabinets and extras and seldom used items in the basement, garage or pantry area.
A portable cleaning caddy, available at any home store is good for containing the items and catches any spills or leaking chemical cleaners.
Before you run out to grab organizers, measure how much space you have available. If you have deeper cabinet, a pull out drawer works great to be able to easily access items that are towards the back of the cabinet – if you can’t see things, you likely won’t use them!
If you’re short on cabinet space, consider keeping your cleaning supplies somewhere else, like the basement or garage and using that precious real estate for something you need to keep in the kitchen. I once had a small kitchen with no lower cabinets, except for under the sink. I kept my pots and pans there. I used a pot lid rack on the back of the cabinet door to keep the space organized.
Even if you’re using your cabinet for traditional under-sink storage, you can use the back of the cabinet door for extra storage of many things. You can hang an organizer to hold sandwich bag containers, cleaning tools, paper towels, and a dish towel. A simple search of these products will offer you endless possibilities.
Now, relax and enjoy your clean and organized under-sink spaces!
By Sarah Buckwalter
Certified Professional Organizer®
Sarah Buckwalter is a Certified Professional Organizer® with over 18 years of experience in home, move and office organization. She is the founder of Organizing Boston. Organizing Boston is the largest professional organizing firm in New England and was awarded Best of Boston Home™, Best Professional Organizer.
Nationally recognized as an organizing industry expert, Sarah shares her expertise through speaking, writing and on television. She is a regular guest blogger for nationwide companies and has appeared several times on the hit series, “Hoarding: Buried Alive” on TLC.