The cabinet under the kitchen sink is valuable real estate in any kitchen. The space is used often to store cleaning supplies, dishwashing detergent, and anything else you need easy access to. The best way to save time and money in the kitchen is to know exactly where everything is.
I’ll walk you through steps you can take to get your kitchen sink cabinet cleared out and organized in no time. You’ll be able to organize efficiently, maximizing all the space you have available.
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Clear Everything Out
Before you move anything, you may want to take a picture of your cabinet with everything still in it. Sometimes it’s easier to see a space when you’re looking at a photo. If the idea of taking everything out is too frightening, study the photo and do some preplanning. Maybe you can decide where things can go before you take them out.
If you’re fine with emptying the cabinet right away, at least you’ll have a photo to look back on for comparison. You’ll feel good about the work you did.
Here’s my photo:
Now let’s get started. The goal here is to empty the cabinet. Yes, take everything out. Depending on how stuffed your cabinet is you may have a big mess for a little while. Take a deep breath and know that this is temporary.
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Here’s a true story: Before we moved into our house we did the usual walkthrough after the previous owners moved out. Everything looked good for the most part. But then we went into the kitchen and opened the cabinet under the sink. It was packed! Apparently, they forgot all about it and left all their stuff behind.
Believe it or not, six years later I still had some of those abandoned products. I figured I might use them….someday. My point is, I know it can be tough to get rid of things that may be useful. I couldn’t even bring myself to get rid of useful stuff that wasn’t mine!
But the goal here is to only keep what you need to store under the sink. If you have an item that you don’t access often and it can live somewhere else, move it there.
I finally got around to removing the things that a) I didn’t need and b) I didn’t need to keep under the sink.
Also, remember to dispose of your cleaning supplies responsibly. Please, don’t pour unused cleaners down the drain. One good option is to post them on Facebook to a Buy Nothing or tag sale group. The other is to wait for the time of year when your town or city has a hazardous disposal day. These usually happen a few times a year. It’s a good idea to set a reminder for yourself to drop off any cleaning supplies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held onto stuff for a year or more because I kept missing the dates.
Clean and Assess Your Space
I didn’t share what my cabinet looked like after I emptied it because it was kind of embarrassing. Yeah, I should probably clean it more often but there were quite a few stains I couldn’t get out, not even with a magic eraser. The bottom surface is also bubbled up because of a leak that must have happened years before. My cabinets are original to the house, which is 30 years old, and it shows.
After wiping everything down it’s time to assess how much space you have available. It’s a good idea to measure the cabinet itself and your actual available space taking into account the pipes that are protruding from the wall or the bottom.
My cabinet is 22 ½” deep by 32” wide. But the actual space I can use for storage is much less because of all the obstructions. Measure the height of the cabinet too if you plan on using vertical storage.
Line the Bottom
This is an optional step. In my case, the bottom is so damaged it makes sense to cover it so that I don’t have to look at it. But if you have cabinets that are in good shape you may want to use a liner to protect your cabinet from damage in case of a water leak or product spills.
I found this cool plastic mat on Amazon that worked well for my space (pictured above). My hubby cut it to size and cut out holes for the pipes coming out of the bottom of the cabinet.
Use the Doors
Doors are an often overlooked area for storage. My favorite method for using the available door space is to add hooks. I use hooks to hang my bottle brush on one door and my dishwashing gloves on the other. I really like the M3 clear Command hooks, which is what I used for this project.
If you have a large door and enough clearance inside the cabinet you can also use a small wire organizer that would allow you to store smaller items that you reach for often. I was tempted to use one I already have but I decided I didn’t need to but it’s worth considering if you have smaller items you reach for often.
I also use a towel ring that hangs on the outside of the door to keep my dish towel. I ordered a few on Amazon and eventually settled on this one (pictured above). Now I can stop walking all the way over to my oven to reach for the dishtowel. It saves a lot of time.
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Use Vertical Space
I have a good amount of vertical space in my cabinet. I decided it would be a good idea to use some shelving to maximize this space.
I found this awesome shelving unit that was adjustable and could expand or contract to fit the width of the cabinet and also allowed adjustments to the height of the shelves. The shelves themselves came with slats that could be adjusted to allow for protruding pipes. You can find something similar on Amazon.
I didn’t want to expand the shelving to take up the entire width of the cabinet. I needed to leave space for some items that were too tall to fit on the shelves like the vinegar jug and the watering can. The shelving unit was able to accommodate the smaller items perfectly.
Although I ended up going with a shelving unit, drawers would have been another option. Something like these plastic ones on Amazon would work well. They’re modular so you can use as many as will fit your space. These types of drawers could house smaller items and taller items can be placed on top.
Everything You Need And Nothing You Don’t
The kitchen sink cabinet tends to attract a lot of stray items that don’t seem to fit anywhere else. The key is to determine what you need to have at hand while you’re working in the kitchen and how to store it effectively so that you can actually reach those items quickly.
Hopefully, these six steps will get you closer to creating an efficient space under your kitchen sink that will make life easier.
Until next time, happy organizing!