A Step-by-Step Guide to Organizing the Space Under Your Kitchen Sink

A few simple storage solutions will streamline this area, which is a hub for cleaning supplies, grocery bags, and other miscellaneous items.

Photo: Burcu Avsar

It may not be very big, but chances are your under-the-sink space is one of the more overlooked and undervalued storage opportunities in your home—but it only take a few minutes to turn this small area into something streamlined and accessible.

Start by examining everything you currently store in this nook. "Due to their awkward size, these spots can often become a dumping ground for your bulk cleaning sprays, grocery bags, and supplies," says organizing expert Rachel Rosenthal. "The good news for you is that under-the-sink organization is one of the quicker spots to dive into when reorganizing your kitchen."

From the power of hooks and rods, to simple ways to make the space feel less dingy, there are plenty of steps that you can take to transform the area under your kitchen sink into something that works for you.

Step 1: Take Everything Out

Before you do anything else, take everything out of this cabinet. See what you have on hand, and toss anything that's expired, leaking, worn out, or nearly empty. Downsizing will instantly make it easier to see what items you have and what you need to replace or refresh.

Step 2: Categorize Your Items

Then, categorize whatever you have left by sorting and grouping similar items. Keep specialty cleaners (like granite and stainless steel sprays) in the kitchen, and move items like toilet bowl cleaner and shower sprays to the bathroom or utility closet.

Step 3: Lay Down a Liner

To make regular upkeep quick and easy, cover the bottom of the cabinet with a wipeable liner. Choose something with a fun pattern or color that calls to you—this will not only perk up the space, but it will also make cleaning up any leaks or spills a breeze.

Step 4: Install a Light

One way to avoid fumbling around in search of your scrub? "Add a motion sensor light," says New York City-based organizer and designer Jeffrey Phillip. "It's a great way to brighten up the space and allows you to more easily see what you are storing or retrieving."

Step 5: Measure the Space

In order to optimize the space, you'll need to know exactly how much space you have. Before purchasing any organizing systems, measure to the left, right, and below any obstructions like pipes. "Use these measurements as your boundaries for storage. Anything that can't fit within those boundaries should be stored elsewhere."

Step 6: Install a Tension Rod

One under-the-sink storage tip Martha swears by is hanging a tension rod across your cabinet for spray bottles. Suspend them by their spray triggers and you'll instantly free up space for more supply bins and baskets below. If you have a lot of bottles (or a few heavy iterations), opt for a screw-mounted option. Otherwise, a heavy-duty tension rod will do the trick.

Step 7: Contain Small Items in Storage Bins

To further maximize the space, use stackable storage-like bins, drawers, and sliding shelves for smaller supplies and loose pieces. If you can, choose see-through stacking bins for easier access. "We like to decant dishwasher pellets in a clear big for easy access and a seamless look," Rosenthal says.

Step 8: Use the Door for Extra Storage

When in doubt, hang it up. This is especially optimal if your surface space is limited. Hang small baskets on the inside of the door for sponges and grocery bags, or hooks for cleaning brushes and gloves. "The doors are great additional real estate for over-the-door bins," says Rosenthal.

Step 9: Add a Turntable

To navigate around the awkwardness of the drainpipe, add a turntable to the side of the pipe. "This is a great way to make use of the deep space under the cabinet," Phillips says. "In the kitchen, use it to store cleaning supplies; in the bathroom, you can use it for storing lotions and hairsprays."

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