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 just because there’s a winding pipe running through it, doesn’t mean it needs to default to a second junk drawer.
"Due to their awkward size, these spots can often become a dumping ground for your bulk cleaning sprays, grocery bags, and supplies,” says D.C-based 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. A couple of minutes can make this area a small but mighty powerhouse for your storage needs.” From the power of hooks and rods, to simple ways to make the space feel less dingy, here are the best tricks for getting everything under the sink in tip top shape.
CLEAR OUT AND CATEGORIZE
First things first: Take everything out of the cabinet. See what you have on hand, and toss anything that’s expired, leaking, worn out (so long shriveled up sponges), or nearly empty. Then, categorize whatever you have left by sorting and grouping similar items. Rosenthal recommends keeping specialty cleaners (like granite and stainless steel sprays) in the kitchen, and moving items like toilet bowl cleaner and shower sprays to the bathroom or utility closet.
LAY DOWN LINING
To make regular upkeep quick and easy, cover the bottom of the cabinet with a wipeable liner (and pick something you actually like!). This will not only perk up the space, but also make cleaning up any leaks or spills a breeze.
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."
In order to optimize the space, you’ll need to know exactly how much space you have. That’s why Rosenthal suggests measuring to the left, right, and below any obstructions like pipes. “Use these measurement as your boundaries for storage. Anything that can’t fit within those boundaries should be stored elsewhere.”
NOD TO THE ROD
Another Martha favorite storage trick: hang a tension rod across your cabinet for your spray bottles. Suspend them by their spray triggers and easily free up space for more supply bins and baskets below. If you have many (or particularly heavy) bottles, opt for a screw-mounted option; otherwise, a heavy-duty tension rod will do the trick.
To further maximize the space, Rosenthal likes adding stackable storage like bins, drawers, and sliding shelves perfect for smaller supplies and loose pieces. If you can, choose see-through stacking bins for even easier access. We like to decant dishwasher pellets in a clear big for easy access and a seamless look.
Utilitize the Door
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, or hooks for cleaning brushes and gloves. “The doors are great additional real estate for over-the-door bins,” says Rosenthal, “perfect for plastic grocery bags or hair supplies [in the bathroom], and door-mounted containers.”
To navigate around the awkwardness of the drain pipe, Phillip recommends adding a Lazy Susan or turntable to the side of the pipe. “This is a great way to make use of the deep space under the cabinet. In the kitchen, use it to store cleaning supplies; in the bathroom, you can use it for storing lotions and hairsprays.”
Learn how to organize an under the sink cabinet in our video below.