Organize the Space Under Your Kitchen Sink
You can never have too much storage space, but you can do a better job of using what you do have. A good example is the cabinet under the kitchen sink. The average one has about 15 cubic feet of space. Yes, it’s awkwardly interrupted by plumbing, but if you take advantage of these tips, you can still stow a lot of stuff there.
The secret to successful under-sink storage is convenient access. In other words, if you’re going to put stuff down there, make sure you can get to it without doing a major unpacking job every time you need the dish soap. Fortunately, there are lots of smart, affordable solutions to help you wrangle your under-sink space. Kristin Appenbrink, a writer for RealSimple.com, likes roll-out drawers, the do-it-yourself kind that you can install fairly easily, if you know how to use a cordless drill. She also recommends lazy Susans, over-the-door hooks and stacking bins.
Appenbrink says to use to roll-drawers to, “Stash the items that you use less frequently (stock pots, stand mixer, slow-cooker) in the back, since you won’t need them every day. Keep the items that you reach for often in the front like saucepans and frying pans.” The lazy Susan can be used for cleaning supplies, while stacking bins are ideal for sponges, scrubbers or recyclables. Those over-the-door hooks keep cleaning cloths handy, but out of sight.
Don’t overlook vertical space, like the sides of cabinet walls and the backs of cabinet doors, as a storage solution. You can install towel bars to hang many items, such as cleaning supplies with spray handles, pot lids (slide them behind the towel bar), or anything that can hang from a hook suspended from the towel bar. Apply magnetic strips to hold small metal utensils. You could even screw on a lightweight metal plate to support a magnetic bin or two for storing kitchen odds and ends.
To Store or Not to Store?
SFGate.com reporter Regan McMahon says there are seven essential things you should definitely store under your sink and three things that should never be there. McMahon’s must-haves include:
- Dry cleanser (aka scouring power)
- All-purpose spray cleanser
- Dish soap
- Window cleaner
- Sponges, rubber gloves and scrubbers
- A trash can
That last one is a surprising suggestion, but McMahon likes the convenience of having a small collection of containers close to the water source.
Her under-sink no-no’s include:
- Bug spray, oven cleaner and anything with words like “poison,” or “danger” on their labels
- Lightbulbs, which can get banged around and broken too easily
- Anything you haven’t used in the last year or two—if it’s so old you can’t read the label, toss it; if it’s a specialized, seldom-used product, move it to another storage space.
A more general under-sink-storage rule of thumb might be to avoid storing stuff that could hurt small children, break easily, corrode or explode. Unless you have a leaky sink, the space under it isn’t going to be appreciably damper than any other cabinet, but if you’re concerned about mold, mildew or rust, put a dehumidifying agent like silica gel down there.
Keep It Safe
If you absolutely have to store caustic supplies like bleach, ammonia or drain cleaner under your sink, take some safety precautions. Clutterfree® founder Susan Fleischman says, “If you have young children or pets, be safe and use cabinet locks.” That’s good advice even if you don’t have kids or pets. Your visitors might. Installing childproof safety catches is an inexpensive way to avoid accidents.
 Kristin Appenbrink, “Easy Under-the-Sink Storage Ideas,” RealSimple.com, http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/under-sink-storage-00100000077884/.
 Regan McMahon, “What to keep under the sink – and not,” SFGate.com, http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/What-to-keep-under-the-sink-and-not-3250446.php.
 Susan Fleischman, “Clutter Make-Over of the Month: Under Kitchen Sink,” YouCopia.com, http://www.youcopia.com/blog/clutter_make-over_of_the_month_under_kitchen_sink/.