Strategies For Organizing Under the Kitchen Sink

The space under the kitchen sink is often the most neglected area in many homes. It’s a small, awkward spot typically filled with a chaotic mix of cleaning supplies, trash bags, and a few mysterious items that haven’t seen the light of day in years. Despite its size, this space holds a lot of potential for organization and efficiency. Imagine opening those cabinet doors to find everything neatly in its place, easily accessible, and clutter-free. Organizing under the kitchen sink isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about creating a more functional kitchen environment that can make your daily routines smoother and less stressful.

Why does this small area get so messy? For one, it’s out of sight, out of mind. When we’re in a rush, it’s easy to just toss things under the sink and close the doors. Additionally, the presence of plumbing pipes and other obstructions can make it seem like organizing this space is more trouble than it’s worth. However, with the right strategies, you can transform this cramped and cluttered area into a paragon of order and efficiency.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to assess, plan, and implement effective storage solutions for the space under your kitchen sink. We’ll cover everything from clearing out the clutter to choosing the right organizers, addressing plumbing obstacles, and maintaining your newly organized space. Let’s dive in and reclaim this overlooked area of your kitchen.

1: Assessing and Clearing the Space

Initial Assessment

The first step in organizing under the kitchen sink is understanding what you’re working with. Take a moment to assess the current state of the space. What items are stored there? Are there things you forgot you had? Make a list of the contents and categorize them by type, such as cleaning supplies, tools, and miscellaneous items. This will give you a clear picture of what needs to be organized and what might need to find a new home.

Clearing Out

Once you have an inventory, it’s time to empty the space completely. This might seem daunting, but it’s an essential step. Remove everything from under the sink and place it on the kitchen floor or a nearby counter. As you do this, sort items into three piles: keep, relocate, and discard. The “keep” pile is for items you use regularly and need to stay under the sink. The “relocate” pile is for things that can be stored elsewhere in your home, and the “discard” pile is for expired, damaged, or unnecessary items.


With the area cleared out, take the opportunity to give it a thorough clean. Wipe down the surfaces with a disinfectant spray, paying special attention to any mold or mildew that may have accumulated. If there are any stubborn stains or lingering odors, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to scrub the area clean. This step ensures that you’re starting with a fresh, hygienic space.

2: Planning Your Organization Strategy

Measuring the Space

Accurate measurements are crucial for effective organization. Use a measuring tape to determine the height, width, and depth of the space under your sink. Note any plumbing fixtures, such as pipes and the garbage disposal, which may affect how you use the space. These measurements will guide you in selecting the right organizers and storage solutions.

Identifying Storage Needs

Consider the types of items you plan to store under the sink. Common categories include:

  • Cleaning supplies: Spray bottles, sponges, scrub brushes
  • Tools: Wrenches, screwdrivers, small hardware
  • Recycling and waste: Bins for sorting recyclables and trash

Grouping items by category will help you identify the types of storage solutions you need. For example, cleaning supplies might benefit from a caddy or a pull-out shelf, while tools might require a small toolbox or a set of hooks.

Choosing the Right Organizers

Selecting the right organizers can make a world of difference. Here are some options to consider:

  • Shelving systems: Adjustable or pull-out shelves can maximize vertical space.
  • Bins and baskets: Stackable bins or pull-out baskets keep items contained and easy to access.
  • Hooks and racks: Door-mounted racks or adhesive hooks can hold smaller items or frequently used tools.

Consider the material of the organizers as well. Plastic is durable and easy to clean, metal is sturdy and long-lasting, and wood adds a touch of aesthetic appeal.

3: Implementing Storage Solutions

Shelving Systems

Shelving systems are fantastic for utilizing vertical space. Adjustable shelves allow you to customize the height to fit different items, while pull-out shelves provide easy access to items stored at the back. To install shelves:

  1. Measure and mark: Use your measurements to mark where the shelves will go.
  2. Install brackets: Attach brackets to the marked spots, ensuring they are level.
  3. Place shelves: Set the shelves on the brackets and secure them in place.

These shelves are perfect for storing larger bottles and cleaning supplies, keeping everything within reach yet neatly organized.

Bins and Baskets

Bins and baskets help keep items grouped together and prevent them from toppling over. Choose stackable bins to make the most of vertical space, and label each bin for easy identification. Pull-out baskets are ideal for smaller items or those that you use frequently. To use bins and baskets effectively:

  • Categorize items: Group similar items together in each bin.
  • Label clearly: Use labels or tags to identify the contents.
  • Stack strategically: Place heavier bins at the bottom and lighter ones on top.

This system ensures that everything has a designated spot, reducing clutter and making it easier to find what you need.

Hooks and Racks

Maximize the inside of your cabinet doors with hooks and racks. These are perfect for hanging items like rubber gloves, scrub brushes, and small tools. Door-mounted racks can hold larger items, such as spray bottles, freeing up shelf space for other things. To install hooks and racks:

  1. Choose the right spot: Ensure the door can close properly with the hooks or racks in place.
  2. Install securely: Use adhesive hooks or screws, depending on the weight of the items.
  3. Hang items: Arrange items by frequency of use for easy access.

This method keeps frequently used items within reach and off the cabinet floor, making your space more efficient.

4: Addressing Plumbing and Other Obstacles

Navigating Around Plumbing

Plumbing pipes can take up significant space and make organization challenging. However, you can work around these obstacles with a bit of creativity. Custom shelving that fits around pipes or using narrow bins can help utilize the space more effectively. Consider these tips:

  • Use risers: Elevate items above the pipes with risers or tiered shelves.
  • Custom-fit organizers: Look for organizers designed to fit around plumbing fixtures.

By customizing your storage solutions, you can make the most of the available space without interfering with plumbing.

Managing Waste and Recycling

Many people store trash cans and recycling bins under the sink. To keep this area organized, consider using compact bins that fit neatly side by side. A pull-out system for trash and recycling bins can make disposal easier and keep the area tidy. Tips for managing waste and recycling:

  • Choose slim bins: Opt for narrow, tall bins to save space.
  • Label clearly: Mark bins for trash, recyclables, and compost to encourage proper sorting.
  • Install pull-out tracks: Attach bins to pull-out tracks for easy access and concealment.

This setup keeps waste management streamlined and out of sight, maintaining a clean and organized appearance.

5: Maintaining Organization

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Keeping the space under your sink organized requires regular upkeep. Schedule periodic cleanings to wipe down surfaces and check for any leaks or mold growth. Set a reminder to do a quick check every month:

  • Wipe surfaces: Clean shelves, bins, and the cabinet floor regularly.
  • Inspect for issues: Look for signs of leaks or mold and address them promptly.
  • Restock supplies: Keep an eye on your inventory and restock items as needed.

Regular maintenance ensures your organized space stays clean and functional.

Periodic Reassessment

As your needs change, it’s important to reassess your storage solutions. Every few months, take a moment to evaluate whether the current setup is still working for you. Adjust the organization as necessary:

  • Declutter: Remove any items you no longer use or need.
  • Reorganize: Shift items around to better suit your current usage patterns.
  • Upgrade storage: Invest in new organizers if needed to improve functionality.

This proactive approach helps maintain an efficient and tidy space under your sink.

Tips for Sustainability

Organizing under the sink is also an opportunity to adopt more sustainable habits. Consider these eco-friendly tips:

  • Eco-friendly cleaning supplies: Use green cleaning products that are safe for the environment.
  • Reduce plastic use: Opt for reusable cloths and brushes instead of disposable ones.
  • Repurpose containers: Use old jars or containers for storage instead of buying new plastic bins.

By integrating sustainable practices, you not only organize your space but also contribute to a healthier planet.

6: Creative and Advanced Tips

DIY Organizers

For those who love DIY projects, making your own organizers can be both fun and practical. Here are a few ideas:

  • Mason jar holders: Attach mason jars to a piece of wood to create custom holders for small items.
  • Tension rod shelves: Install tension rods to hold spray bottles or create makeshift shelves.
  • Repurposed containers: Use old cereal boxes or tin cans to create dividers and organizers.

These DIY solutions are budget-friendly and can be customized to fit your specific needs.

Maximizing Vertical Space

Don’t forget to utilize the full height of your under-sink area. Here are some ways to maximize vertical space:

  • Stackable units: Use stackable bins or drawers to build upwards.
  • Ceiling-mounted storage: Attach hooks or racks to the top of the cabinet for additional storage options.

By thinking vertically, you can greatly increase your storage capacity.

Tech Integration

Embrace technology to make your storage solutions even smarter:

  • Smart shelves: Use shelves with built-in lighting to illuminate the space.
  • Inventory apps: Use apps to keep track of your supplies and create shopping lists.
  • Automated systems: Consider automated trash cans or recycling sorters for added convenience.

Integrating technology can enhance functionality and make your organized space even more efficient.


Organizing under the kitchen sink might seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategies, it can become a manageable and even enjoyable project. By assessing your space, planning your storage solutions, and implementing practical organizers, you can transform this often-overlooked area into a model of efficiency. Regular maintenance and a bit of creativity ensure that your efforts pay off in the long run. Remember, an organized space under the sink not only makes your kitchen more functional but also contributes to a more pleasant and stress-free cooking environment. So roll up your sleeves and start organizing today—you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!

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