Under sink cupboards can quickly become the most chaotic place in the house. We chuck anything and everything in them and hide their messy contents from view, then berate ourselves later when we can't find what we're looking for amongst all the carrier bags, kitchen roll, and cleaning products.
That's why taking the time to organise under sink spaces is time well spent, and transforming the chaos into an orderly haven doesn't have to be as huge a task as you think. Just like if you were organising kitchen cabinets, it can be as simple as adding the best cupboard organisers to keep on top of clutter and maintain easy access to your most used items.
'Often, under sink cupboards in both kitchens and bathrooms are a place where clutter quickly collects', says Polly Shearer, kitchen and bathroom interiors expert, Tap Warehouse. 'However, taking the time to declutter your under sink cupboard will reveal its potential to be one of the most valuable cupboards in your kitchen and bathroom.'
We've found the best ways to organise under sink spaces that are simple yet effective. As with most organising jobs, the key is to find a system that works for you. 'The crucial thing to getting, and staying, organised is for the under sink cupboard to be functional and maintainable', says Katherine Blackler, Immediate Past President of APDO and Certified Professional Organiser, SortMySpace Ltd. 'It needs to work for all those using it.'
Ways to organise under sink cupboards
Whether it's your kitchen or bathroom under sink spaces that need a declutter, we've compiled the most genius ways to organise them. Before you start, it's a good idea to take everything out and give the space a good clean, so you're better able to organise under sink cupboards and drawers.
1. Place an absorbent mat in the cupboard first
It's a good idea to lay an absorbent mat on the cupboard floor, to absorb any future leaks and spillages. The cupboard under the sink can often get quite warm, which leads to condensation and water droplets, so laying a mat underneath everything will make cleaning easier, and helps keep everything you store in there dry.
2. Have a cleaning caddy with your essential items
When you come to organise under sink, you'll want to keep all your essential cleaning items together, so that you can easily reach them when doing daily chores. A cleaning caddy with a handle can be carried round the house then slotted back into its place in the under sink cupboard.
3. Use a tension rod to make use of any awkward gaps
When thinking about how to organise a small kitchen, maximising all available storage is key. Fitting a tension rod in your under sink cupboard is a good way to make use of all the space. Use the rod to hang spray bottles and you can turn the awkward gaps either side of the sink into useful storage space.
4. Use your own cleaning bottles
To reduce the visual clutter and make your under sink cupboard look instantly more organised, try transferring your cleaning products into clear bottles and labelling them yourself.
'We recommend decanting any products you store under the sink into stackable clear containers and labelling them', says bathroom and kitchen expert Polly. 'This will create more space as often some items come in larger containers than needed.'
5. Group similar items in boxes
To avoid items being scattered and lost in the back of the cupboard, store everything in boxes and group similar items together. For example, you can store dishwasher tablets and rinse aid in one box, then washing detergent, fabric conditioner, and scent boosters in another. Or under the bathroom sink, store your makeup in one box and toiletries in the next.
Household chores and getting ready in the morning will run a lot smoother, and you'll thank yourself for taking the time to organise under sink. It's best to use clear boxes so you can remember what's in each box without having to open the lid.
6. Use long boxes to create makeshift drawers
'If you can use long boxes to store your products (and place from front to back) they become makeshift drawers, allowing you to easily reach the bottles at the back of the cupboard', suggests professional organiser Katherine. This is a more budget-friendly alternative to investing in a sliding drawer system.
7. Add hooks to the inside of doors
One of the best ways to organise under sink is to simply add some hooks to the inside of your cupboard door, and hang tea towels, microfibre cloths, and even carrier bags off them. This is a storage-savvy solution and can allow you to quickly grab the items when you need them. Just make sure you leave enough clearance space for when the door is closed.
8. Add an adjustable shelving unit
Adjustable shelving can fit the gaps and allow space for any awkward pipes. Opt for a unit with two levels, so you can double up on storage space. You'll have easy access to your items and can arrange them neatly so you know where everything is.
9. Make sure your products are in date
Organising your under sink cupboard is a good opportunity to check that all your products are in date. We often overlook the expiry date of cleaning products, espcially for those less used items like drain unblockers and oven cleaners. Get rid of anything that can no longer be used and remember to opt for smaller sizes in these products in the future if you can.
10. Stick to the one in use and one spare rule
Kathryn Lord from More to Organising suggests following the one in use and one spare rule when you organise under sink. 'Only keep what you need under the sink and have one in use and one spare. Only buy a new one when you’ve started the spare.' We can be guilty of stocking up on products unnecssarily, so following this rule will stop you overbuying and prevent your under sink cupboard from becoming cluttered.
How do I organise my kitchen cupboard under the sink?
'What should be stored under the kitchen sink depends on the layout of the kitchen, but typically it is used for storing cleaning supplies', says Blanca Aguirrezabal, decluttering specialist, TheBlogStuff. 'These may include dish soap, sponges, scrub brushes, garbage bags, rubber gloves, drain cleaners, and all-purpose cleaners.'
When you start to organise under sink cupboards in your kitchen, you'll want to start by decluttering expired cleaning products and items you no longer use. Only having what you need in the cupboard will help you easily maintain an organised system.
'You could organize the remaining items by grouping them together according to their purpose, for example, put all of the cleaning supplies in one group and all of the dishwashing supplies in another', suggests Blanca. 'It really depends on what works for you.'
Is it OK to store things under sink?
Under sink storage is a handy place to store items that you'd rather not have on display, but reach for frequently. Keep your cleaning supplies and other household items under the sink, but be aware of what you shouldn’t store under your sink for hygiene and safety purposes.
'We would not recommend storing harsh chemicals such as bleach under your sink if you have children in the house', says bathroom and kitchen expert Polly. 'You also shouldn't store flammable products like thinners, polishes and paints that carry the risk of bursting into flames in certain conditions.'
If you're storing your tea towels and cloths under sinks, wash them fairly regularly to prevent the build up of mould, which can grow in dark places.
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Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.
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