Under sink storage ideas for organising your kitchen

Reading Time: 8 minutes
  • Under-the-sink cabinet organisation tips
  • Items that you can store in the cupboard beneath the kitchen sink
  • 10 items that should never be kept in the cupboard underneath the kitchen sink
  • How to waterproof your kitchen cupboards

Are you tight on under sink storage in your kitchen and keen to uncover some tidy solutions that will help maximise space? By cleverly utilising the area beneath the kitchen sink, you could declutter your work surfaces and make the heart of your home look less chaotic.

However, organising under your kitchen sink is no easy feat, given that it’s often packed with cleaning products, trash cans or trash bags, dish detergents, soaps and other miscellaneous items.

Due to a lack of shelving around pipework, organising the space underneath the kitchen sink can be challenging, and as a result, it can quickly become the most cluttered area of the household.

However, it could be a space that is much easier to navigate with some helpful tips and solutions.

How to organise under the kitchen sink

The vast majority of people use the cupboard beneath the kitchen sink to store general household cleaning supplies such as washing up gloves, dishwasher tablets, detergent and spray bottles.

However, some people also use the area to store kitchen appliances, such as blenders, slow cookers and bread makers. Others use the space to stock pet food, containers, light bulbs and other flower vases.

While it is one of the most challenging spaces in the household to organise, effective use of this area could make the whole kitchen more functional.

According to Kate Ibbotson, a professional organiser and decluttering coach, the golden rule for organising space beneath your kitchen sink is to “store it where you use it”.

Ms Ibbotson advocates storing frequently used items in the cupboard beneath the sink as it is an easily accessible space.

Suppose you already have items in that area and are considering ways to maximise space. In that case, Fahren UK advises taking everything out of the cupboard as this can often offer a fresh perspective on layout options and organisation ideas that optimise storage.

It’s also important to consider safety, especially if you have young children in your home, as under-the-sink products tend to contain harmful and hazardous chemicals.

If you are storing chemical products beneath the sink, think about how you can structure the cupboard or install safety locks to keep these out of sight and reach of children.

What safety precautions can you take to child-protect kitchen cupboards?

If you have small children in your house, consider installing a childproof catch or child locks on the cupboard door to keep hazardous products out of the reach of children.

There are magnetic, strap and sliding child locks available, all of which are easy to install and prevent fingers from getting trapped.

Alternatively, store harmful chemicals and cleaning supplies in a more secure location than under the kitchen sink to avoid the risk of harm coming to your child.

Empty, declutter and clean the area

Before you make a start on organising the cupboard space, empty the area and give it a good clean with disinfectant, so it’s ready to be transformed into shape.

If the cupboard floor is looking a little depleted or you want to protect the surface, why not add a shelf liner, which protects against moisture and stains.

The space under the sink is prone to dust, spills and leaks as it is located directly below your taps and next to pipework, so shelf liners are handy as they are designed to keep surfaces clean and dry.

It might also be worth measuring the area to consider how to maximise space and utilise every inch of the cupboard.

Once you’ve decided on the items you want to store under the sink, it’s time to organise the space!

Under kitchen sink organisation ideas

Are you struggling with ideas on how to organise under the kitchen sink? We’ve outlined some genius under-the-sink ideas that will help you transform this awkward space into a less chaotic and more functional area in a matter of minutes!

  1. Labelled baskets/containers

You’ll have no issue finding the products, items or appliances you need if you use labelled baskets for your under-the-sink organisation.

Although you could install shelves, they can be difficult to fit due to pipework which creates weird angles. If this is an issue for you, baskets, boxes or containers are great alternatives as they tend to slot into the area with ease.

You could create baskets specifically for laundry products, cleaning products, sponges, hand soaps, and miscellaneous items if you have space.

For items that need to be kept moisture-free such as dishwasher pods, use airtight containers to store these.

2. Install an adjustable tension rod

If you still have space above your labelled baskets or containers, consider fitting an adjustable tension rod or rail on the inside of the door to hang washing up gloves, spray bottles, dish towels and tea towels.

Tension rods are a great alternative to door rails as they require no screws or other form of permanent attachment, making them easy to remove if you want to revamp the space later on.

Why not add other attachments to the tension rod or door rails, such as a small utility basket or pocket organiser to store washing up sponges and cleaning brushes.

3. Maximise space with door attachments

The inner door of the cupboard under the sink is often underutilised and neglected despite providing homeowners with several options for storage.

As aforementioned, pocket organisers – which can be hooked over doors – are a great way to store cleaning items and washing up products.

You may also want to utilise screw-in and self-adhesive hooks to create shelving for dustpans, scrubbing brushes, towels, and trash cans, freeing up floor space in the cupboard.

Self-adhesive hooks are an excellent under-the-sink organisation option as they can be adjusted and moved without much hassle. Hooks can also be placed on the walls within the cupboard to maximise space further.

If you’re not keen on hooks but want a place to store towels and other hanging items, why not introduce a pullout towel rack into the space to keep damp hand towels and tea towels out of view and declutter work surface space.

4. Add Shelves

Create a shelving system to make all of your supplies easily accessible and visible. Sliding shelves are particularly useful for reaching those products or appliances hiding at the back of the cupboard, while tiered shelves help maximise space.

An ingenious solution is Flexi-shelving, which allows you to create shelves around pipework to make the most of limited space.

Alternatively, consider purchasing expandable shelves, which can adjust to suit the area’s width, height, and depth.

5. Use clear storage organisers

Whatever type of storage you choose – drawers, containers or boxes – opt for clear storage, which will allow you to identify products in an instant.

Clear plastic containers will not only keep the area beneath your sink uniform, but they are relatively low maintenance, given that they are easier to clean than materials such as wood and metal.

Transparent boxes also tend to come in different sizes and stackable sets, with drawers or lids, making them very versatile storage options.

10 Things You Should Never Store Under Your Sink

Many of us tend to consider the space beneath our kitchen sink as an ideal storage space; however, there are a few household items that you should avoid storing in this area.

Those with smaller kitchens may be particularly keen to use the area underneath the sink due to limited space on countertops and in other kitchen cabinets. In that sense, the cupboard under the sink is a valuable section of the house, but there are some household items that you should never store in the space.

Kitchen towels and paper bags 

As this space is home to pipework and sits beneath the basin of your sink, it’s prone to leaks and dampness, making it an unideal location for paper towels and paper bags which can become damaged when exposed to water.

It’s better to store kitchen towels and other paper-based items such as napkins, biodegradable compost or bin bags and boxed laundry detergent in cabinets or areas of the kitchen that aren’t exposed to moisture.

Electrical appliances

While it might seem convenient to store your blender, vacuum or slow cooker under the sink – electronics and water do not mix, so it’s best to keep electrical appliances in areas that are not moisture-susceptible such as pantries.

These items also tend to be pushed to the back of the cupboard, making them difficult to access. Furthermore, things that sit at the back of the cabinets are rarely used, and if following decluttering coach Kate Ibbotson’s advice, the space under the sink should store items that are used frequently.

Potentially harmful chemicals

Even if you have childproofed or pet-proofed the under-the-sink cupboard, it’s best to find another home for products containing harsh chemicals.

Although most cleaning products come fitted with childproof caps or safety mechanisms such as twist nozzles with shut off valves, they can cause severe irritation or harm when they come into contact with skin and eyes or if ingested.

Consider keeping harmful chemicals such as bleach, air fresheners, antifreeze and other toxic household chemicals on shelves that are higher up to keep them out of reach.

Flammable Products

Don’t store flammable items such as varnishes, rubbing alcohol, aerosols and hand sanitiser under the kitchen sink, especially if you have electronics kept in the same place.

Flammable products are best kept in well-ventilated places such as the garage or dark areas away from sunlight.

Paint and powder-based chemicals

Store paint cans, spray paint canisters, and powder-based chemicals in the basement, pantry or garage rather than under the sink as the mixture of chemicals make them potentially harmful.

You should also keep paint and spray paint canisters away from gas appliances and extreme heat or cold to avoid accidents or damage.

Pesticides

Household critters tend to flock to the kitchen because it is a place where food is stored, and crumbs fall.

However, you should never store pesticides or insecticides underneath the kitchen sink where leaks or flooding is possible. These items are best stored on a high shelf in a garage, basement or pantry out of reach of young children and pets.

Pesticides and insecticides should also be protected from freezing temperatures and heat sources, including direct sunlight.

Animal feed

Unless you store pet food in airtight containers, you should avoid keeping them in the under-the-sink cupboard due to damp conditions.

Pet food stored under the sink is at risk of developing mould due to moisture and humidity.

It’s also important to keep pet food and chemical-based products separate to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and exposure to air, which will speed up the rate of degradation and promote bacterial growth.

Food and perishables

If you’re considering food storage options, never use the space under the kitchen sink to house food and perishables kept under the sink can be contaminated by potentially harmful chemicals, germs and moisture due to temperature fluctuations.

Sink cabinets are also at risk of flooding due to being situated near pipework and taps, so it’s not an ideal spot for dry goods and perishables.

Food should always be stored in dry, cool areas where there is good ventilation. Also, you’re likely to forget that you have food stored under the kitchen sink due to the variety of other household items stored down there, making it more prone to mould.

Tools

While it may seem convenient to store screwdrivers, spanners, screws and drills under the sink to keep them close at hand, they won’t fare well in that spot due to exposure to moisture.

Tools kept under the sink are likely to rust or corrode due to the moist conditions, which will shorten the item’s lifespan and undermine the effectiveness of the purchase.

As the area under the sink is a high traffic area, delicate items and fragile items such as light bulbs are at risk of breaking or becoming damaged, so they should be stored in a less crowded, secure place where they are less likely to break, get knocked over or crack.

 Extra unused supplies

If you haven’t used a particular item or product for a while, or you have no intention of using it anytime soon, maximise space by removing it from the under-the-sink cupboard.

Whether it’s unopened bin bags, dishwasher tablets, washing-up liquid or rubber gloves, store any unused items in another room or cupboard in the house to prevent clutter and make use of this space for something else.

As cabinets under the kitchen sink are incredibly susceptible to water, you could protect your products from damage and mould by waterproofing the area.

How to waterproof under-the-sink cupboards

If you’ve experienced water damage in your home before, you’re aware of how much of a nuisance it is to repair damaged property or replace ruined household items.

Given that the cabinet under the sink houses plumbing work, it’s especially vulnerable to leaks and water damage.

However, you could prevent leaks and protect your items by waterproofing the cupboard and given that it requires little to no experience, those who are new to home repairs have no reason to worry!

Here are some methods you could adopt to waterproof the under-the-sink cabinet:

  • Seal the area around the sink with silicone caulk to ensure you have an all-season moisture seal
  • Apply a polyurethane coating to the cupboard to prevent wear and tear and extend the life of the cabinet
  • Seal all openings around pipework
  • Fit under-the-sink mats, capable of holding gallons of water in the event of a spill, leak or flood

While you won’t need to hire a plumber or service technician to complete the job, it’s best to call out an expert to tackle the job if you encounter a severe leak or signs of pipe corrosion.

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