6 items you should never store under the kitchen sink, according to a professional organizer

Avoid stashing these common items anywhere near under the kitchen sink

Short slab earthy colored backsplash in modern kitchen with black marble hood, island and sage green cabinet finish
(Image credit: Sapna Aggarwal of Bungalowe | Virtually Here Studios)

If an overflow of products and kitchen items have you stashing things away without thought, your first step might be a serious reevaluation of your organizational methods. When professional organizer and founder of Horderly Jamie Hord is approached by clients, it’s usually because they either have too much stuff or haven’t devised the proper systems for organizing and functionality. In fact, after working with Horderly, clients have walked away with a completely new assessment of their home. “A lot of people think their space is too small when in fact it's just a matter of decluttering some and maximizing the space properly,” she says. 

When it comes to improper storage, accumulating items under your kitchen sink can present an onslaught of problems, from potential water damage to leaving dangerous substances in reach of pets and children. It can also cause you to lose track of where items have gone. “Losing things are also issues clients have,” she says. “In that case, we’re needing to create a proper home for everything.”

Here are six common kitchen items that end up tucked away under the sink and ways to instead find the item’s proper home.

1. Cooking items

Instead of relying on the space under your sink for extra cookware storage, consider setting up a “zone” for your items. “The biggest thing in a kitchen is considering zones,” Hord advises. “For example, anything you use on the stovetop or oven should live near the oven. Prep items should live together, storage items together, food items together, etc. This is how your kitchen is going to function properly and make preparing meals easy.”

2. Laundry detergent

For those without the luxury of a separate laundry room, it can be easy to make a home for it under the sink. However, losing track of how much laundry detergent you have can cost big bucks over time. Instead, keeping items in more dedicated spaces will end up being better for your home in the long run. “When we organize, clients are saving so much time, money, and headaches,” Hord explains. Finding the proper places for things can lead to more time saved and less money spent on accidentally purchasing multiples.

3. Harsh chemicals

“If you have pets or kids in the house, it's better to store any harsh chemicals in a safer place where they couldn't reach,” Hord explains. Although this one might be an obvious one, especially if you live with young children, in many kitchens, harsh chemicals tend to stay under the sink out of convenience. Instead, opt for finding chemicals a place higher off the ground or out of reach of children and pets. Considering more eco-friendly cleaning products day-to-day can help here also.

4. Flammable items

As far as safety is concerned, it’s never a good idea to keep highly-flammable items in the kitchen, the one room in your house where you most often use fire. Instead, find proper storage for flammable items, away from stoves or fireplaces, and out of reach of kids. 

5. Non-waterproof items

Leaks under the sink are common. It only makes sense that anything that could be ruined with water, such as paper towels or your grandma’s antique linens, should be moved to a space that has less of a likelihood of encountering water. 

6. Storage odds and ends

When people begin on their organizing journeys, many start by purchasing more storage products, which Hord explains could be a mistake. “When people try to get their space organized, they are purchasing products before going through the proper steps of getting organized,” she says. Many times, these storage items can end up causing more clutter and possibly even make their way to your cabinets, unused. 

When it comes to organizing, Horderly devises a step-by-step process that explains the best way to go about organizing on your own. “Implementing products is one of the last steps,” Hord exclaims. Thankfully there are cute organization products that work for all manner of spaces.

If space is lacking in your kitchen and you’re searching for a way to store these items, Hord has a possible solution. “An alternative for under the sink would be shelves in a laundry room or behind an underutilized door,” she explains. 

In the end, true long-lasting organizing means ditching your inclination to stash everything in one space and instead finding a permanent home for everything you need in your kitchen. 

Kate Santos

Hello! I’m Kate Santos, a writer and photographer based in Los Angeles. In the design world, I got my start working as an Editorial Intern for Dwell magazine in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve written about design and architecture in many national magazines and online publications, including Playboy, Hunker, and The Culture Trip.

I grew up in a very old house in North Carolina and am still influenced by the rustic, charming, antique and aged elements of a home. Sustainability and longevity is extremely important to me and I believe learning to reuse materials or purchasing items you’ll love forever goes a long way. I also lean towards the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi when designing my own home, embracing the perfectly imperfect items I can find.