14 ways to organize that nightmare space under the kitchen sink, according to experts

Wondering how to organize under the kitchen sink? Decluttering experts share their top tips for neat and tidy storage.

Under the sink kitchen storage unit by The Container Store with toilet brush and baskets
(Image credit: The Container Store)

Figuring out how to organize under the kitchen sink can be a nightmare for most of us. It's a place where your antibacterial wipes, bleach and sponges balance like a game of Jenga or Buckaroo. But when it comes to keeping toxic household items out of the reach of kids and pets, you'll find organizing far from child's play.

Perfect for clearing space from your worktops, finding things quickly and easily (saving money on dupes) and generally keeping things organized, kitchen storage ideas like these are genius for giving your under sink space a well-needed glow-up.

Where to start

'First take everything out of your under sink cupboard and group similar items together as you do so,' says Lizzie Grant, founder of Declutter on Demand.

'This allows you to really see what you have in there. It also gives you a fresh perspective on using a different layout and organizing products for this space. Declutter anything you no longer need or use as well as expired products.'

1. After sorting, measure the space

An under sink kitchen storage unit by The Container Store with various containers and cleaning products

(Image credit: The Container Store)

'Under sink storage can be tricky due to pipes and lack of shelves. Before you rush to buy organizing products, measure the space,' says Grant.

It's all about maximizing on the space you have, depending on what you need to stow there also. ''Consider the amount and size of the products you have to store - are they tall, small, narrow, wide? Look for ways you can maximize the space, for example, adding hooks or clothes pegs to the back of an under-sink cupboard door or adding over-door storage.' Adds Grant.

'If shelves are lacking, buy stackable or freestanding drawers to double the amount of storage space. There are even freestanding shelves you can buy which can fit around pipes.'

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2. If in doubt, go with wire under-sink storage

Wire under sink organizers

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Under-the-sink organizers made from stainless steel wire are often superior to plastic ones. They are easier to clean, not prone to water damage, and, importantly, are lightweight and easy to remove when needed. Speaking from the experience of having had to organize many kitchen sinks over his lifetime, Licensed Realtor® Scott Browder tells us that 'since it is made of steel you don’t have to worry about a leaky faucet messing up your nice drawers the first time you have a leak. I make sure to hit the tracks with silicon spray or wD-40 also so that the shelves pull out with ease and if they are to get wet they will not rust. I check every couple of months to make sure I spray it down so the shelves move fast and again if the sink is to leak that it doesn’t rust.' 

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3. Double up on tiered organizers

Two two-tier under-sink organizers

(Image credit: The Container Store)

Even the smallest under-the-sink space can accommodate a tiered organizer. And most sinks will be able to fit in two of them, which means you've just quadrupled your storage space. Never underestimate the power of multiple tiers to house all your bottles, clothes, and brushes. It's a much more efficient way of organizing your space than trying to cram in everything on one level.

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4. Choose your organizing products

An acrylic and metal sliding under sink storage tray with plastic bottles under sink

(Image credit: Bed Bath Beyond)

'There are lots of different ways to organize your space so choose products which appeal to you and work for your space,' explains Grant.

'You may want to have a portable caddy for daily/weekly cleaning products so you can take them to other areas of your home if needed. Alternatively, you might prefer to use a turntable to organize items.'

'Smaller storage containers, such as small plastic takeaway boxes, are useful for smaller items. Using see-through tubs or bins will ensure that you never lose track of items.'

Find this iDesign™ Clear Undersink Sliding Tray unit at Bed Bath and Beyond for just $29.99 (Beyond+ Members pay $23.99).

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5. Sort your supplies with a spin board

Under the sink storage using a Lazy Susan style spin board

(Image credit: @thetidystandard)

'If you have a deep kitchen cupboard and hate fighting through the maze of supplies and products, spin boards, also known as Lazy Susans, are great to place your spray bottles on, allowing easier reach to your products,' says Katie Thomas, founder of KTM design.

'On the other hand, if you haven’t got enough room for a spin board, tension rods can be used across the cupboard which will then allow you to hook the spray bottles onto the rod. This then allows for extra room underneath for any storage boxes, maximizing the space available.'

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6. Where possible, make the sustainable choice

White ORTHEX SmartStore recycled Baskets

(Image credit: ORTHEX)

'Baskets are a good choice for under sink storage as they’re easy to maneuver and importantly are the only ‘breathable’ type of storage so good for dishcloths, tea towels and wipes,' says Craig Sammells, manager at Orthex Group.

'Our SmartStore Baskets have the added aspect of being a sustainable choice too – they are made from recycled plastic and have the option of a bamboo lid. The lids rest snugly on top of the basket making them stackable.'

'We also have the Classic range of recyclable plastic boxes with durable clip lids. These are available in a variety of sizes and are good for more long-term under-sink storage such as for liquid soap or surface cleaner refills.'

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7. Consider adjustable and removable organizers

Adjustable under kitchen sink storage in white with household cleaning items

(Image credit: Addis)

The space under the sink often turns into a bit of a dumping ground for carrier bags, cleaning products and anything else to quickly stuff in a cupboard out of sight – especially in a small kitchen design where space is at a premium.

So, an adjustable under-the-sink organizer not only means you can maximize storage space, but also offers an effective management and stock control system of cleaning products. The days of frustratingly rummaging through cupboards trying to find a new bottle of bleach that doesn't exist are officially over.

No matter if you have a large or small kitchen storage unit you can organize under the kitchen sink with ease knowing that this unit is adaptable to the space.

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8. Use pull-out shelves

Pebre Matt Dark grey Universal Pull out under the sink kitchen storage by B&Q

(Image credit: B&Q)

'Make sure every item under the sink has a designated home as this will help you keep your under sink space organized. Only keep products you use regularly under the sink,' warns Grant.

'If you bulk-buy items, find another place to keep these to avoid your under sink storage becoming cluttered. Organize items by category and remember if you cannot see things then you probably won’t use them.'

'Keep more frequently used items at the front and lesser used items towards the back. Remove packaging as much as possible to save space and make everything look more uniform.'

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8. Maximize your cabinet door space

Door fixed under kitchen sink storage

(Image credit: The Container Store)

'The cabinet doors are an ideal place to store everything from trash bags and shopping bags to paper towels and sponges. There are two basic designs of cabinet door organizers. Those that hook over the door and those that mount to the door directly.' says Brad Neel, a content creator, The Container Store.

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10. Work around obstructions

Under kitchen sink storage with U-bend in show

(Image credit: The Container Store)

'The hardest part of organizing the space under your sink is working around the pipes and your garbage disposal. Using several two-tiered under sink organizers is one way to solve the problem,' says Neel.

'They help you make use of the vertical space and the pull-out drawers keep items from getting lost in the back of the cabinet. Another solution is to use expandable organizers made especially for cabinets under the sink.'

11. Label items under the sink

Under the sink kitchen storage with white bottles and pink labels

(Image credit: @blissfullittlehome)

What can actually distinguish clutter from usable items is knowing exactly what you're dealing with and labels can help! 'Finish off organizing your under sink space by labeling containers and drawers so it is clear exactly where items live.' says Grant, adding how labels help identify but also tidy things away in their rightful home. 

'This lets all household members know where everything goes and avoids things being put back in the wrong place. You can buy custom labels online or make your own labels with a label maker or just use white labels and a marker pen.'

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12. Keep detergents out of reach of kids and pets

Under sink in-door storage by Joseph Joseph

(Image credit: Joseph Joseph)

Kitchen detergents and bathroom bleach are made up of strong formulas that can cause harm if ingested so it's best to keep these liquids out of reach of young children and pets – especially as newfound scented products come in food-like fragrances.

Place drain cleaners and corrosive oven cleaners toward the back of the cupboard when you organize under the kitchen sink. After all, we don't envisage you'll need to tackle those tasks on a weekly basis. But when you do, we've got lots of expert advice on how to clean an oven correctly.

13. Consider collapsible storage 

A black and grey collapsible bucket under the sink

(Image credit: KitchenCraft)

When space is at a premium, you'll need ingenious solutions and this smart and practical pop-up kitchenware. This black and grey bucket fully collapses for quick, convenient storage under the sink, so you’re never faced with the problem of where to put it.

With a little pressure the flattened bucket will become three-dimensional and deceptively strong. The collapsible sides are made of durable, flexible silicone to make it easy to fold, whilst the polypropylene handle and rims give it some rigidity and support.

Packed with tonnes of space, you’ll be able to utilize the entirety of its generous nine-litre capacity without questioning its integrity. Fantastically multipurpose, yet modest-looking, this collapsible bucket is an indispensable tool for a small apartment, or family home that's crying out for a little extra room.

14. No light? Choose a sliding caddy

An under sink sliding storage caddy with household cleaning products and U-pipe

(Image credit: Wayfair)

While the items under your kitchen sink might look clinical, the tools you choose to organize your products with don't have to be. And, if you haven't got kitchen lighting specifically sorted for this space—you needn't worry.

Because this cute RollOut under sink caddy, available from Wayfair, tackles the nightmare of that deep, dark cabinet. Items roll into the light with sturdy handles and smooth wheels.

Adjustable dividers create separate storage spaces and a bonus basket hangs where you want. So, when under sink supplies are this organized, you can clean (and rest) easily.

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How should you organize multiple bottles under a sink? 

'We are all prone to storing a surplus of cleaning products under the sink,' says Elaine Penhaul, interiors expert and owner of award-winning national home staging company, Lemon and Lime Interiors

She recommends that when you're working with multiple bottles, including half-used bottles, to begin with a big sort through to see where you can decanter remnants of the same products into one bottle. 'You’ll be amazed by how many half-used bottles can be consolidated and save you from buying new ones.' Adds Penhaul. Remember of course to never mix different cleaning products as it can be dangerous.

Katie Thomas, founder of KTM design then says that Lazy Susans are her go-to for storing and organizing this kind of item under a sink, as they make it much easier to reach products, especially if it's a deep space.

'On the other hand, if you haven’t got enough room for a spin board, tension rods can be used across the cupboard which will then allow you to hook the spray bottles onto the rod. This then allows for extra room underneath for any storage boxes, maximizing the space available.'

Katherine Blackler, immediate past president of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers, CPO® (Certified Professional Organizer), and founder of SortMySpace Ltd shared some final top tips on successfully organizing items under the kitchen sink:

  • Use a tension rod to hang any spray bottles up in the awkward gaps that the sink and pipes create.
  • Have a cleaning caddy (with a handle) to easily store the cleaning products you need to take around the house on a regular basis. This then just slots back in under the sink when chores are done.
  • Use plastic boxes to group similar products in 1 box (eg keep dishwasher tablets, salt and rinse aid together). If you can use long boxes (and place from front to back) they become makeshift drawers allowing you to easily reach the bottles at the back of the cupboard.
  • Store rolls of bin liners and recycling sacks upright in a small box to take up a smaller footprint in the cupboard.
  • Adjustable shelving can fit the gaps and allow a row of baskets or containers on the bottom shelf and some storage into the alcoves between pipework.
  • Use the insides of doors to add hooks for tea towels of cloths, a kitchen roll holder or carrier bag holder (ensuring enough clearance when you close the doors).

What's the best way to organize shopping bags under the kitchen sink? 

Penhaul is with us on storing excess bags, ripe for reuse, under the kitchen sink. But they can get out of hand so quickly. She recommends a simple hack to cut down on the volume of space they acquire.

'This nifty trick involves vertically folding the bag in half twice over before folding upwards in triangular shapes. By maintaining a tight fold and slotting the excess handles into a pocket created by folding, you can store these in a fraction of the space that stuffing them into one another would have taken up.'

How to maintain a well organized under kitchen sink space? 

Finally, Penhaul says how compartmentalizing and creating better access is the key to effective organization beneath the kitchen sink. But what if you're all organized under the kitchen sink but not sure how to keep it that way?

The trick is to be realistic with your approach in the first instance.

Blackler notes how this space needs to work for all those using it and that keeping your expectations real is a must. After all, this area will not be part of the guest tour, or your Instagram stories—although we can't speak for everyone of course. So curating a space that works for your home visually and functionally is the real marker of success!

Christina Chrysostomou
Former acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the former acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.

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