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.
And while 'cleanfluencers' such as Marie Kondo, Mrs Hinch and Lynsey Queen of Clean have made under sink organization trendy, these tidy tips will never fall out of fashion.
How to organize under the kitchen sink
'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.'
At this point, you'll probably uncover debris from crushed dishwasher tablets or salt and spilled laundry powder, so use your best handheld vacuum to get rid of any bits hidden in the nooks and crannies.
1. After sorting, measure the space
'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.
'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.'
'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.'
2. If in doubt, go bespoke
'Part of the beauty of bespoke is having perfectly customized storage to suit your needs and lifestyle,' says Jane Stewart, design director of Mowlem & Co.
'Under-sink organisation can be a challenge, so for this unique kitchen, award-winning bespoke experts Mowlem & Co created inner beauty to match the outer elegance of the American Walnut design, with a pull-out tray divided into neat compartments and racks on each of the inner doors for all those many and varied cleaning supplies.'
'I am a great believer in 'a place for everything and everything in its place' - but also in being able to easily see and access what you are looking for. One can never have enough, nor be too organized when it comes to storage! So instead of that 'black hole' of chaos, why not make you under sink area a thing of beauty and a joy forever?'
3. Use leftover curtain fabric to create a DIY organizer
If you don't want to spend money on expensive cabinetry, use surplus material from your window treatment projects to disguise your dishwashing materials, laundry detergent and the best cleaning products your swear by.
It's cheap and customizable too so you can create this contraption to match with the rest of your interiors. In a country kitchen design, we'd suggest a striped or ditsy floral print.
4. Choose your organizing products
'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).
5. Sort your supplies with a spin board
'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, maximising the space available.'
6. Where possible, choose the sustainable choice
'Baskets are a good choice for under sink storage as they’re easy to manoeuvre and importantly are the only ‘breathable’ type of storage so good for dishcloths, tea towels and wipes,' says Craig Sammells, Orthex Group, country manager UK & Ireland.
'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.'
7. Consider adjustable and removable organizers
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 this innovative 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.
Organize and create usable space under the sink and other kitchen cupboards with this simple, yet practical solution from Addis. The extendable organiser includes ten adjustable shelf sections, these can be adapted to suit the space available, even around pipe-work.
So 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.
8. Use pull-out shelves
'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.'
8. Maximize your cabinet door space
'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.
10. Work around obstructions
'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
'Finish off organizing your under sink space by labelling containers and drawers so it is clear exactly where items live.' says Grant.
'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.'
While Marie Kondo adds: 'By eliminating excess visual information that doesn't spark joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.'
12. Keep detergents out of reach of kids and pets
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
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
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.
How do you organize under sink cabinets?
'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.
'Remove everything from your overflowing cupboard and sort through it – you’ll be amazed by how many half-used bottles can be consolidated and save you from buying new ones.'
While Katie Thomas, founder of KTM design says: '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,'
'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.'
And Katherine Blackler, immediate past president of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers, CPO® (Certified Professional Organizer), and founder of SortMySpace Ltd says: 'The key thing to getting, and staying, organized is for it to be functional and maintainable. It needs to work for all those using it. It isn’t part of the tour when you have guests around so don’t expect it to be "Instagrammable" for everyday life!'
Blackler's tips for organizing under-sink storage
- 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).
Why should you organize your under-sink space?
'Making use of any unfilled area in your kitchen creates a lighter and larger feel to the space,' says Carolyn Foster, stylist, manager and art director at Dunelm.
'Many under sink areas suffer from not having the right layout in order to store anything well; however with one of our under sink storage shelving units, you can store some of those essential kitchen items that before cluttered your worktops.'
'Our under sink storage shelves make use of the under sink space with several shelves that can be manipulated to suit the shape of your pipes easily. Store washing up liquid, tea towels, cleaning products along with anything else you may need to hand.'
While Kondo adds: 'Put nothing on the counters or around the sink and stove top. You will be amazed at how easy your kitchen is to use if you design your storage with this aim in mind.'
What products should you have in your under-sink storage?
'One of the biggest mistakes people also make when cleaning cabinets is to use far too much product,' says Lynsey Crombie (aka Lynsey Queen of Clean).
'They’ll use a spray bottle and too liberally spray one small square. White vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon, ketchup (for rust), beer, and even things like white shaving foam (an amazing carpet cleaner) are all fantastic cleaning products.'
'One thing I love to do is put a little bit of white shaving foam on a microfiber cloth then wipe down my bathroom mirrors and leave for a few minutes before buffing. Your mirror will be condensation-free the next day after you’ve had a shower!'
'Whenever you clean anything with microfiber, never ever use fabric conditioner. It is going to break down those fibres and stop the absorbency.'
If you want to move to more holistic house cleaning products, sweep yourself over to our natural spring cleaning guide.
And when it comes to organizers, the experts have their own recommendations. Penhaul provides us with her favorite tools to tackling the under-sink minefield. She says:
'To utilize the full available space beneath the sink and enable you to store additional cleaning products, I strongly recommend hanging storage solutions from the doors. A stylish over-the-door cupboard organizer from Lakeland and this hanging kitchen roll holder from Simplehuman not only maximize the space under the sink but makes cleaning products more easily reachable while you are washing the dishes or cleaning up a spillage.
'For many of us, below the sink is also a great place to store bags. This handy foil and refuse bag organizer by Joseph Joseph enables you to store multiple bag types separate from the rest of the cleaning products and prevents them from annoyingly rolling out whenever you reaching are something.'
'When storing shopping bags I use 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.'
'Overall, compartmentalizing and accessibility are the key needs for an effective storage arrangement beneath the sink. By utilizing various solutions on both sides of the cupboard and on the inside of the doors, you can more easily differentiate between and readily access cleaning products for the sink and elsewhere for use in the home.'
How can I hide pipes under the sink?
'My dad has made a pipe cover using some multi-board. Although it takes up a bit of extra space, it gives the entire cabinet a much cleaner look and leaves just a little bit of room either side.' says Raveena Singh, a certified professional home organizer and declutterer, psychologist and YouTube Influencer.
How else can I organize my under sink storage?
'If you tend to store cleaning supplies that you use in other areas of your house, you may want to consider keeping them organized in an easy-to-grab tote. This will make it easy to use what you need and get it put neatly back when you're finished.' says Neel.