By Amy Kennedy, Professional Home Organiser from The Organising Bee
Out of sight, out of mind. Under the kitchen sink and our rubbish bin often fall into this category and may go neglected and under-utilised.
When looking at the space under the kitchen sink it is often a poorly designed or forgotten space. The location of the plumbing often restricts the style of shelving that can be used, and more often than not during the building phase, shelving not installed at all – leaving a vast and unfunctional area. This complexity often creates difficulty in organising under the sink, as well as maintaining it.
Amy Kennedy, Professional Home Organiser from The Organising Bee shares her top 6 tips to refresh these areas so that they are functional and easy to maintain.
BE CLEAR ON WHAT YOU STORE UNDER THE KITCHEN SINK
Rather than using under the sink as a catch-all of all your cleaning supplies, it may be worth storing only items that you use on a daily basis to wash your dishes and clean your kitchen. Double-ups and specialized or heavy-duty cleaning products and bleaches can be stored in the laundry or another secure storage cupboard within the home.
REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF CLEANING SUPPLIES YOU KEEP
When supporting others to organise their kitchens, I often come across many half-used bottles of cleaning supplies due to an attempt by my client to find the ideal cleaning product that works for their needs. Rather than discarding the unfinished bottle that doesn’t work in the way they would like, it is stuffed to the back of the cupboard. If this sounds familiar, I suggest taking time to safely and appropriately discard all of the products that you are no longer using (even if they are not empty). If you have issue with the waste, ask your friend, neighbour or local community centre if they would use them. By only keeping the cleaning products that you are using, it frees up a lot of space and makes it is a lot easier for you to find the items that you actually use.
MAXIMISE THE STORAGE SPACE BY INSTALLING SHELVING
If you don’t already have a shelf in the cupboard under the kitchen sink, I highly recommend that you install one. The method you choose is highly dependent on the dimensions of your space and the location of your plumbing pipes. A permanent solution is to fit a melamine shelf which you can purchase for around $20 from the hardware store. The hardware store will often cut it to size for you. You may also need to do a little handiwork at home to cut the board so it neat fits around your existing plumbing. Or if you prefer a drawer style shelf, options like the simplehuman Cabinet Organisers may work for you. Tansel Shelving is great under the sink as it comes in narrow widths and can maximise your available space. Alternatively you can use a kitchen shelf helper in a dimension that suits your available space.
MAXIMISE THE STORAGE ON THE INSIDE OF THE CUPBOARD DOORS
Storing items that you use most regularly (i.e. surface spray and your cleaning cloth) in a utility caddy like the White Magic i-Hook Handy Basket on the side of your cupboard can be highly convenient, as well as a space saver. There are permanent and non-permanent options that can be screwed to the door or hooked over the top of the door. If you currently store reusable plastic grocery bags under the sink, affixing a bag holder like the iDesign Classica Kitchen Over-The-Cabinet Bag Holder or White Magic Hide Away Bin to the inside door under the sink could be a practical and tidy option for storing the shopping bags or your waste.
ORGANISE YOUR SUPPLIES USING BASKETS OR CONTAINERS
Store like with like together in separate baskets. You could have several different baskets – one for all your dishwashing supplies (dish cloth, sponge, scourer, dishwashing liquid and plug), another basket for your surface, fridge and oven cleaning supplies and maybe another for your cleaning cloths. Grouping items together within smaller baskets makes it simple for you to find what you want when you need them.
In a wet area like under the kitchen sink, a basket with good ventilation is important. Depending on your available space and the overall look that you are trying to achieve, options like the Howards Clara Organiser Baskets, Sterilite Small Ultra Basket or SmartStore Stylish Baskets are all good options. Howards Mimi Organisers (my all-time favourite HSW product!) are also my preferred option for storing surface sprays and taller cleaning product bottles. These organisers are also ideal for organising laundry supplies under the laundry tub or up the top shelf of a narrow laundry cupboard. Before buying any storage container, it is crucial that you understand what you will store in each container and the dimensions of the space available, as this will determine the size and height of the container that will be functional for your needs.
I encourage my clients to avoid using small plastic drawers under sinks as they are often difficult to use and maintain in a low space where line of sight is often impaired. Rather, this form of storage is best used at waist to eye level. Baskets and containers stored on an open shelf which you can fully remove from the cupboard when using are a lot more practical for under sink storage and a make it a lot easier for you to maintain in the long term.
Amy Kennedy is a Professional Home Organiser and founder of The Organising Bee based in Canberra. The Organising Bee has been awarded the Best of Houzz Award for Service for the past 4 years (2017-2020) and is a Professional Member of the Institute of Professional Organisers (IOPO) and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).