The best ways to achieve streamlined organization under the kitchen sink

These helpful tips for organization under kitchen sink can help you make clever use of an awkward space

Kitchen sink and silver tap in front of cabinet
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Organization under kitchen sink isn't easy to achieve, given that it’s often full of cleaning products, cloths and all sorts of miscellaneous kitchen items—but once it’s done, it’ll be so much easier to navigate to find exactly what you need.

Thanks to a lack of shelves and awkward spacing around pipework, the cupboard under the kitchen sink can easily become one of the most cluttered areas in any household. For these reasons, it can be an especially difficult part of organizing a kitchen. But thankfully, there are some helpful solutions. 

Most people use the cupboard under the kitchen sink to store cleaning kitchen essentials—things like spray bottles, sponges, extra dish soaps, and dishwasher tablets. In fact, some of us even store our kitchen appliances there—such as blenders and food processors. However, with a group of items of different shapes, sizes and functions, it can be hard to prevent the space from turning into a cluttered mess. 

To get some expert advice on the best organization under kitchen sink tips, w&h spoke to Kate Ibbotson, a professional organizer and decluttering coach. “The under-the-sink cupboard is one of the most tricky spaces to organize, but with thought and planning you can nail it,” says Kate. “It’s vital to utilize this space, because it’s usually in a central place in your kitchen.” 

Organization under kitchen sink planning tips

1. Consider what you really need to keep in there 

According to Kate, a golden rule for your organization under kitchen sink is to ‘store it near to where you use it’, and this means that you will most likely want to store items related to dishwashing and cleaning in the under-sink cupboard. Before you start organizing, it’s a good idea to think about what you’re currently keeping in this space, and make changes as necessary. Kate suggests storing frequently used items in the under-sink cupboard, since it’s usually an easily accessible space.

kitchen

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2. Think about safety

The under-the-sink cupboard typically contains a lot of hazardous chemicals and products which should be kept out of sight and reach of children. This is especially true of items like colorful detergent pods. If you do have small children in the household, it’s crucially important to install reliable child locks for this space. Also consider keeping hazardous cleaning supplies in a more secure location and instead using the under-sink cupboard for storing only child-safe items like dishcloths, extra sponges, and paper towels.

3. Prepare the sink area

It might sound obvious, but before you set about with your organization under kitchen sink, it's important to prepare the area. This means cleaning your sink, and cleaning the cupboard underneath so that it's fresh and tidy, ready to be whipped into shape.

Once you've cleaned your sink, simply wipe down the cupboard underneath with disinfectant and remove any debris that might have fallen in there.

It can also be helpful to measure the space you have down there, to work out how best to organize it to utilize every inch of room. 

Now you’ve decided what items to keep in the under-sink cupboard, it’s time to get everything organized. 

Tips to help you organize under your kitchen sink

The below organization under kitchen sink tips will help you clear up the awkward space in a matter of minutes, for a more streamlined, neat, and less chaotic area of your kitchen. 

A selection of bathroom products in a grey wire basket with a wooden handle

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1. Use labelled baskets that can be lifted in and out 

One of our top kitchen storage ideas, baskets can be super handy when it comes to organization under kitchen sink. However, while installing shelves in an under-sink cupboard is possible, it can be tricky to make them fit. “The main issue with the under-the-sink cupboard is the pipes getting in the way. So another option is to measure and then choose individual boxes or baskets in different sizes, so that you can make them fit perfectly in the space,” suggests Kate. 

“Keeping your most regularly used cleaning supplies in a portable caddy is a good idea so you can grab your cleaning kit quickly and take it from room to room as needed,” says Kate. If you have space, you could even have extra baskets dedicated to things like laundry (containing detergent, fabric conditioner, stain remover, and mesh bags for delicates). 

Similarly, Kate suggests storing the items you need to keep dry, like dishwasher pods, in airtight containers. 

a selection of kitchen cloths hanging off a rod on a cupboard door

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2. Install an adjustable tension rod

If you still have lots of empty space above your storage containers and want to utilize it, you could also fit a short tension rod for hanging spray bottles from their nozzle near the top of the cupboard. This is a great kitchen cabinet organization idea, and a particularly good option for anyone renting their home, as it requires no screws or other form of permanent attachment. These also work well for storing kitchen cloths too, so is a great multi-functional organization hack.

White product bottles lined up on a wire shelf on a wall

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3. Add attachments to the door space

Kate points out that the inner door of the under-sink cupboard is often an underutilized area, and that there are many options for making use of this neglected extra space. 

“You can fit over-door storage in the form of pocket organizers,” she says. “Hooks can be really useful too, or compact shelving for your dustpan and brush, tea towels, scrubbing brushes or cloths.” 

As well as over-door storage, you can often also fix small storage items to the door more securely using 3M sticky pads or small screws.

Silver wall hooks with green cloths hanging on them

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4. Use hooks wherever you can

Also a great hack when organizing a pantry, hooks can be a particular hero of organization in an under-sink cupboard. Place a few self-adhesive hooks on the walls or inner door of the cupboard, and these can then be used for hanging things like washing up gloves (secured together using a bulldog clip), scrubbing brushes, or cloths.

Self-adhesive hooks are a great organization under kitchen sink option because they can be moved and adjusted super easily—if you find the hooks doesn't work in one part of the cupboard, you can move it simply and quickly.

A handwritten label reading 'detergent' help up in front of a selection of other household labels

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5. Label everything

It’s easier to maintain an organized space when there’s a place for everything, and everything is in its place. So make sure everyone in the household knows where things are kept and where to return them to after use by adding a few labels to the storage you've put in place under the kitchen sink. With this system in place, it should be possible to keep your cupboard tidy for longer.

clear plastic storage boxes with grey lids lined up on metal shelves

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6. Use clear storage

Whatever type of storage you choose, Kate suggests opting for clear storage as the under-sink cupboard is a dark space, and transparent boxes or drawers allow you to see what you have quickly and at a glance.

Kate also notes, “To utilize the height of the cupboard, you may need to stack boxes on top of each other or use drawers."

Many clear storage boxes come in stackable sets so that you can keep them organized more easily—with different sizes that slot into each other available from many homeware retailers. Plus, clear storage is brilliantly easy to clean—when they get a bit dirty, just empty out the content and wash them in the sink with water and dishwashing liquid. 

a selection of kitchen essentials on a cream-coloured wire storage rack

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7. Try mini drawers or shelving units

Another option is to utilize a mini shelving unit or a combination of different storage solutions based on what your space allows. If you only have a small cupboard to work from it is possible to get one-row shelf inserts that stand inside your cupboard to create another layer of storage. However, if you have a bigger space, it's worth getting something with several rows of shelves to maximize your storage space.

With thanks to Kate Ibbotson, a professional organizer and decluttering coach who runs UK-based business A Tidy Mind, for her time and expertise.