I Used This Unexpected $10 Closet Staple to Organize My Kitchen’s Under-Sink Space and It’s Ingenious

published Mar 10, 2024
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Philadelphia residence with white walls, lots of wood details: kitchen with dark stained wood cabinets, white countertop, wood ceiling, white tile backsplash

Maybe it’s the Aquarius in me but I tend to think out of the box (literally) when organizing my home. I enjoy experimenting with products, using them to contain things other than what they’re originally designed or marketed for because it’s beneficial in a few ways. Not only does this habit challenge me to be more creative, but it also saves me money since it often encourages repurposing organizers instead of buying new ones. Which then, by default, prevents an excess of bins and baskets from becoming their own category of clutter in my home.

One such case is that I like to use shoe organizers, a closet staple, as under-sink storage gems instead. This idea started a few years ago when I lived in an apartment with a dishwasher and realized I needed a spot under the sink to store dishwasher pods in addition to the other usual suspects: sponges, gloves, towels, etc. I’m a big fan of decanting things around the house because it looks pretty and saves on space. So, I set out to find a system that would fit all my dishwashing supplies while simultaneously fitting the awkward cabinet beneath the kitchen sink.

The thing about organizing under the sink (bathroom or kitchen) is that you’re dealing with obstacles such as plumbing, garbage disposal, or a fire extinguisher. You’re usually limited by the depth and width but, on the other hand, have lots of room to organize vertically. Keeping that in mind, I thought that stacking organizers would allow me to take advantage of the height of the cabinet and keep my supplies front and center. I didn’t currently have anything extra I could reuse so I headed to my local Container Store. 

There I was, perusing the aisles like a kid in a candy store, and shopping for an upcoming closet organization project. That’s when my eye caught the pull-out shoe organizers and a lightbulb went off. Sure, they’re intended to keep shoes safe and stacked on closet shelves. But why couldn’t I use them to sort dishwashing supplies in the kitchen instead?

Credit: Mary Cornetta

I had already taken measurements under the sink and saved them in the Notes app on my phone. I found that four stackable shoe drawers would be the best fit for the space and my stuff.

Not only did they work out then just like I envisioned, but they continued to work as I moved into new apartments. Because of how accessible the boxes are, it’s easy to reach down when I’m done washing dishes or loading the dishwasher and grab what I need. Since they’re clear, it’s also simple to scan and note when I’m low on supplies and need to restock.

If I ever want to repurpose these organizers again, I could use them to store makeup or hair accessories in the bathroom, hold office supplies by my desk, or revert to their original intended use of storing shoes. My point is that the possibilities are endless when it comes to using organizing products so don’t be afraid to play around with them and have fun with them in the process.

Buy: The Container Store Clearline Stackable Small Shoe Drawer, $9.99