How to Maximize the Cabinet Space Under Your Kitchen Sink

published Apr 3, 2018
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(Image credit: Minette Hand)

In every home I’ve ever lived in, the cabinets under my kitchen sink have devolved into terrifying, damp caves of old cleaning supplies, trash bags, and other objects I’m not sure where else to store. Often, there comes a point I simply don’t want to open the doors and see what’s waiting for me inside.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

This reticence can have far-reaching effects. It’s like the bug tunnel scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, when Willie doesn’t want to stick her hand in the hole in the wall to pull the lever to save Indy and Short Round (though my kitchen probably sports fewer life or death stakes): Sometimes I’ll skip a cleaning task when I know I’ll have to dig around under the sink for a certain bottle. Other times I put off taking the trash out for a few days, avoiding having to feel around the dark, under-sink mess for a new trash bag. After completing today’s 15 minute minimalism installment, perhaps I won’t have to imagine nightmarish, bug-filled, under-sink environments hiding behind my cabinet doors in the future?

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Your 15 minute minimalism advice below comes from organizing expert Kristen Ziegler, founder and owner of Minima—a company that helps others declutter and organize.

“Living a more organized, minimalist life can feel like a big undertaking. I promise it gets much easier with time and practice, so don’t fret! (I have personally been at it for 15 years now.) As with any change or new habit, the hardest part is often getting started. The key with all of these projects is to establish clear homes for the things you own. Everyone’s space is different, so use this as a guide, not a rulebook.”

Can you see this? If so, you may be wasting space

Under the kitchen sink can become a bottomless pit, so it’s important to define what belongs here and maximize the vertical space. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the back wall of a closet or cabinet, you have not maximized your vertical space.

Start here

This is usually a very quick project, so start by emptying everything out, giving it a good cleaning, sorting into categories, and deciding what goes back versus what can be relocated elsewhere.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

The under-the-sink cabinet should be for storing this

Designate this space for kitchen cleaning supplies. If you have limited under sink space, try only keeping kitchen-specific cleaning supplies here and relocating the general household products to a laundry room or linen closet.

The plumbing pipe product challenge

You will also need to work around any plumbing pipes. These drawers are great in a narrow space and can be used for small cleansers, sponges, etc.

One last spot to maximize

Don’t forget about valuable back of cabinet door space—hooks and racks can help keep frequent supplies at hand.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Read more about Kristen’s business on her website, check her out on Instagram, or get more organizing tips by signing up for her newsletter.

And read the other 15 minute minimalism installments:

More minimal home inspiration:

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)