29 Things Nobody Should Keep in Their Under-Sink Kitchen Cabinet

published Jan 26, 2020
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Kitchen cabinets tend to get messy. But the cabinet under the sink has its own unique way of becoming a cluttered cave of castoffs. Maybe it’s the awkward shape, as if protruding plumbing is an invitation for messes. Or maybe it’s just a convenient place to toss stuff we have no particular place for or don’t feel like putting away. Maybe both.

In any case, for these storage spots to become the functional spaces they should be, our under-sink cabinets need to undergo an overhaul. And, as is the case with any successful organizational pursuit, the first step is a thorough editing of what truly belongs in that space.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh/Kitchn

You can start by taking everything out of the cabinet and taking inventory of what’s inside. (Give the cabinet a wipe-down while it’s empty!) Look specifically for these 29 things that are better off stored somewhere else, or taken out of your house entirely!

  1. The very, very well-used Magic Erasers.
  2. Vases, especially ones you don’t even like.
  3. Those several jars you stashed down there for pouring bacon grease into.
  4. The old, rusty pruning shears you’re hanging onto even though you have new ones.
  5. The nicely-folded but never-used collection of sponge-y cloths.
  6. Old multi-purpose cleaning sprays you never reach for.
  7. The garbage bags that don’t fit your new trash can.
  8. The dish washing gloves you never wear. You’re not going to suddenly start wearing them.
  9. Electronics. One faucet leak could quickly ruin your handheld vacuum or slow cooker.
  10. The remnant of the DIY dishwasher detergent that never quite got your dishes clean.
  11. Any more than one (or maybe two) extra sponges that you retired from dishwashing.
  12. The vegetable brush with bristles that are almost completely squashed down.
  13. Anything more than one bottle brush per size.
  14. More than two different-sized cleaning brushes.
  15. The scrubbers that you’re worried will scratch your sink and therefore sit unused.
  16. The powdered plant food that’s saturated with moisture and has turned into a useless block.
  17. The extra containers you’ve tossed under the sink because they seem perfect for organizing all that stuff under there, but they’ve actually just become clutter themselves.
  18. Plastic containers you’ve saved that you thought might come in handy—but haven’t used.
  19. Stain-removing supplies. Keep those with your laundry, or even in the dining room so they’re at arm’s reach when you need them.
  20. The same goes for OxiClean and other cleaners you use mostly on the laundry—put them in your laundry room or by your laundromat kit.
  21. The RIT dye you may or may not ever get around to dyeing the curtains with.
  22. Aloe vera gel, which should go with your first aid supplies in the bathroom.
  23. Tools and hardware, or anything else that’s likely to rust in moist conditions.
  24. Pots and pans or cookware of any kind.
  25. Extra sink drain plugs. You have one sink.
  26. Paper bags. One drip would ruin them. Unless you’re reaching for and using them often, they’re better off in the recycling bin.
  27. Refills and overstock. If you have a backup dish soap, it belongs in a more out-of-the way location, where it won’t get in the way of day-to-day kitchen-cleaning chores.
  28. Extra paint, oily rags, or anything flammable.
  29. Toxic chemicals, such as bleach. These belong out of reach of children, even if you don’t have any of your own.