Organizing Under the Kitchen Sink

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I have no idea how it happened, but this past week was one of those blink-and-it-is-over type of weeks. All of the sudden it was Friday morning and I was hit with the realization that I hadn’t organized one single thing all week. The horror right?

As far as our kitchen goes, the good news is that we have begun installing trim, toe kick and moulding! I am hoping to have a full kitchen update for y’all very soon; we definitely needed to step back and take a small break to troubleshoot a few issues that have come up as we near the end of the renovation. One problem is in regards to a major appliance/kitchen island snafu… We also have some cabinet moulding decisions to make and the Mr. and I are not seeing eye-to-eye. We appreciate you hanging in there as we work through some of those detailed decisions that we just don’t feel comfortable rushing.

This week when I took a look at my giant Home To-Do List, I picked something that I knew I could accomplish quickly, something that would keep me excited about the kitchen, and something that would help us out during our day-to-day routine. I decided to tackle the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

Although our kitchen was far from finished, we needed to reclaim our guest room a few months back. All of our kitchen belongings that were temporarily being stored in the guest room, were brought back out to the kitchen and the boxes were unloaded in a single evening. When we came up with our initial cabinet design, I made sure to assign every last pot, pan, appliance and gadget a home. This made quickly unpacking our items fairly painless, however, nothing more was ever done. Many of the cabinets have since been in a state of chaos and waiting for that special touch, under the kitchen sink included.

Majority of the items under the sink are things we use to clean our entire main level. There were also a few items that were brought up from our cleaning cabinet for a single use and then tossed below the sink instead of being returned to the proper home. Paper bags were acting as our recycling bin, and things were always getting lost in the back of the cabinet. It was time for a little organizing action.

Step one, empty it out!

My initial impulse was to reach for some shelf liner I had on hand…

But the pattern was a little busy and the lack of color left me looking for a different option.

I found some gift wrap (purchased from HomeGoods) and knew it was more more fitting for my love of color happy organizing. I also knew that once things were placed back into the cabinet, that the boldness of the paper would simmer down a bit.

To ensure the gift wrap would be easy-to-clean and hold up to heavy daily traffic, I covered it in clear contact paper. Read more about this process here.

As I was emptying out the cabinet, I jotted down a list of everything that I needed to store, as well as the ideal way to do so. One thing I realized right away is that I wasn’t taking advantage of the cabinet doors. Also, I have been wanting to find a second caddy to corral cleaning items as I have been enjoying keeping house chore supplies on both levels of our home. The entire cabinet needed to be purged down, items needed a specific home, and a few labels would be useful in keeping the entire family on the same page.

I began by addressing the items we utilize daily to clean the counters and wash our dishes; we use a combination of dish cloths, scrubbers and sponges. Because these items become wet during use, they needed to be stored in a location that would allow them to dry, without damaging the interior of the cabinet.

I found an acrylic spice rack at The Container Store, and thought I would give it a try. It ended up being the perfect solution because it is easy to clean and extremely light weight. I was able to use a couple heavy duty clear Command Strips to hang the organizer on the inside of the door, and now our daily tools are always within arm’s reach, yet keep the sink area clutter free (and I can think of 1,589 other places I would love to add these charming little gems).

I also appreciate that the spice rack pairs beautifully with the clear stacking drawers we had used in our previous kitchen setup.

I removed the jumbled mess of cleaning rags from the drawers, and washed/re-folded all of our dish cloths and towels. I also added some vinyl labels to the faces of the drawers to keep things orderly down the road.

On top of the drawers I added our wet-sack to hold our dirty/damp used rags that are waiting for wash day.

HomeGoods came through for me in my quest for a second caddy to corral our daily cleaning supplies.

The caddy is large enough to hold a variety of items; everything from our hand sweeper and dusters to rags and cleaners.

When selecting items to use for storage and organization, the number one requirement was that they had to be easy to keep clean/wipe down. I also tried to select items that would be versatile should our needs for the cabinet ever change (which I really don’t see happening in this case). A simple clear tray holds our extra soaps for the dishwasher, sink and fruits/vegetables.

Our pull-out recycle bin didn’t fit in our new cabinet because the new sink is fantastically larger and deeper. I searched high and low for an alternative pull-out trash option but came up short. It is totally worth it to have the deeper sinks though, so I just stayed with a very basic bin that also received some vinyl labeling love.

I put the other cabinet door to work holding our paper towel roll and dish-washing gloves.

The paper towel holder is extremely light, and was also attached to the cabinet with a Command Strip. I am not ready to screw holes into our new cabinet doors just yet, not even for the sake of organization. And although I didn’t end up storing our food wrap boxes inside the cabinet doors for long, I did want to re-use the dowel and hooks for my dish-washing gloves. I just wrapped the dowel in some vinyl to protect the wood from wetness.

And suddenly I had myself the happiest cabinet in our kitchen!

No organization project is complete without a before and after to celebrate:

And a quick recap of our under-the-kitchen-sink essentials:

Aside from a little product sourcing/shopping, the entire project took about an hour (planning, cleaning, lining, organizing, Command hooking, labeling and admiring). Not bad for one of the busiest cabinets in the entire kitchen.

Now that I am feeling accomplished again, I can get back to fun in the sun with the kiddos. I mean, back to installing trim and moulding…. sigh…

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