Close

5 Tips for Under-the-Sink Organization

Vanity Twig Hutchinson's London Bedroom and Bathroom, Photo by Sarah Maingot

The space under my bathroom sink was a chaotic mess and a source of longstanding guilt for me. But every time I set out to conquer it, I felt overwhelmed and would quit before any progress was made. Finally, to streamline the process, I mapped out five ways to tackle the beast. My method worked—and I can now report, it’s a simple and affordable way to maximize hidden space. Here’s my five-step plan.

Photography by Dalilah Arja, unless otherwise noted.

A place for everything: My newly tamed under-the-sink cabinet has more storage, and I can put my finger on whatever I’m looking for.
Above: A place for everything: My newly tamed under-the-sink cabinet has more storage, and I can put my finger on whatever I’m looking for.

1. Pare down.

Every organization project begins with clutter removal: Part with the stuff you don’t use anymore and products that have expired. I was amazed to discover that after doing some editing, the number of things I had to organize was actually quite manageable.

2. Eliminate packaging.

Remove cotton balls, toilet paper, Q-tips, etc., from their plastic and cardboard and give them dedicated jars and baskets.

My cotton balls are compactly stowed in a Le Parfait Glass Terrine Wide Mouth Canning Jar; $17.99 on Amazon for two. See 7 Favorites: Classic Canning Jars for more options.
Above: My cotton balls are compactly stowed in a Le Parfait Glass Terrine Wide Mouth Canning Jar; $17.99 on Amazon for two. See 7 Favorites: Classic Canning Jars for more options.

3. Utilize the vertical space.

Invest in a shelf or pair of stackable bins to maximize the airspace in your cabinet. And install hooks on an inside door or wall to hang things, such as a blow dryer and washcloth. Searching for the perfect hook? Peruse the Hooks in our Shop section.

Since I’m a renter, I’m hesitant to install permanent shelving. A good temporary solution is a freestanding design, such as this wire stacking shelf; try the Container Store’s Tall Chrome Cupboard Shelf for a similar product; $14.99.
Above: Since I’m a renter, I’m hesitant to install permanent shelving. A good temporary solution is a freestanding design, such as this wire stacking shelf; try the Container Store’s Tall Chrome Cupboard Shelf for a similar product; $14.99.

4. Bring back the lazy Susan.

We’re not big fans of 1970s-style rotating circles on dinner tables, but for cabinets, they’re invaluable. They make it possible to access items that would otherwise be stuck in the far back.

In my search for a Lazy Susan, I discovered that the majority are made of either wood or plastic. I wanted to keep plastic to a minimum in my bath, and I worried that wood would be impractical (think leaking pipes), so I turned to Etsy and found some good alternatives. I have my eye on this handmade Large Concrete Lazy Susan; $90 from The Makerage.
Above: In my search for a Lazy Susan, I discovered that the majority are made of either wood or plastic. I wanted to keep plastic to a minimum in my bath, and I worried that wood would be impractical (think leaking pipes), so I turned to Etsy and found some good alternatives. I have my eye on this handmade Large Concrete Lazy Susan; $90 from The Makerage.

5. Consider hierarchy.

Organize under-the-sink products by how often you use them: Place high traffic items near the front within arm’s reach and less frequently needed goods in the back.

Products that I reach for daily are corralled at the front of a linen storage box. Muji carries a range of linen Soft Boxes, priced between $12 and $20.
Above: Products that I reach for daily are corralled at the front of a linen storage box. Muji carries a range of linen Soft Boxes, priced between $12 and $20.

Before

A look at my sink cabinet before editing and organizing it.
Above: A look at my sink cabinet before editing and organizing it.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original ran on October 8, 2014.

Featured photograph by Sarah Maingot, courtesy of Twig Hutchinson, from Expert Advice: Tips for a Softly Moody Bedroom with London Stylist Twig Hutchinson.

Need more bath storage products? Look no further:

No more results!

Haven't found what you are looking for? Try seaching!