Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Before and After: Under the Kitchen Sink

This post is long over-due!  I took these pictures months ago, and have been meaning to put this article together for a loooonnnng time.  I'm guessing this stuff is interesting to you, because after I posted my first "Before and After" article, I had tons of comments and questions via email.  In fact, the post on Marie's pantry has had almost 500 views!  So, without further ado, let's open the cupboard underneath my kitchen sink and take a look:


My goals were simple:
  • utilize all that wasted vertical space
  • be able to reach everything in the deep cabinet without crawling into it 
  • find and use organizational products that fit under, around, and between all that plumbing
  • be able to fit everything that was under there now, plus more!

The current set-up included:
  • boxes of trashbags (two sizes)
  • dishwasher detergent tabs (the round one is almost gone, the square one is the new one), regular dishsoap, and a large refill (way in the back left corner)
  • antibacterial foaming spray
  • JetDry (I don't really need this anymore because the tabs have a drying agent in them)
  • ant spray
  • bee and hornet spray
  • containers for garlic and onions
  • basket of dish brushes and scrubbies (in the yellow basket in the back)
  • a turntable to collect the various bottles of cleaner and dish soap (my feeble attempt at organizing this space in the past)

Most of that stuff needed to stay, plus I wanted to find room for:
  • salad spinner (I use it in the sink all the time, so it just makes sense to store it under there)
  • container/wastebasket/SOMETHING for our pop cans. 

I have this beautiful set-up in a different cabinet:

See that nice wastebasket in the back that's full of recyclables?  Well that used to be where my pop cans went.  But then we decided to start recycling, so my pop can bin moved to the garage.  And it really shouldn't be that big of a deal to walk out the door and throw out the empty cans.  But it just is.  So they sit on the counter for a few days until there are enough of them to make it worth the trip out to the garage.  But no more...they will have a home under the sink!

I also wanted to store more non-refrigerated produce (garlic and onions) under the sink...but separated, somehow, from the cleaners and detergents.

And all of this needs to somehow fit under, over, and around that maze of pipes.

I had some hard-earned garage sale money to spend, so I measured, shopped, and came home with this:
The trashcan is not big, but it's just big enough.  It fits about 12 empty cans, which means that I don't have 12 (or even 3!) empty cans on my counter.  When it's full, it's definitely worth my time to take TWELVE cans out to the garage instead of just three.

The wire shelf came from Target.  It helped utilize that vertical space I referred to.

The mesh drawers came from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  I found them in the bath department, but they work fabulously for deep cabinets in the kitchen.  The large one has a shelf on top of it (more vertical space!) and two compartments, and the medium-sized one has three compartments.  The dividers are also removable if you'd rather not utilize the compartments.
I absolutely LOVE these drawers, and would highly recommend them!  They glide easily, even when loaded down heavily (I tested them with a bag of potatoes), and the rubber feet prevent the entire thing from sliding forward when you open the drawer.  (As another option, they come with metal rings that you can use to screw the drawers into the bottom of the cabinet).  

So, when it was all said and done, this is how I put the products together:

The medium-sized drawer fit perfectly underneath the wire shelf (and under a pipe in the back of the cabinet).  My onions and garlic went into the back compartments of that drawer, and the vegetable scrub brush went in the front compartment (with room to spare if I need to throw another vegetable in there).

The salad spinner fits on its side right next to the wastebasket.  The new pop can bin  barely squeezes in under the lip of the cabinet, but it fits!

The two boxes of trashbags fit nicely in the middle.  We don't use the big black bags much, so they went in the back.  The box of 13 gallon bags is in front.  The left side of the box has to sit under the wire shelf, but the opening of the box is free and clear, so we can grab the trashbags with no problems.

The large mesh drawer juuuussstttt squeaked in underneath the garbage disposal canister.  I can't use one corner of the shelf because of that canister, but I'm still utilizing more vertical space than before.  The drawer contains dish brushes, scrubbies, and rubber gloves.  The Costco-sized box of detergent tabs, the regular dish soap, and my canister of antibacterial cleaner are on the shelf that's part of the drawer...all of which are on the opposite side of the cabinet as those veggies!

The big jug of dish soap refill is still in the back, but that really is the perfect spot for it because we don't need it very often.

The bees on our deck this summer will live an extra 3 minutes while I run to the garage to get the spray. There just wasn't room, and it's not absolutely necessary for those sprays to be in the kitchen anyway.

So, what do you think?  One more time....



There's so much more stuff in that cabinet now, and I can reach it all!  Call me weird, but well-utilized spaces just make me giddy :)  OK, I'll stop now so that you don't get a stomachache from laughing at me!

Have you done any organizing in your kitchen lately?  Do you have any spaces that could be better utilized?  May I come and help?  :)


  1. Great artic le! I LOVE organizing too!

  2. I need those drawers for my bathroom and kitchen - thanks for the tip!

  3. Been wondering where to get some drawers for under the sink! Thanks for the great pictures--it always helps to see what someone else has done.
    Now do you have any suggestions for a good way to store all of those bag chairs in the garage?

    1. We have tried a few different ways to store those chairs. We used to have them hanging from their straps on heavy-duty utility hooks (about 3 chairs per hook). We ditched that idea because it wasn't always convenient if we wanted the chair that we hung up first...all the chairs had to come off the hook before we could get to the chair we wanted. Currently we have them thrown up on a shelf above our sports equipment. This is a lazy way to store them (because we don't have to put them back in their bags every time), but it has worked out pretty well for us. I'll email you some pictures :)

  4. You're weird. But I am, too! =) Great job.

    Have a wonderful trip!