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Have you looked into the cabinet under your kitchen sink recently? If you’re like most people, it’s probably a place you avoid looking at because you’ve crammed it with so many random items and extra ‘stuff’ that you can’t seem to keep it clean and organized.
Kitchen towels, dishwashing supplies, old sponges, cleaning supplies, recycled paper bags—the list of things that most people consider to be eligible for under-kitchen-sink storage is enormous. And a recipe for clutter.
The cabinet under your kitchen sink is a good place to start purging and organizing as a part of an overall kitchen organization project or as a standalone task. It can be a toughie though, as it’s often one of the most easily cluttered spaces, thanks to the maze of pipes that also have to live there. A good rule of thumb? Reserve this space for cleaning items that relate to the kitchen only. That means supplies you use for other parts of your home—from toilet cleaner to feather dusters—need to be moved out.
Start by pulling out everything you have in your kitchen sink cabinet, so you can take inventory. If there are any spills, wipe them away—then consider the following tips from on what to put back and what to find a new home for.
What not to store under your kitchen sink
Your entire Costco haul doesn’t belong here. Unopened boxes of trash bags, dishwasher tabs, dish soap, and any extra, unused items should go in a closet or another storage area as to not jumble up this hard-working space. Just keep what you will need for immediate day-to-day use, and only one of each item!
You may have an occasional need for a powerful cleaner, such as bleach, around the house, but these chemicals should be stored securely in the garage or basement, out of reach from small children and away from other everyday items.
This includes common products such as solvents, thinners, polishes, paints, and some cleaners, as they can randomly burst into flames in the right conditions (yikes!). The most notorious cause of spontaneous combustion is oily rags after being used to apply furniture polish or varnishes, particularly those that contain linseed or flaxseed oil. The bottom line: These don’t belong in your kitchen.
Kitchen towels and paper bags
While convenient, these items don’t belong under the sink, especially as a leak would ruin them and make a terrible mess. Stash them in a nearby closet or another cabinet instead for easy access.
What to store under your kitchen sink
While these might not count as items needing storage, per se, the tools you probably already use for kitchen organization are essential for keeping your under-sink cabinet in tip-top shape. You can use things like pullout trays, tension rods (to hang spray bottles), and even S-hooks or baskets as inexpensive organizing solutions.
If you want to keep things even simpler, get a few plastic containers or tubs to hold your supplies together. With containers, you can take out the unit as a whole and easily clean underneath,” she says. Be sure to run the containers through the dishwasher a few times a year. Using clear containers also allows you to easily see what items are nearly used up, so you can stock up before you run out.
An absorbent mat
Before you put any products back under the cabinet, consider laying down a mat across the bottom that can hold a bit of water in event of a leak. This protects the cabinetry and prevents the formation of mold due to leaks into the cavity from under and behind the sink.
There are a few essentials that you should always have on hand. These include distilled or cleaning vinegar, dish soap (in addition to washing pots and pans, you can also use it directly on cabinets to remove built-up grease), and a good multipurpose cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend, which while ‘old-fashioned’ is still one of the most effective such cleaners out there.
Under the kitchen sink is obviously also a convenient place to store sponges, cleaning brushes, and scrubbers. Just be sure to replace them often, as they’re one of the germiest things in your kitchen.
A small fire extinguisher
This one is a safety precaution in the event of a grease fire that you (hopefully) never have to use. While it’s rare to need it, it’s better to have it close at hand—and make sure it’s up to date. Be sure you keep track of how long fire extinguishers last, because they DO NOT last forever. The date should be right on the side.
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