Tips for making the most of the valuable space under your kitchen sink

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While not as chaotic as the kitchen junk drawer, the space under the sink is also known to harbor its fair share of endless clutter. Cabinets and farmhouse-chic apron fronts can undoubtedly please the eye, but a peek under the sink can ruin the illusion.

While a sink caddy and drying rack will keep you organized on top, don’t forget the underside of the deck, which often becomes a dumping ground. In order to make the space more usable, there are some general rules about what should and should not be placed under the sink. Who knew?

Although you may be pressed for space, not all of your kitchen cleaning inventory items should reside under the sink. So which elements should you expel when you begin to organize? And more importantly, what’s the best way to make the most of that valuable space? Keep reading to find out.

What not to store under the kitchen sink

1. Unopened additional supplies

(Budimir Jevtic/

Despite its appeal, hiding unsightly unopened trash bags, large awkward detergent bottles, and mounds of dish pods under the sink should be banned. Although it seems harmless, leaving supplies unopened under the sink can easily make the space cluttered and disorganized, especially if you’re buying in bulk. They are also more susceptible to damage from a leaking pipe or other plumbing accident, which could cost you more in the long run.

Therefore, do yourself and the kitchen a favor and find a more suitable place for those extra supplies. We recommend storing them in a pantry, utility room, under the stairwell, or in an easily accessible hallway closet.

2. Harsh chemicals

It's best to keep harsh chemicals like bleach in a safer place, out of reach of pets and children.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a homeowner without a collection of under-the-sink cleaners. While things like hand soap and a daily cleaning spray are handy to have around, keeping harsher chemicals nearby might not be the best idea.

In reality, chemicals like bleach or drain cleaner are only needed occasionally. Therefore, keeping them under the sink not only creates more clutter, but also poses a risk to pets and children. Otherwise, store harsh chemicals in your garage or basement.

3. Household tools

Various tools must
(Julia Sudnitskaya/

Phillips heads, flatheads and hammerheads, oh my! Although these are handy tools and finding them in a toolbox seems like a hassle, this might be the best place to keep them. Under-sink storage and rust-prone tools just don’t mix, we guarantee that.

Similar to storing extra supplies, it’s not uncommon for leaks to occur under the sink or in a damp location, which can cause expensive tools to rust. If you don’t want to replace them, store them in a designated tool box.

4. Anything flammable

Flammable products should not be stored under the sink and rather in a safer place.

Although it may seem obvious, prevention is better than cure. It is advisable to keep anything flammable out of the kitchen! If you’re storing solvents, thinners, polishes, paints, or cleaners that carry a warning that they can ignite spontaneously, it’s probably best to keep them away from the sink. When the right conditions are right, spontaneous combustion can occur even from oily rags used to polish furniture. What a scary thought!

5. Pet food and treats

Food or treats for dogs and cats should not be stored under the kitchen sink.

Although seemingly harmless, storing Fido’s food under the sink is never a good idea. Often pet owners store pet food and treats under the sink so their pets don’t sneak seconds, thirds, etc. But, the environment under the sink is usually humid and leaky pipes are inevitable at some point, which in turn can cause mold problems with your pet’s food. By storing food in an airtight container away from the sink, you can ensure that your pet’s food is safe.

What to store under the kitchen sink

1. An absorbent mat

An under-sink mat like this option from Drymate is perfect for dealing with the inevitable spills and leaks.

In order to properly prepare the space under your sink, you must lay an absorbent mat before storing products there, like this great option from Drymate. Spills and leaks are virtually unavoidable under the kitchen sink, so having more than a contact paper liner is a must to prevent damage to your cabinets while preventing mold growth.

2. Under the Sink Organization Tools

Under-sink organizers like this 2-tier pull-out basket from PUILUO are great for maximizing space.

We all know sink caddy to organize sponges and dish soap, but there are also handy organization tools for under the sink. For kitchen rags and rubber gloves, simply install hooks on the cabinet door for easy access (we love these heavy duty adhesive hooks which are super easy to install).

For most storage, sliding drawers, like this handy option from PUILUO, are a convenient way to store everyday cleaning supplies. Easily store frequently accessed items in the lower pull-out drawer, while other less-used items can be safely stored on the second tier. A set of side hooks are ideal for hanging towels, gloves and any other tools.

3. Kitchen fire extinguisher

Keeping a kitchen fire extinguisher like this option from FIRST ALERT on hand is essential safety.

A small fire extinguisher should always be available in any kitchen in case of an electrical or grease fire. Having peace of mind is worth the relatively low cost, and storing this handy lifesaving tool under the sink can be great depending on your kitchen layout. You want something nearby that acts quickly, but also something that can be safely retrieved in case the flame gets hotter.

But don’t take just any old fire extinguisher, as different models exist for different flame sources. For the kitchen, having a Class B (for flammable liquids like cooking oils and greases) and Class C (for electrical fires from faulty cooking appliances or wiring) is a must. We love this option from FIRST ALERT which is suitable for Class B and Class C fires and is small enough to easily store in your kitchen.

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