Operation {Re}Organization: The Under Sink Cabinet

I finally got my hands on another organization project in our kitchen last night: the under sink cabinet. It had been taunting me since I finished organizing the other lower cabinets and drawers in our kitchen back in July. (If you missed those posts, they're here, here and here.) Now, dear friends, this isn't going to be one of those amazing before and after makeovers. This one was about making that awkward space functional. I like to call it "real life organizing." Make it functional and move on. Pinterest can get over it ;).

Alrighty, let's do this thang.

This cabinet isn't an ordinary under sink cabinet. It's a corner cabinet (my least favorite!). We have the lovely privilege of having a corner sink, which means we have a really giant corner cabinet with no shelving underneath to accommodate for the plumbing. (Note to self: never install a corner sink. I hate leaning into a corner or standing at an awkward angle to use it.)

Here's what it looks like with the doors shut. You can see the sink faucet peeking out at the top.

And here's how the interior contents were looking yesterday before I went at:

Yikes. As you can see, we keep a variety of items in here including a couple of larger kitchen appliances that don't fit anywhere else (the only advantage of having such a giant cabinet with no shelving), maintenance items and cleaning supplies. I keep cleaning supplies in that (currently overflowing) orange, polka dotted tote.

For your viewing pleasure, here's another view of the right side of the cabinet. Hello randomly piled up trash bags, dishwasher detergent and extra paper bags. Are you enjoying your balancing acts?

This clearly wasn't working well, so I came up with a few goals for how I'd like it to look and function:

  • Divide the cabinet into two zones: appliances and cleaning/maintenance/extra supplies
  • Keep daily use items accessible in the front right side of the cabinet
  • Reorganize and simplify my cleaning tote
  • Relocate dish towels from an upper cabinet shelf to this cabinet

The tricky part about organizing this cabinet is that all the plumbing associated with the sink and neighboring dishwasher is smack in the middle of it. This made it a little challenging to utilize the space well, but I just pretended it was a divider for my new "zones" and went with it.

After pulling all the items out, I went ahead and put all the appliances on the left side ("zone 1"). That included our food processor, extra large pot, Kitchen Aid mixer and griddle.

My next task was reorganizing the cleaning tote.

I cleaned it out, threw away some unnecessary packaging and kept only the necessities in it. That included small towels, microfiber cloths, all purpose cleaning spray, Bar Keeper's friend (love that stuff), a bristly scrub brush and an old toothbrush. A few items, such as toilet bowl cleaner, were relocated. I like to keep all my bathroom cleaning supplies in the bathroom so I'll be more likely to clean more :). I also grabbed a couple of tupperware containers to corral items such as dishwasher detergent packets, Swiffer dusting cloths and extra sponges.

Oh, and I discovered that I have enough microfiber cloths to start a small cleaning business. I certainly won't need to go buy any more of those anytime soon.

Once these mini-organizing tasks were done, I placed them in their new homes in the right side of the cabinet ("zone 2"). The end result looked like this:

Now the very back (the least accessible area) holds extra cleaning supplies and sponges. The middle area holds the cleaning tote. The front has a variety of items that I use every day and want to be super accessible: extra dish towels (stored in that old enamel bucket), dish soap, dishwasher detergent packets and trash bags.

Like I said at the beginning, I wasn't going for a magazine-worthy makeover, I was going for functional. And functional it is. I am SO happy with it now. In the future, I think I'd like to add some kind of removable shelving on the right side so I can use some of that vertical space more efficiently, but this is great for now.

Let's look at it before and after:

Ah, so much cleaner and simplified. All it took was about a half-hour of my time and a little bit of thinking. No money spent here! That's the best - am-I-right?

Have you done and "real life" organizing recently? Please share!


This post is a part of the series "Operation {Re}Organization." To see other posts in the series, click the tab at the top of the page.

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