Clean Out Under the Kitchen Sink

We’re going under the kitchen sink to find the clutter that collects where no one’s looking.

Because it has potential to be so bad under there, I try to keep as little as possible stored in that space. In general I like to avoid storing things where there is plumbing. Right now under the sink I keep the dish soap, sponges, and a bowl to collect compost scraps. (The compost is taken outside almost daily; it’s mostly coffee grounds and melon rinds—no meat or dairy).

To clean out the space under the sink:

1. Take out the stuff so that you can see into the back corners and wipe out the dust.

2. Make sure you have a plastic liner to protect the cabinet from spills and leaks.

3. Choose what you will put back in this space. Try to keep it to as little as possible and stuff that you won’t mind if it gets water damage. I don’t keep a lot of cleaning products under there because I have little kids at home, but I’ve also learned that I don’t need so many different types of cleaning products anyway.

When you clean out the hiding places in your home, even when no one else is going to see, it can make you feel confident and ready for the unexpected.

Are you ready to clean? What do you keep under your sink?

clear the clutter

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I agree that this is definitely a place that gets overlooked. We keep all of our cleaning supplies there (no kids), and all of them fit in a single bucket. That way, when I want to clean, I grab the bucket and go. No digging around for sponges and fallen cleaner.
    Jennie´s last post…Our Weekend

  2. A plastic carryall that holds my 3 spray bottles of Shaklee cleaners, cleaning cloths, Bon Ami powder, and various other cleaners.
    Also, the liquid dish soap, garbage can liners, a large plastic tub to hold dirty dishes until I wash them at end of day (I dislike using my dishwasher), and a bowl for sponges, dish scrubbers, and assorted things. Although all well organized, it’s still too much stuff!
    Thanks for the reminder, once again, Rachel, to get back in there and simplify!!!

  3. I keep a lot under there! Dishpan, drainer, dishsoap – plus the extra dishsoap and scrubbies. I keep my dishcloths and teatowels there as well as veggie scrub brush and kitchen cleaners. It’s pretty organized – I should take a picture like you did!
    Margo´s last post…Water Popsicles for the Children

  4. Surprisingly I don’t keep an awful lot under the sink. I used to when we used commercial cleaners. Now, however, all I have under there is a little plastic shower container (from my college days) with my all purpose cleaner, some rags, and my dr. bronners liquid soap. Oh, and several vases. It is probably the only place in my home that stays organized though, and it is such a shame it is behind a child locked door :-)
    Heather´s last post…strawberries

  5. We have a grandchild, so I don’t keep any cleaning supplies there except dish soap because I hate the child safety latches on cabinets. I keep extra paper supplies-napkins & paper towels. I keep dishtowels & dishcloths in a basket. I also keep all of the cleaning rags down there in a bucket. We have had a leak before and there wasn’t any damage to the cabinet since the rags, towels, & paper supplies just soaked up the water.

  6. Ha! Such great timing! Our landlady is fixing our sink this week so we pulled everything out from under our sink, it was a huge mess. I know it will be easy for me just to shove everything back in there when the job is done, but this is a good reminder to actually go through things and organize. We generally shove more under our sink than we’d like because we live in a small apartment and need to use every inch of storage that we have. But I would like to get some storage baskets to at least give everything a place :) Thanks for the post!
    Kristen´s last post…Architectural Artifacts + Candy Chang

  7. Another inspiring photograph! I’m heading right to the kitchen!

  8. I keep our kitchen trash can on one side and various cleaning supplies, dishwasher detergent, extra hand soap, etc. There’s some insect spray in the back, too. It’s kind of crowded and could use some cleaning out. Also, we had a leak a while back that did damage to the cabinet, so it needs some real TLC and paint to get it looking nice again. It would feel good to get it done!
    Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify´s last post…Menu Plan for the Week 6/24 – 6/30

  9. I can’t wait to clean out the area under my kitchen sink. I’ve got way too much stuff under there. I did read in Real SImple magazine something pretty cool I’d love to pass on…. hang a tension rod under your sink and then you can hang your cleaning products by the handle on the rod. It frees up space! I loved this idea and totally did it.

  10. Um, a lot of junk. Like a lot a lot. It’s the one place I can think of that has never been reorganized/cleaned since we moved in.

    I normally just pretend the mess isn’t there – but your pictures make me want to get a little shelf and get organizing!
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Tweet-Style Book Reviews

  11. Impressive restraint! On one side of my sink I keep a locking-lid plastic box with extra sponges, cleaners, etc. in it. On the other, an open, plastic basket with spray cleaner, scouring powder, dishwasher soap, etc. No locks on the cabinetry now, because my kids are young adults, but when grandchildren begin to appear, the locks will go back on.

  12. This is something I really need to do to our tubberware cabinet. Its a bloody mess!

  13. Wow!! Incredible!! I have so many cleaning bottles, containers, brushes, sponges, etc that I need TWO plastic containers to hold them all. I am impressed you pared yours down to so few. Hmmm. I think I will go check to see what is old, dried out… and can be thrown out. Thanks.
    Donna´s last post…Pillowcases: Batch 4 Ready For French Seams

  14. It looks pretty good under my kitchen sink. It used to be a disaster, but I did the same thing you did–cut way back on my cleaning products and voila! Tons of extra space under there!

    My remaining problem is that I’ve never gotten around to putting a plastic liner there. I need to so very badly–thanks for the reminder :)
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s last post…Legos: A Love Story

  15. Oh my goodness – if only my kitchen sink cupboard looked like yours!!!

    The feeling of longing is a good one, it’ll cause me to do something about it. My kitchen sink cupboard is the opposite of yours – it’s got loads in it! Cleaning agents (not too many) washing powder, fabric conditioner, cleaning cloths, clothes pegs, spare rubber gloves, bin liners, refill filters, and more I don’t remember!

    Here’s to a day dream of a clear cupboard :) one day soon it don’t just be a dream! ;) loved this post!x
    Fiona @ Everyday Spiritual Wisdom´s last post…Who looks after you?

  16. Did this not too long ago and the cleaning makes all the difference.

  17. Kara E. says:

    I have quite a bit under there. Loose, I keep a folding step stool, folding dish drying rack (the same as in your picture actually), a fire extinguisher, and spray bottles of hydrogen peroxide and an all-purpose cleaner. I also keep dish scrubbers, rubber gloves, baking soda, trash bags, and dishwasher detergent. I didn’t remove anything, but you did inspire me to take everything out and wipe down the inside. :)

  18. I keep all kinds of stuff under the sink, since we don’t really have a drawer for little things like tin foil, garbage bags, and such. It’s not very organized at all. Your nice clean cupboard makes me want to change that!

  19. I keep an empty dishpan under my sink. All recycling goes into it, and it gets emptied whenever it’s full. This saves me from having to go outside every time I have a piece of paper or can or whatever to recycle.

  20. I have leftover shopping bags (you know, the “nice” ones you use to leave something at someone’s house – but you don’t care if you get them back).

    If there was a leak, yuuuueerk! Things could get gross. They’re off to the present wrapping area. Thanks for the tip!

  21. The space under my sink is taken up with a tin box filled with dish cloths, the dishwasher stuff and the clothes brush. Why the clothes brush lives there, I really don’t know. But that’s where it lives! But everything is washable, so if (when, actually) there were leaks – nothing a quick going over in the washing machine couldn’t fix!

    Cleaning stuff is in the laundry cupboard (I have a cleaner, it’s not often I need to whip it out, so it doesn’t have to be easily accessible)
    Harriet Archer´s last post…Sunday night (doo dit doo dit doo doo)

  22. Wowza, is that your actual under the sink cabinet? It’s so clean and …empty. Mine is a catchall for all of our cleaning supplies, trash bags, extra plastics bags, compost bucket and random stuff like shoe polish. I think it might be time to attack my own cabinet tomorrow and see if I can spiffy it up!
    Candi @ min hus´s last post…YMOYL Book Club: The Crossover Point (Step 8)

  23. Having the cupboard underneath my kitchen sink that empty is one of those things I’ve long since accepted will never happen in our house. Much like having empty counter tops which is simply impossible to keep our kitchen functional. These kinds of suggestions both frustrate and challenge me. Our house was built in 1920 and we’re pretty limited compared to more modern houses I often see.

    That said, the main thing under my kitchen sink is the large number of linens I use for cleaning. Cloth diapers, dish and hand towels, a set of plain white cotton napkins that are great for all kinds tasks. I really and truly need the amount I have (and should probably buy more) so I can’t really go minimalist in this area. However, they’re perfect for underneath the sink because we have leaking problems both with the pressure fitted pipe and the faucet. When they get wet I just throw them in the wash and the water mess is cleaned up. Voila!

  24. I actually just cleaned out under my sink. Got a new trash can and a cabinet door organizer where I can store all my parchment/wax/wraps/foil. No more digging in a basket for those items anymore! Tossed about half of what was down there and cleaned it all out. Feels pretty good :-)

  25. Nice post, you gave me one more task to be added in my tomorrow;s to-do list… :)
    Hetal@Real World´s last post…My latest personal shopping.. Local shoes

  26. Holy moly, Rachel! I am SO impressed by your cabinet there. Mine is, uh, a lot fuller than that.

    I want mine to look like yours.

  27. I so need to do this! I’ll tell you though, I am afraid of what I’ll run into under there. It hasn’t been touched in so long, and the Daddy Long Legs and roaches are prolific here in Hawaii (even in the cleanest home).

    Oh, and I love your cupboads. They’re so cool!

  28. Beautiful Kitchen, by the way!

    Having moved to a new place recently, I love my new under-the-kitchen-sink space!
    Right now there’s a bucket and a box of garbage bags. Give me a few more months and i’ll be reading this article again to help me declutter : )
    Christyn@StrivingforSimple´s last post…Simple Faith

  29. Marnie Byod says:

    Wonderful Kitchen! I would stay long in the kitchen if it looks like this. It is very nice to be in the kitchen if you find the place has a good ambiance.
    Marnie Byod´s last post…

  30. That looks lovely and clean! I am slightly amused by the comments – you people must have very large cabinets under your sinks! Must be the US thing. Mine is only the width of a standard cupboard (about 21″) and here it is usual to have the trash can under the sink, generally with some kind of system that pulls it out when you open the door. This leaves very little other space – just a few cleaning products and the spare liners, really, so at least it doesn’t get cluttered. I keep dish cloths and teatowels in a cupboard and dishwashing tabs in a pretty bucket on a shelf next to the dishwasher, instead. But I think I will go and clean out my cupboard anyway, it probably has a couple of spills and crumbs in there…!!
    MelD´s last post…Kitchen musings

  31. My Under the kitchen sink surely can use clean up right now, although I am usually clean freak person, life, sickness, emergency and relatives sometimes makes cleaning last priority.

    Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last post…Food As Art and Nourishment

  32. Have you been snooping under my kitchen counter?! ;) Seriously, this post is very timely as my mom was just giving me a hard time about all the junk I have under mine. I guess it’s time for a little organization– thanks for the nudge! :)
    Nicole´s last post…Five items that don’t have to hit the trash when you travel this summer

  33. Stephanie says:

    Thanks so much for the inspiration…I just cleaned out under the sink! I’m pretty organized and clutter-free in general but the one area I hadn’t dealt with was under the sink. I moved to a temporary apartment nearly a year ago (it’s temporary for about 2-2.5 years) and had to bring over some old cleaning supplies from my last place, plus the person who lived here last left stuff behind. I just sort of figured, one day I’ll deal with it, or maybe I’ll just leave behind whatever I don’t want like the last person. However, it reminded me that this is my home TODAY, so let’s deal with it today! I don’t buy commercial cleaners anymore – I have a spray bottle and I fill it with a mix of vinegar, water and baking soda. I use this for all my cleaning jobs. I have a few other things like dish soap, powder for the sink etc. but not alot else. It’s a great feeling to now know everything is neat and tidy under the sink even if I’m not always looking at it!

  34. This is something I really need to do, and looking at the photo has really given me insipration and a kick up the backside to get it cleaned out. I can never find what I’m looking for and tend to throw things back in and it’s just always a mess.
    Jill´s last post…Professional Portrait Photography – What are you paying for?

  35. Mr. Moon and I cleaned this area out when we moved in with his aging parents. No babies yet, but we moved all the cleaning supplies aside from dishwasher soap out to the laundry room. Everything else that’s left is towels sorted into three baskets (hands, counters, grubbies); sponges (3, probably enough to last us 2 years for as often as we need a sponge); and some scrub brushes.

    I’m with you, I don’t want stuff under there that will get ruined if there’s a leak. But I hate wasting space, too. So I like it to be full of stuff that’s safe.

  36. “In general I like to avoid storing things where there is plumbing.” AGREED. I need to clean this area out as well…

  37. Meredith says:

    I can’t even concentrate on this post because I just keep staring at your gorgeous kitchen! The backsplash is especially amazing. Great job on the updates!!

  38. oh dear, under my sink is awful…I’m so ashamed!!
    My main problem is the million plastic bags (free ones from shops) I keep there. I feel like it’s wasteful to throw them out. They do get used for bins and what not eventually but quite slowly…
    I’ll have to think of a way to store them better..
    Not accumulating them would be even better, but a bit late for that :D

  39. I really need to get inspired to clear everything out under my sink. It’s mostly cleaning supplies but it has gotten so bad that to find just one thing I have to take a whole bunch of other stuff out! Hmm….which to tackle first….under the sink or the junk drawer??
    Tricia´s last post…How Healthy = Happy, and How to Simply Be YOU (Guest Post)