Dear Kathi,

I have tried for years to organize the space underneath my kitchen sink. My method works for a few months and then slowly falls apart. Eventually the mess returns and I can’t find anything that I need when I need it. What a mess! There has to be a way to keep this area under control without a complete overhaul twice a year. Help me find my scrubber brush!

Emily, La Costa


Start by removing every item below your sink. Group items like with like and see what you have managed to shove into that space over the past year. Often, when organizing structures falter, it is simply a result of trying to put too many things into too small of a space.

As you look at each grouping of items, decide whether they need to live below your kitchen sink. Do you really need toilet bowl cleaner in the kitchen? Is it better stored nearer to the bathroom?

Whenever we lose order within our storage areas, we often end up with multiple items. Do you have three bags of sponges because you didn’t realize you already had two? Determine how many you need of each item and move the overflow into your surplus storage area.

Typical items to store below the kitchen sink include, sponges, brillo pads, scrubber brushes, dish washing liquid for sink and dishwasher, cleaning liquids (409, oven cleaner etc) , scrubbing powder, bleach. Try to store only kitchen related products in this cabinet.

Consider placing a small shelf within your cabinet area. A small shelf will double the space within this area which is normally cut in two by the sink piping. Place a small plastic basket on or under the shelf to hold extra sponges and scrubber brushes.

Tuck a tall cup into the corner of your cabinet to hang your plastic gloves after each use. If this isn’t an option, consider hanging a small hook on the inside of the cabinet for the same purpose. Position your tall bottles/cans from front to back along one wall in order of frequency of use.

Don’t keep duplicate items in this small space. Instead delegate extras to a different supply holding zone. If you have a spare half bath, this is a great space to hold extra cleaning supplies. If that cabinet can hold a bucket, consider loading it with the cleaning supplies you use when moving from room to room.

Don’t be surprised if your kitchen sink organizing project or any other organizing exercise for that matter, creates another project. Each space within a home affects at least one other space. The good news is when you create order in one space, other areas usually benefit and become more functional!

Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to write with any other specific questions.

Please submit your questions to: [email protected]

San Diego Professional Organizer