Making the Most of Undersink Storage Space

make the most out of undersink storage

Making the Most of Undersink Storage Space

The undersink storage area can be difficult when it comes to getting the most use out of this kitchen storage space. The obstructions under the sink, like the pipes, garbage disposal and the under side of the sink, give you odd and difficult-to-reach spaces. Further, there’s not much undersink storage space, unless you’ve got a huge kitchen, so it’s important to use every inch.

The undersink space is typically an overlooked storage opportunity because organizing this limited space can be tricky, but not impossible.

Together with your kitchen designer, you can incorporate some of our tips for maximizing the undersink storage area.

Just Assume Things will get Wet

One of the things to keep in mind when thinking about undersink storage is that it can get wet and many of the things stored under a sink are already wet, or at least damp, like sponges and dish towels. So, you have to be practical.

Unless you keep this space dry and clean, it can be detrimental to your and your family’s health. Leaky pipes and household cleaner spills can cause mold, mildew and corrosion in your undersink storage area.

To make regular cleaning quick and easy and to protect the floor of your sink cabinet, cover the bottom of the cabinet with a liner that can be wiped down. It will make cleaning up any leaks or spills simple.

Hafele sells a fantastic undersink polystyrene protector mat with special dimples that collect one gallon (!) of water per six feet. (Shown in photo above and at left.) These mats come in four different colors – black, gray, white and maple – and you can cut them to size to fit under your cabinet. Hopefully, you never experience a leak that would generate a gallon of water, but if you do, this mat could save you much headache. And clean up. Your kitchen designer can order one of these for you, and the cabinet installer can cut it to size.

A different approach to the problem is this undersink mat that has vertical grooves, designed to direct any spills to the front of the cabinet. This way, you can be alerted to a leak if you see any liquid dripping from the front of your cabinet.

WeatherTech also offers an undersink mat. Of course, various forms of the undersink mat are available from Amazon, Wayfair and Target.

Wood-Based Shelves

Any shelves with a wood-melamine base must stay dry so they may not be the best choice for under the sink. Experts report that in most every undersink area they’ve seen in their clients’ homes, a shelf of this type had to be removed eventually due to swelling in the melamine.


There are specialized products available that look like melamine but are made from polymer, a completely waterproof material. If you want a shelf for undersink storage, your kitchen designer can help you find a durable and waterproof solution that’s appropriate for your undersink area.

Wire and Steel Storage

Wire and steel storage products made specifically for undersink storage come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are great for getting the most of the space around the plumbing while keeping things visible and accessible.

They are typically made from three materials:

  1. stainless steel
  2. aluminum
  3. regular steel that has been either chromed coated or plastic coated

Stainless steel and aluminum products are the most durable. Regular chromed or coated steel may rust.

The Right Time to Choose Undersink Storage Solutions

They ideal time to consider undersink storage options is during the design phase of your kitchen remodel. Most cabinet manufacturers offer built-in storage items that can provide the ideal storage solution, so you will want to include them when your complete kitchen order is submitted to the factory. If you make your selections before the kitchen is ordered, you can be sure of getting the best possible products for your undersink storage. They will fit perfectly and will be just what you wanted.

The following is a sample of popular storage solutions you can ask for when designing your kitchen. These are items that will be installed at the cabinet factory when your sink cabinet(s) is being built.

Built-in Undersink Storage Solutions

A U-shaped drawer will fit under your sink, creating storage in the spaces on either side of the drain pipe and garbage disposal that would otherwise be wasted.

Rev-A-Shelf makes a U-shaped undersink pull-out storage organizer with a waterproof shelf. This handy storage container is mounted on drawer guides, so it slides in and out. It even features soft close.

In addition to the version shown in the photo below, it is available in all wire construction that provides more air circulation and better drying for sponges and wet items.

undersink storage towel rack

Did you even know you can hang dish towels under the sink? You can with this side-mounted pull-out towel bar with three prongs. It slides out of the cabinet 12” for easy access

Note: This photo shows you the Hafele undersink protector mat on the cabinet floor.

undersink storage lockable metal bin

If your household includes young children, you may want to ask your kitchen designer for one or more of these lockable storage bins. They will keep inquisitive little hands from exploring those enticing cleaning supplies. This is an attractive solution if you don’t want unattractive child-proof locks on your beautiful new cabinet doors.

Although it’s not ideal to have a trash container taking up precious space under the sink, sometimes it has to happen. The slide-out undersink organizer, shown below, is a combination of segmented storage space with room for a small trash can.

undersink storage wire slide out with trash bin

Cleaning Supplies Caddies

A cleaning supplies caddy, like the one in the photo below, is mounted on guides similar to the ones that control the movement of your drawers, so that it easily glides out from under the sink. You can keep all your cleaning items in this caddy, then lift it out and carry everything with you to where you need to clean. The top tray can be used for paper towels or sponges or microfiber cloths – your cleaning weapon of choice.

Here’s another version of the slide-out cleaning supplies caddy that lifts out so you can carry it with you. This one provides space for cleaning supplies on two sides, plus on top.

The two-tiered wire organizer shown in the photo below is attached to the side of the cabinet. When it’s installed this way, the organizer fits beside the plumbing and garbage disposal. It still slides out for convenient access.

The version of the handy pull-out storage shelf shown in the photo below comes with a portable, lift-off plastic (i.e., washable) basket to carry your cleaning supplies. The metal shelf is waterproof. The entire unit slides out for ultimate convenience.

Many more built-in undersink storage solutions are available. Your kitchen designer will help you make informed choices for your new kitchen and get you the storage you need for how you use your kitchen.

Install a Light

Ask your designer to include a motion sensor light in your undersink area. Having one brightens up the space and lets you more easily see what you are storing or retrieving.

Things that Belong Under the Kitchen Sink

  • Kitchen cleaners, like all-purpose sprays, glass cleaner, white vinegar, Bar Keepers Friend, granite cleaner, stainless steel sprays
  • Dish detergents, soaps, dishwasher tabs
  • Sponges and scrubbers
  • Dishwashing gloves
  • Small fire extinguisher in the unlikely even of a grease fire <<LINK>>
  • Plastic grocery bags you plan to re-use or recycle
  • That tool for un-jamming your garbage disposal

Things that Should Not Be Stored Under the Kitchen Sink

  • Items that could be damaged due to a leaky faucet
  • Pet food/treats (humidity can cause them to mold)
  • Paint cans, spray paint, paint thinner, varnish, solvents – anything flammable
  • Insecticides
  • Bleach
  • Anything paper, like paper bags and paper towels, that could get damaged in the event of a leak

Conclusion

Having cabinet doors and an enclosed space for undersink storage can be both good and bad. On the good side – you can store cleaning supplies, plastic bags you plan to reuse, and much more, as we’ve outlined in this article.  

However, on the negative side – the space under your sink can quickly become cluttered and filled with things that you no longer use or things that shouldn’t even be there.  

Damp sponges and towels, drips and spills can affect how long things stored under the sink will last. You also need to consider how easily things can be removed if you have plumbing problem or leak.

Together with your kitchen designer, you’ll be able to choose undersink cabinet built-ins that will make the most of this under-used storage space and keep clutter to a minimum.

Sources


KDP exists to offer insight and advice about all things related to kitchen remodeling. Our goal is to connect homeowners with talented, experienced kitchen designers who live and work in their communities. We are a serious resource for anyone preparing to remodel their kitchen so they can make the best possible choices about designers, contractors and products.