...because home doesn't happen overnight.

everything under the sink 1

Do you know what I like *almost* as much as peeking in homes? Peeking in closets and cabinets. Show me an organized closet and I melt. I’ve always been this way. I like things tidy. My mom tells stories about me removing all the clothes from my dresser drawers, refolding them and putting everything back. For fun. As a kindergartener. #notnormal

I still like tidy but I’ve learned to let go over the years. (You kinda have to when kids are involved.) One area that got away from me was the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I remember the day we moved in thinking it could greatly benefit from some sort of organization. But I didn’t make it a priority and just threw stuff down there for nearly THREE YEARS.

everything under the sink 2

The cabinet itself is fairly large but a garbage disposal sits directly in the center, dividing the cabinet in half. And the vertical space wasn’t being optimized at all. I figured now was as good a time as any to get my kitchen s#!t in order.

everything under the sink 3

I cleared out the cabinet and installed this undersink organizational caddy to the right of the disposal.

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I attached a bag holder to one door. (I use reusable shopping bags but plastic bags still manage to make their way into our home sometimes.) It came with adhesive strips so I didn’t have to screw into the cabinet door. I stacked a trio of wire shelves to the left of the disposal to take advantage of the vertical space.

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The wire shelves corral (from top to bottom) hand soap refill, room freshener, dish sponges, Magic Erasers and kitchen trash bags. I find it helpful to remove most things from their packaging. I slid a few paper bags in alongside the shelves. Replacements filters for our in-fridge water dispenser are hidden behind the shelves. A handheld vacuum fits perfectly under the disposal. Various cleaning supplies and a spare roll of paper towels occupy the caddy.

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The caddy slides out on a track for easy access. I keep a large jug of vinegar behind it. I use the vinegar as an inexpensive rinsing agent in the dishwasher…among other things.

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The caddy lifts up and out of the cabinet so you can carry it around from room to room on cleaning days if you want. Our house is so small that I probably won’t use it that way but it’s a nice feature.

everything under the sink gif

Peep show! And just like that, everything has a place. My only wish is that I’d have done it sooner.

Do you have any tips for undersink organization? What are you organizing these days? I don’t know if it’s the new year or cabin fever, but I’ve been on an organizing binge these last few weeks.

P.S. – Snoop inside my closets here, here, here, here, here and here.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

59 Comments

19.January.2015

Snoopers unite. :) That caddy is pretty amazing. And I’ve always wanted a handheld vacuum, but anytime I start looking at reviews online I get overloaded and give up. :)

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replied on January 20th, 2015

that’s a eureka! and i have the exact same one. best handheld vac. very powerful and i’ve had it for almost 6 years and still works like new. http://www.amazon.com/Eureka-EasyClean-Corded-Hand-Held-71B/dp/B0006HUYGM/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1421780796&sr=8-6&keywords=hoover+handheld+vacuum

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replied on January 20th, 2015

Thanks so much, Jen! You are right – Its reviews are stellar! I added it to my wish list!

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19.January.2015

Love that contraption and your blog! Also love that you are a fellow pharmacist so you TOTALLY understand the chaos that is this time of year! Rough day but it was nice to forget about it and read you post ! :)

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replied on January 20th, 2015

Ugh. December, January and back to school are the worst in the pharmacy, aren’t they?

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20.January.2015

My mom still loves telling anyone who will listen how she never had to ask me to clean my room, it was always organized and tidy. I’m 30.

I bring you my closet porn (well, not very well lit or photographed, but still): http://www.formosaspain.com/2015/01/organized-walk-in-closet-with-elfa.html

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replied on January 20th, 2015

LOVE.

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20.January.2015

That wire stacker is genius!

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20.January.2015

I love good organization. When I was little I would go over to the neighbors to play and clean up the whole basement play room before leaving. Every Single Time.

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20.January.2015

I have also been on a cleaning/organizing spree! We are in Michigan and my Littles are calling it Spring fever! I hope Mother Nature hears my cries! I LOVE the storage basket! The roll iut feature is a must! Where do you keep your garbage can?

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replied on January 20th, 2015

It’s in a pull-out cabinet next to the fridge along with the recycling. I should share a picture!

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20.January.2015

I hadn’t noticed until now that your cabinet boxes are white. Does Ikea make black cabinets that match the doors?

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replied on January 20th, 2015

No, they don’t. The white frames show through in some small spots. It really bothered me at first but then all our guests said they never noticed so I kinda let it go. Darker frames sure would be a nice option for the black-brown drawer fronts and doors but the new line is being released soon and I haven’t seen what door, drawer and frame options will be available.

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replied on January 21st, 2015

Just heard that the new SEKTION line of cabinetry at Ikea WILL offer a dark brown cabinet box option to be used with darker doors and drawer fronts! I’m so jealous!! Glad they finally figured it out though.

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20.January.2015

Over the holidays I was hobbled with an injured foot and mostly stuck at home. But when I could finally start making small trips, I beelined it for the hardware store so I could get shelf inserts and spice racks to reorganize and clean my kitchen cabinets. Hello melamine shelves cut to size from Home Depot and verticle pan holders! My mother was so over the top tidy when I was a kid that I rebelled but now I love being organized!

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20.January.2015

Nice butt ;)
And nice cabinet organization! I need to do this, we don’t keep our cleaning stuff under the sink because we have two littles but the dog food is there and the dishwasher liquid and all that. I might do this today! Thanks!

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replied on January 20th, 2015

Nice comment ;)

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20.January.2015

I just cleaned under my sink last night! I have a box for handles and a few planters, but I also have a large jug of vinegar I use as a rinsing agent too! Great minds…. I may have to steal the stacking wire shelves as a way to hold my erasers, micro rags, and the candles. That way they are all in reach. Thanks for the fun idea!

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20.January.2015

I do my best proof reading after I’ve hit send….I have a box of CANDLES, not handles. Because that would be weird.

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replied on January 20th, 2015

Haha! You’re too funny.

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20.January.2015

Is your faucet IKEA? Love the look, but I have read lots of negative reviews for IKEA’s. Would you recommend?

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replied on January 20th, 2015

The faucet is Vigo. There’s a link to it in the source list at the end of the kitchen tour…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/07/10/the-kitchen/

My only complaint is that the pull-out doesn’t have a spray option. I’m used to it now but I was bummed at first because I didn’t read the fine print when I ordered it. Just something to keep in mind.

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20.January.2015

I second the “where do you keep your trash can?” question. Mine is a two trash can caddy one for trash and the other for recycle and it’s under the sink. We don’t have a garbage disposal, they are just something else to fail and take up valuable real estate under there. My tip is only put in what you need. Hey does that mean you put vinegar instead of the rinse aide? And is it full strength?

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replied on January 20th, 2015

The trash can / recycling is in a pull-out next to the fridge but easily reached from the sink. I’ll have to share a pic! Good tip about the disposal. We don’t use it as a trash can like some people I know. And, yes, I use distilled white vinegar instead of rinse aid (i.e., Jet Dry) right in the rinse aid dispenser. I don’t dilute it. It works great (no streaks!) and it’s cheap!

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20.January.2015

I’m on an tidying binge too! Just read “the life-change magic of tidying up” which is fascinating and motivating. I think you would enjoy it as a quick read :)

Since it’s cold and flu season, and I have a little one, the tidying seems to be a good stress reliever for me.

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replied on January 20th, 2015

I just started reading that book!

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replied on January 21st, 2015

Would love to hear your thoughts on it when you finish reading! :)

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20.January.2015

I love fresh starts in the new year. Where can i find the stacking wire shelves?

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replied on January 20th, 2015

I found them at Lowe’s!

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20.January.2015

LOVE this!! We have the same cabinets as you and our under the sink is a disaster of epic proportions, complete with stuff from the reno over a year ago. YIKES. I love the bag holder and caddy idea. You’ve motivated me to get that ish cleaned out.

Also, are you still doing your ikea kitchen series? I’d love to submit ours.

Thanks, Allie

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replied on January 20th, 2015

Yes, please submit it to me at housetweaking (at) gmail (dot) com.

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20.January.2015

I JUST organized my under kitchen sink cabinet this weekend!! Where are your olive oil cruets from?

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replied on January 20th, 2015

The oil and vinegar dispensers are from here and here. They are the best! No drips, super easy to pour and refill.

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20.January.2015

Yes! I told my husband that I had no resolutions this year, but that all I could think of was getting more ORGANIZED in 2015!! I love it when everything has its place – but things have gotten a little out of control over here. Time for some serious purging, as well.: )
We are on our way with a new craft room (aka my office:) and linen closet that we created by stealing space from our master closet!! Can’t believe I was able to talk my husband into it, but we did it and are loving it so far!!

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20.January.2015

ooooh, this looks great! I was just thinking about reorganizing under my bathroom sink. I’ve used magazine holders on the doors to corral things like random toiletries or seran wrap and foil (kitchen), but thats the extent of my organization.

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20.January.2015

My favorite part of visiting friends in New York City is sneaking peeks at their creative and aesthetically pleasing storage solutions all around their homes. Shoes and bathrooms seem to be my favorite :) It’s like our grown-up version of dorm rooms; trying to cram all of your belongings under a bed lifted on cinder blocks!

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20.January.2015

The great purge of 2015 is in full affect here. I reorganized kitchen cabinets, pantry, the boys closets…it just continues in each room. I also pulled most of the art off the walls and all the knick knacks off surfaces. The less is more everywhere is refreshing and makes the house feel new…and much cleaner. I want to live with it awhile as is and really give myself the opportunity to fill it what what I love instead of just filling the space.

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I absolutely adore the idea of a caddy. I’m totally going to try to convince my husband to get one!

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20.January.2015

I love the removable caddy. Where can I find one like it. I bought a plastic dishpan to put things in under my sink, but this would be far better!

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replied on January 20th, 2015

I linked to it within the post! You can find it on Amazon or at Lowe’s.

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20.January.2015

I am in love with that under the sink organizer! I love how it slides out and can be carried around! My hubby and I have been going through all of our cabinets purging things that we no longer need and getting things organized!! I always found that no matter how clean the room was, when the cabinets weren’t clean then it didn’t feel complete!! Awesome post!

Em C

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20.January.2015

Your under sink cabinet has more room than mine, which lack the depth and width. I love the caddy! I need to find some way to make it more user friendly for me as you did.

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20.January.2015

Love the organization ideas! But even more so, love your shirt! Mind me asking where it’s from? :)

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replied on January 20th, 2015

It’s Ralph Lauren from Marshall’s last year!

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20.January.2015

yup, totally an organizer from a young age. My sister is fairly organized but apparently got the snoop gene even more than me. When she visited our house for the first time we were relaxing in the family room and unprompted she started opening every cabinet and closet in the kitchen to take a look! Guess that’s what city living does to you, wonder what suburban folk do with all the extra space!

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20.January.2015

I like the simplicity if the wire dish rack but if that is where does the dripping water go? Is there a base for it?

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replied on January 21st, 2015

Erika, we use a simple wire dish rack too. I just put a dish towel down underneath it to catch drips and then swap it out for a clean one once a week or so. It’s so much better than a big plastic tray that gets all scummy.

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replied on January 21st, 2015

No base. For me, it’s easier to just wipe down the counter (directly into the undermount sink) when I put dry dishes away. I seal the granite countertops regularly so there aren’t any stains or water marks.

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21.January.2015

Totally dig the organization caddy, but may I just say…damn woman, you look good in those jeans! Btw, I followed your recommendations on the Levi’s you posted about a while back, and I likey-likey. Based on your description, we seem to have the same body type. :)

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replied on January 21st, 2015

Oh good, I’m glad you like them! I wear them almost every day.

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replied on January 30th, 2015

Ditto on those jeans! I love mine. Best recommendation ever. Many thanks!

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replied on February 1st, 2015

So glad you like them! I’m on the hunt for a black pair now that I know I love the fit.

21.January.2015

I have the exact bottle of vinegar in the back corner of my under-the-sink cabinet. I use it for the dishwasher (though I’ve recently been told not to as it’s hard on the innards of the dishwasher – haven’t listened yet ;) and I make a spray with left-over citrus peels. I keep a big jar of vinegar in the refrigerator and add citrus peels as I use them. I then strain, dilute, and use in a spray bottle for counters. If you add some essential oil it covers up the vinegary smell.

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replied on January 21st, 2015

I keep a spray bottle of vinegar + water in the caddy. I use it to clean EVERYTHING. I never thought of adding essential oils but I’m going to try it! Thanks for the tip.

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22.January.2015

I’m in the midst of “The Great Purge of 2015”. I seem to do this about every 6 months or so. I take a car load or two to the Goodwill. I think this time around I will actually have empty drawers in the bedroom and living room. I’m also trying to eat healthier so a bag of not good for me food got donated to the local food pantry. I’m working on under the kitchen sink and my stash of cleaning supplies in the hall closet tomorrow!

I just read Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD. Although I don’t have ADHD the book was recommended to me. I found quite a few suggestions that I’m implementing. The biggest game changer for me is to be efficient in my organizing. It should require the fewest steps to maintain and actually finish tasks. I so love complicated, color coordinated systems that are nearly impossible to maintain! So now no stacking things. They can next to each other but nothing on top. Also remove lids from storage boxes. I’ve lost count the number of times something gets placed on top of where it goes instead of me opening the lid and putting it inside! And put the laundry hamper outside the closet not inside. My clothes now actually make it into the hamper instead of on the floor right outside the closet! It also gives me permission to not fold my underwear. I feel like such a rebel.:) It’s a good book. Quick and easy read.

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replied on January 23rd, 2015

Thanks for the book recommendation! I agree, the simpler the system the more likely I am to use it and keep it that way.

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22.January.2015

Where is your little dish scrubber brush from? It’s so cute!

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replied on January 23rd, 2015

The Honest Co.!

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22.January.2015

Swoon! Great timing once again — I have a corner sink which has a relatively large amount of storage space but it is sooo messy and underutilized because I can’t reach the far corners. This was the kick in the pants I needed to do something about it. Thanks!

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