How to Maximize Your Kitchen’s Undersink Space
Turn this typically awkward area into a go-to storage spot for cleaning supplies and other important items.
While it’s true that your kitchen’s undersink space can be a tricky one to organize for efficient storage, it can be done. Here are a few ideas that apply to both new and existing spaces.
A Few Things to Think About
Be sure to consider the practicality of any storage solution before moving forward with it. Since a large portion of what is stored beneath a sink will be exposed to moisture, it’s important to weigh how that will affect the longevity of your chosen system. Another factor to take into account is how easily things can be removed if there is a plumbing emergency.
A storage system (think drawers and shelves) that is wood-melamine based must stay dry. Not an easy feat in an undersink space. One way to make these types of products work is to seal the edges as best you can. Designating the area for dry items only is also a good idea. Otherwise, you’re going to be removing the shelves and drawers due to swelling. Since wood-based drawers can be expensive, it’s wise to take steps to avoid replacement costs.
Tip: Specialized products that look like melamine but are made with completely waterproof materials are on the market. If you need a durable and waterproof solution, consider doing some research or consulting with a cabinetmaking professional.
Plastic and Waterproof Materials
Easy and cost-effective, plastic products make a great storage solution for undersink areas. You can further enhance their effectiveness by grouping all your wet items together. This will reduce any drips or spills into the cabinet corners that cause board swelling. Also consider lining undersink shelves with a protective plastic film — one with a slight lip in the corners, if possible. This provides your cabinetry with an extra layer of defense from leaks and moisture. Plastic racks and trays also make great additions.
Wire and Steel Storage
Available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, wire and steel storage products also work well for making the most of the space surrounding the plumbing — keeping important items in view and easily accessible. These products are typically made from three materials: aluminum, stainless steel, and chromed or plastic-coated steel. Aluminum and stainless steel products are the most durable, which matters quite a bit when storing corrosive items like cleaning solutions. Chromed and coated steel storage products tend to rust, so don’t last as long.
Tip: Before you purchase, always look into a product’s warranty. This is a good indicator of whether it’s suitable for wet or damp areas.
Custom drawers that are U-shaped to match the plumbing setup under the sink can be made to utilize otherwise wasted space. They are great for air circulation, which helps dry sponges and other wet items. While flexibility may not be as good with this option, most pieces can be made to fit with a little bit of creative arranging. Just remember that a wood-based drawer should have the edges sealed or be kept as dry as possible to avoid water damage.
Another specialty option is making use of that overlooked narrow strip in front of the sink. This spot can easily be converted into a tilt drawer for holding small items that are frequently used.
Since most undersink areas are blocked by plumbing pipes, installing sliding storage on the bottom of the cabinet is a smart way to gain access to otherwise hard-to-reach spots. This solution is particularly useful if there is a shelf in the center of the area, as sliding bins are available in a range of depths.
A basic drawer positioned at the bottom of the undersink cabinet is handy for holding infrequently used items. Keep in mind that the drawer will be located in a spot where people tend to stand a lot, however, so weigh whether it’s a practical solution for your particular situation.
A steel rod stretched across the top of your undersink cabinet is another easy, space-efficient solution. It can hold towels, cloths, or be used to hang-dry cleaning rags.
Using the inside of cabinet doors to mount racks or towel rails is an easy, inexpensive and efficient storage solution. It makes an ideal spot for daily necessities, as well as damp cloths and sponges, since they are able to dry out faster there.