UNDER THE SINK ORGANIZATION IDEAS

Cleaning under the kitchen sink usually isn't a priority, but you have to do it sometime. When you do get ready to clean under there, you may realize how much is actually lost in the back, buried by everything else that you end up stashing away. Cleaners, rags, grocery bags, garbage bags, soap, insecticides and more can pile up under the sink in that dark cabinet. Reclaim this useful storage space and arrange it in a way that is usable and easy to manage.

1) When you pull everything out, you may want to wear gloves. Sometimes the sink, dishwasher, or garbage disposal may have leaked back there, causing mold, mildew and slime to form. Chemicals may have spilled and pest control products may have leaked. You don't want to touch something that you normally wouldn't.

2) If you do pull out something with chemicals or pesticides that has leaked or spilled, check the package to see the best way to clean it up. Cleaning chemicals can react to each other causing harmful fumes or gasses. Be careful what you mix and remember that safety comes first.

3) I like to pull everything out and give the cabinets a good conditioning treatment while the space is empty. Then, cover the bottom of the cabinet with shelf paper or some other waterproof liner. I love the new thick plastic liners on the market. They do not stick to the wood or cabinet finish, and they have grips that keep things from turning over so easily.

4) Separate your cleaners and supplies into categories that you can organize them by. I keep my dishwashing liquid and detergent on the right, near the dishwasher. I bought a pack of those wire baskets that are supposed to screw into the cabinet door, but I installed them inside the cabinet instead. I ended up installing 3 of them without drilling holes in my cabinet doors. The shallow one holds extra dish sponges and replacement bottles of hand soap for the kitchen sink. The medium depth one holds cleaners that I don't use very often, such as cabinet polish, stainless steel cleaner, cook top cleaner, marble conditioner, garbage disposal cleaner, and grout cleaner. The third, deepest one is an easy place to cram dish rags without even folding them.

5) The last step is to use the space in the back and top of the cabinet, two spaces that are often misused. I used inexpensive, wire locker shelving to give this deep abyss of a space some more surface area. The shelf holds spray cleaners and other things that I need to grab quickly. Some people like to install a hanging bar at the top of the cabinet and hang their spray cleaners by the trigger. I feel like it obstructs my view of the back, so I skipped this step. In the very back, I store large things, like bleach and indoor/outdoor bug killer. In the front are only things that I use a lot, like trash bags, detergents and dish soap.

About the Author: Jo Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online retailer of garment hangers.