Inside: Does the cabinet under your kitchen sink feel chaotic, cluttered and out of control? Ruthlessly declutter and organize the cabinet under your kitchen sink in three simple steps – plus, see what I keep under my kitchen sink as a minimalist.

The cabinet under my kitchen sink used to be a deep dark scary place.

(Real talk: sometimes smelly, too.)

That cabinet contained…

  • Rarely used cleaning products I had to bypass to get to what I actually used daily
  • Plastic grocery bags spilling out of their designated container
  • Used dish cloths that needed to be washed stinking up the place
  • God knows what else at the very, very back.

When we bought our current home, I vowed to get the entire “under the kitchen sink” area under control. Especially since the cabinet bottom had definitely seen better days. 

But I kept putting it off. 

That is, until I realized that the kitchen sink occasionally leaked from the edges, especially when kids did the dishes. That meant anything stored underneath it occasionally got wet – YUCK.

(Should we caulk it? Yes. Have we done that yet? No. The house to-do list is long, and we’ve got a lot of kids, ok?)

The random drips, plus a very bad encounter with a defective kitchen faucet, finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed to ruthlessly declutter the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

A year later, I’m so glad I did!

minimalist's cabinet under the kitchen sink with door open to show contents.

3 Simple Steps to Declutter the Cabinet Under the Kitchen Sink – and Organize What Remains

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It feels SO good to have a decluttered under-the-sink kitchen cabinet.

Now nothing gets lost, and I know exactly what I have. And it’s extremely easy to remove what’s there if, God forbid, we have another plumbing issue.

Here’s the step-by-step process I used to tame the chaos under my kitchen sink. 

You Might Also Like: 5 Easy Steps to Create a Minimalist Kitchen Pantry (No Decanting Required)

1. Declutter and streamline your cleaning products.

The biggest clutter culprit for under the kitchen sink cabinets is too many cleaning supplies.

Thank you capitalism for convincing us we need a different cleaner for our sinks and our ovens and our windows, etc. etc.

The fastest way to clear out your under-the-kitchen-sink cabinet is to reduce your cleaning supplies down to one or two.

While you can use kitchen staples like vinegar, baking soda and lemon to clean just about anything, I personally cannot stand the smell of vinegar.

Instead, I swapped out most of our cleaning products (besides dish soap) for just a few, primarily Young Living Thieves cleaning concentrate. 

One bottle makes 40-64 16 ounce spray bottles worth of cleaner. The range is so broad because I use two capfuls per 16 ounces of water for bathroom cleaner and just one capful for the kitchen and windows.

You can even use a capful straight up to soak stubborn stovetop stains or tub stains.

Of course, you don’t need to use Thieves. You could go with something like Branch Basics, or Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaning Concentrate.

Whatever you decide, swap out your Windex, Pledge or whatever else you might use for cleaning with one basic cleaner to free up loads of space.

See The Rest of My Cleaning Products: The Only Minimalist Cleaning Supplies You’ll Ever Need

white and navy striped fabric grocery bag holder hanging on the wall next to 1Thrive command center.

2. Find a new home for anything that is not kitchen related (& even things that are kitchen-related).

Before the great declutter, I was storing things like magic erasers (bathroom cleaning), vacuum filters (not solely kitchen-related) and grocery bags under the kitchen sink.

The magic erasers and vacuum filters container moved to the hallway linen closet.

The grocery bags moved to a fabric holder in the sunroom.

If it’s not directly related to your kitchen, find a new home closest to where you will use/need it, and where you have space to store it.

If you’re short on cabinet space, consider vertical space like walls (I used THIS fabric storage container to hang the grocery bags).

kitchen drawer with dishcloths and microfiber cloths.

Even if things DO belong in the kitchen, there might be a better home from them.

For example, I used to store microfiber cleaning cloths and dishcloths under the kitchen sink in our previous home.

But our current kitchen is bigger with more storage space, so now they live in a large drawer (pictured above) to the left of the dishwasher.

white metal bin from cabinet under kitchen sink with dish soap, dish brushes and dishwasher tabs sitting on kitchen counter with kitchen in background.

3. Find a suitable container – at most two – for what’s left.

Hopefully you’ll be ruthless in your decluttering efforts, and there’s not much left to organize!

When you’re finished, there’s something about containing a group of items in a cabinet that makes things automatically feel more organized and less chaotic.

It doesn’t need to be an expensive or fancy container. Mine – pictured above – came from a thrift store (Target sometimes has cheap, sturdy containers, too). 

Depending on how large the cupboard under your kitchen sink is, I would recommend sticking to just one or two containers.

Try to choose something big enough to contain everything you’ve decided to store under the kitchen sink, and commit to not going beyond that container. 

My only exception to this rule are our extra bags of Mrs. Meyer’s dishwasher tabs.

We order ours from Amazon Subscribe & Save, and they come in packs of three. The extras are stored outside the container. 

I suppose you could consider our paper towel holder another exception, although I keep wracking my brain for another place for these to “live”.

When they’re stored under the kitchen sink, however, we are far more likely to reach for reusable microfiber cloths and stick to a (mostly) paperless kitchen, instead. So there’s that.

(P.S. If you have a non-corner under the sink kitchen cabinet, THESE silicone mats look amazing for protecting the cabinet bottoms from random plumbing issues and spills!)

cake stand holding dish soap, hand soap and cleaner with dish brush next to kitchen sink.

Bonus: Create a Pretty Dishwashing Station

Inspired by Nesting with Grace, I created a pretty dishwashing station that makes me smile everytime I see it.

It makes washing the dishes just a little bit easier, less onerous, a little bit more joyful. And who doesn’t want that?!

I keep a dish scrubbing brush, hand soap, a spray bottle with cleaner, dish soap and a straw cleaning brush on a cake stand to the right of the kitchen sink.

(Yes, my daughter insists on keeping Vitamin D gummies on the stand, which I don’t love. But since she loads the dishwasher and wipes down kitchen counters every night, she gets a pass! See how we handle chores HERE.)

flat lay with dish soap, hand soap, dish brushes, dishwasher tabs arranged decoratively on table.

What I Keep in the Cabinet Under My Kitchen Sink As a Minimalist

Here’s what earned precious under-the-kitchen-sink real estate in my minimalist kitchen.

Almost everything that stayed under the kitchen sink can fit into a white metal bin I got at a thrift store years ago.

Here’s what I kept…

Thieves Young Living Concentrate

I am in no way an essential oils junkie, but I do love Thieves cleaner concentrate. I switched to this from Mrs. Meyer’s concentrate when I realized it wasn’t as “natural” as they say it is.

Here are my formulas again per 16 ounce spray bottle: 1 capful for general cleaning, including windows, and 2 capfuls for bathroom cleaning.

Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap Refill

While I did ditch Mrs. Meyer’s concentrate, I couldn’t give up their dish soap

I love getting seasonal scents! Fresh Cut Grass and Lilac in the spring, Peppermint at Christmastime. 

Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap Refill (Kitchen Use Only)

We discovered this winter that Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap isn’t the best for regular use in bathrooms – it dries my kids’ hands out something fierce, to the point of redness and bleeding.

But I still like it for the kitchen sink, where it doesn’t get used as frequently by the kids.

(For bathrooms, we switched to THIS automatic foaming soap dispenser and THIS concentrated soap, which we dilute with water for the dispenser.)

Bottle Cleaner

Cleaning tools for my husband’s annoying glass water bottle AND my youngest’s annoying spray water bottle that isn’t dishwasher safe.

Note to self: only ever in the future buy dishwasher safe water bottles.

Replacement Spray Bottle Heads

Annoying, but true, spray bottle heads sometimes stop spraying for no good reason whatsoever.

I keep our 16 ounce spray bottle heads and mini spray bottle heads (for tick spray bottles).

Extra Dish Scrubbers

I’ve been slowly moving my purchases from Grove Collaborative over to Target. While I love Grove, we all have to make tough choices to fight inflation.

Grove recently added $2.99 supply chain fees to every order on top of their $20 annual fee, and their prices are a little bit more than other places. 

Target gives me 5% off with my RedCard, plus free shipping. Sorry, Grove. 

One thing I loved from Grove that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to replace was their bamboo dish scrubber. 

I recently tried THIS scrubber from Target as a substitute, and it’s pretty comparable. You can also buy replaceable brush heads.

Mrs. Meyer’s Dishwasher Tabs

I have tried and tried to find a better, non-toxic dishwasher tab, and they all leave streaks or don’t clean the dishes well. 

We went back to a name brand, and my daughter who loads the dishwasher every night was allergic.

So back to Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbana Dishwasher Tabs we went. We tried the Basil scent once, and it was SOOOO overpowering –  you could literally taste it on the dishes (yuck!). 

As I mentioned, we do purchase them in packs of three because we order them with Amazon Subscribe & Save, so we often have an extra bag or two sitting outside the designated container.

Dishwasher Silverware Holder (If Not In Use)

Sometimes, my daughter prioritizes bowl space in the dishwasher bottom rack and squeezes the silverware into one holder. 

The extra holder stays under the kitchen sink when not in use.

Paper Towel Holder

Again, the paper towel dilemma. But for now, it lives here. 

So tell me: what do YOU keep in the cabinet under your kitchen sink? Are you planning to declutter it? Share in the comments!

Read Next: Minimalist Kitchen Essentials – Just the Basics (According to a Minimalist)


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