How to KonMari Under a Sink
What is it about dark corners that tempt us into storing clutter? From basement shelves to attic crawlspaces, we tend to think that what we can’t see won’t hurt us. Nothing could be further from the truth, according to the KonMari Method™! That’s particularly true when it comes to organizing the area under the sink in both the bathroom and the kitchen.
When you commit to tidying your home the KonMari way, you quickly discover how much better a space — and your mind — feels when hidden storage spaces are tidy and organized. As you embark on a tidying festival in your home, here are eight tips from Marie Kondo on facing those long-forgotten kitchen and bathroom products and cleaning supplies and — finally — organizing under the sink.
Take Everything Out
The KonMari Method™ endorses always organizing by category, not by location. If you have two or three bathrooms, or store cleaning supplies in multiple places — like under the kitchen and bathroom sink — start by pulling every last item out. Gather them together, so you can see them in one place. Don’t panic if you’re surprised by the volume — that’s not uncommon! — the next steps will help you organize all those bathroom and kitchen supplies with ease.
Discard Expired Products
Medicines, sunscreens and cleaning supplies lose efficacy over time. Start by checking each container for an expiration date, and discard any items past their prime. Cleaning supplies don’t always include a date, but the typical shelf life is at most two years (bleach begins to lose its oomph after just six months!). All-natural supplies, such as distilled vinegar and baking soda, are the exception to the rule. They can last three years or even longer — yet another reason to commit to green cleaning products!
Reminder: When discarding supplies, don’t mix products or automatically pour them down the drain! For the same reason you shouldn’t combine different chemical products when cleaning, even expired products must be disposed of properly. Follow local disposal regulations or professional advice.
Discard Travel Sizes and Samples
If you’ve been storing hotel shampoos or product samples under the bathroom sink with plans to use them later, ask yourself: When was the last time you really did?
Most of us hold onto these items for months or even years and sometimes never remember to pack them. During research for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie discovered that sample products last only a few weeks and at most a year. As she puts it best: “To use outdated cosmetics, especially when you are supposed to be enjoying your travels, seems foolhardy.” Instead, let them go with gratitude.
Let Go of Products That Don’t Spark Joy
Many undersink items are necessities, but if you tend to buy fad beauty products or cosmetics, only to stuff them under the bathroom sink when you’ve lost interest, it’s time to discard them. None of us needs to hold onto products from our “glitter phase” — unless, of course, glitter still brings you joy!
As for organizing under the kitchen sink, have you stopped using certain cleaning products because you don’t like their smell or because you’ve switched to more sustainable supplies? Let them go knowing you’re moving closer to a consistent cleaning routine that works for you.
Wipe Items Clean
Items still collect dust under the sink! Before returning the remaining products under the sink, wipe everything clean with a damp cloth, including the sink cupboard floor. If you discover sticky spills, such as bath oils or kitchen dish soap, a deeper scrub with a sponge and warm soapy water should dislodge them.
Tidy Tip: Make sure lids are screwed on tightly and any other containers are properly closed, too!
Pick Your System
Now that you’ve pared down your undersink goods to the essentials, it’s time to organize like items with like. Pick a system that works for you — color with color, task with task, etc. A few under-sink organizing tips:
- Gather nail polish in one organizer, along with other manicure supplies
- Combine two open boxes of bandaids into one
- Pour small amounts of beauty or cleaning products into reusable glass bottles that fit them properly
Tidy Tip: Stackable containers, especially clear ones, are an undersink’s best ally — they make the most of tiny cupboards by using vertical space!
Find the Right Under the Sink Organizer
We recommend using simple trays, canisters or repurposed boxes or jars to subdivide the undersink area, creating tidy spaces for related products to live harmoniously.
Tidy Tip: Stackable containers, especially clear organizers for under the bathroom sink, are an undersink’s best ally — they make the most of tiny cupboards by using vertical space!
Restock Low Supplies
If you discarded expired items, you likely weren’t using them often enough to repurchase them. Wait until you have a need. One exception proves the rule: cleaning supplies.
Make a list of any expired items you discarded but use at least every month. You’ll want to replace them with fresh supplies. Knowing now how long it takes to use them up, buy a smaller size this time — or better yet, switch to those longer-lasting, sustainable cleaning supplies!
As you finish organizing under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, you may feel like you’ve thrown away so much. But the beauty of the KonMari Method™ is that you will only need to do this once. Organizing under the sink in one go — and discarding what no longer serves you — will teach you what you need, what sparks joy, and what simply doesn’t. With eyes open, you will no longer feel the need to accumulate all those unused samples and excess supplies in the first place!
As you finish this tidying project, you may feel like you’ve thrown away so much. But the beauty of the KonMari Method™ is that you will only need to do this once. Organizing undersink items in one go — and discarding what no longer serves you — will teach you what you need, what sparks joy, and what simply doesn’t. With eyes open, you will no longer feel the need to accumulate all those unused samples and excess supplies in the first place!