Everything Under the Kitchen Sink

You'd be this scared too. (Psycho pic from here.)

Remember how Monica on Friends was always SUPER organized, but had that one closet that was a hot mess? Yeah, I barely do too. Anyways, I had an under-the-sink equivalent of Monica’s h-e-double hockey sticks hole closet. It looked like this:

Which from a higher angle looked like this:

Left Side

and this:

Right Side

Makes me itchy just looking at it. Mold, disorganization, a pile of empty sunflower seed shells; all of it was under there. Don’t ask. And every time I wanted to grab something, I had to root around that nightmare of a cardboard box to find it. I had had enough and finally just emptied it out and figured if I took stuff out and put it back in, I’d at least know what was in there.

Well, of course, after everything was out, I got inspired to at try and improve the space a little. That mold in the back was enemy #A1. I know, I know, mold is dangerous. Please, don’t let what I did diminish that fact. Anyways, I decided to let sleeping mold lie and painted over it. I figured the spores were better left in-tact and attached to the wall than airborne after of trying fruitlessly to scrub it clean. I got out the trusty Kilz II from the basement and painted right over it. I understand it may come back, but at least for now it’s under a thick coat of primter. I painted the rest of the surfaces under there also, just to start out with a fresh coat on everything.

Then, I had to come to terms with what was going back in there. Little space, lots of bottles. I laid it all out so I could take stock and start to scheme how to put it all back so it wouldn’t devolve into an abyss again.

So, what did I have under the sink?

  • Big screw-top bottles
  • Aerosol cans
  • Spray bottles
  • Trash bags
  • Spools of aluminum foil and other misc. papers
  • Rags and kitchen towels
  • Emergency tea light candles
  • Sponges
  • Paper towels
  • Brushes
  • Trivia place mats. Once, when Mike and I first started dating, we spent a whole Friday night memorizing the presidents in order. I can’t bear to get rid of them.

Conclusion? Mishmash. I really didn’t know where to begin, so I took a look around the basement for inspiration. I found these old farm boxes (a blueberry and apple crate, I think) I bought off Craigslist when we first moved to PA. I committed to buy them and then realized they were about an hour and a half car ride away in rural New Jersey. Did you know New Jersey could even get its rural on? Trust me, it can.

I used two of the one on the left, and one of the type on the right. After fitting the jigsaw puzzle of goodies back into the cabinet, I was left with the spools of paper, paper towels, and spray bottles. For the spools, I hung the Ikea metal paper dispenser back up on the right side of the cabinet.

Paper towels got a custom job using these ingredients found in our Hoarders worthy mud room.

After marking out where the roll would hang,

Gratuitous Ring Shot

I screwed in an eyebolt on the right side,

and a hook on the left side.

No exact science here, totally eyed it.  It is on the back of a cabinet, after all. Then, I broke out the clothesline and tied one end to the eyebolt and measured to the hook, leaving a little slack so that a full roll could sit on the string without being too tight. I knotted a mini carabiner (from an eyeglasses screwdriver key chain) to the end. Voila! Feed the clothesline through the roll, hook, and grab a sheet.

The spray bottles were the last obstacle. There was an Ikea tea towel holder (I can’t, for the life of me, find the official Ikea name for it) screwed on the right side door in the ‘before’ cabinets.

The holes serendipitously were the perfect diameter for hanging spray bottles. I added two more holes, for a total of five by drilling VERY carefully and slowly. This wood wasn’t exactly industrial strength.

I wanted it hung up-and-out-of-the-way, which of course meant putting it where no screwdriver could fit. Mike was changing the oil in his car, and when he came back in to get something I lured him over with my endless DIY-in-sweatpants charm and made him hang it. He’s much more patient with hanging things. He got out the smaller screwdriver and toenailed in two screws by going up through the holes made for the bottles and screwing into the cabinet side. Boy, I do love that man.

BOOM. Spray bottle caddy, love ya.

And here is the organized, non-panic inducing and sunflower seed-less after. I must have opened the cabinets to just stare at the organized bliss at least 12 times the day it was finished.

Attack 1 of the 2012 Organizing Monster is a sweeping success.

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17 Comments

  1. Lizzie

     /  January 13, 2012

    Amazing Redo. The area under my kitchen sink has the problem of the walls. made out of who knows what. which keeps faking apart down to the floor of the cabinet under the sink making the floor constantly look dirty. Is there some sort of glue substance that i could paint over the walls to keep it from faking?

    Reply
    • Thanks!! Hmm…I’m think it’s particle board that’s falling apart if I remember right…Not sure how to keep it from crumbling without replacing, but maybe put up a phony wall in front to prevent further shards falling onto the bottom?

      Reply
  2. As an organizer myself, I may have to stop reading these blogs, because they are making more work for me to do….. but I love it, thanks for the ideas!

    Reply
    • I hear ya! Thanks for the comment :) The more I see others who are organized, the more I want to micro-organize EVERYTHING!

      Reply
  3. Wow! You have some amazing organizational skills!! I love that you made everything with stuff you had lying around the house!

    Reply
  4. jo

     /  January 23, 2012

    what i can not understand is why you are keeping your kitchen towels under the sink and not in a drawer…..
    maybe in europe we have different uses. ;-)
    ps i met your blog via ikeahacker and i plan to use your suggestions for the spray bottles, thank you!

    Reply
    • Haha, that’s a good point actually! I never even thought to keep them in a drawer. We do have a smaller kitchen with limited drawers, so I just kind of stuck them there :). Glad I could give you the idea for the spray bottles!

      Reply
      • jo

         /  January 23, 2012

        my mother had only 3 drawers in her kitchen, the one i actually lived in for sth like 35years; one was for spoons, forks, knives, the one you actually use everyday: the second contained kitchen’ tools, ladles, bigger knives, kitchenwares: in the third we kept tableclothes and their napkins, and paper ones too: the fourth was for towels, the one you dry your hands in, and the ones for kitchenware, glasses, …

        you have seven drawers. you can use our scheme, or create one for yourself. one for spices, one for pencils and rubberbands, and kitchentwine and silicontwines, one for bills, one for love letters, and one for evth else.

        the new ikeakitchen we have has 9drawers, 10 with the oven one. i planned it with sth that looked like a lot of space, but it is diminuishing everyday we live in it….

      • One for love letters, how romantic! Maybe I do need to adopt your scheme…

        Now that I think about it, the kitchen I grew up in had only two drawers. One for flatware, and one for kitchen utensils. The rest of the kitchen was cabinets. Quite honestly, I’ve never thought too much about the drawer scheme in our kitchen, everything got organized during the move in process and has kind of worked for us since then. You’ve definitely given me some ideas to think about. Thank you!

        Another footnote, isn’t it amazing that if you have storage space, it is bound to fill up? There must be some kind of universal human law to that effect.

  5. jo

     /  January 23, 2012

    edit.
    my mother only had 4 drawers, as you can read some lines later

    Reply
  6. jo

     /  February 6, 2012

    yesterday i was rereading your answer and i just had a genius attack!
    i have a http://www.ikea.com/it/it/catalog/products/60138759/ lansa handle that had to be a shoe hanger to publish on ikeahackers, but is not yet, and, with your project in mind, i rewrote it.
    but i miss some part to build it, since i have to drill two cabinets walls side by side and i needed two longer screws i had not.

    Reply
  7. you’re the first one to know, but yesterday i had my handle set, after finding some kind of longer screws.
    my camera is not here so i can not take a picture to send to you and jules, but i soon will.
    useful and working project, you had a great idea

    Reply
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  • Maria @ FH

    Hi there! I'm a grad student, wife, and doting owner of the cutest dog you've ever seen. I love organizing, gardening, and taking on projects I only later find out I'm wildly too impatient for. Read along as I try to accept it's about the journey, not the destination, especially when it comes to DIY. Welcome!

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