If there’s any area of your home that tends to clutter no sooner than you’ve decluttered, it’s the area under the bathroom sink. No matter if it’s a small vanity with a few drawers or a large one with many cabinets, the area is a breeding ground for chaos, since it tends to serve as a catchall for all sorts of miscellaneous goods, from awkwardly-shaped hair dryers, to bulky extra rolls of toilet paper, to hard-to-corral spools of floss.
“The thing with the under-the-sink area is that without any containment, it can appear super cluttered,” says Jen Robin, CEO of the organizational and lifestyle company Life in Jeneral. Even if you don’t have very much stuff stashed down there, bottles of product stacked on top of toilet paper or cleaning supplies makes the space look much messier than it really is. Without proper attention, you may even wind up with things flying out at you whenever you open the doors.
The good news: For the same reason the space clutters, the under-the-sink area is also exceptionally easy to restore order to. Here’s how:
1. Make an Edit
Robin’s golden rule? For under-the-sink areas, less is more. Only keep items you absolutely need and use regularly. “I often find that people store back stock and duplicates of their toiletries, as well as cleaning supplies,” says Robin. “If you can, find another home—possibly a linen closet, garage, or laundry room—to contain these items, so you can make sure the space is being utilized in the most efficient way.”
When you pare down what you’re storing, you’ll have more room for the things that really make sense. Think larger hair styling tools that might not fit in drawers and items you do regularly use and want to have close at hand, like makeup or a face cleansing brush.
In a space like the area under the sink, containment is key, says Robin. “Without containment, items don’t have a permanent home, and therefore, it’s easy to forget where you placed them when you organized.”
Incorporate stackable drawers or bins with lids and micro-sort within them. “Using stackable drawers maximizes vertical space, using bins with lids conceals any clutter, and micro-sorting keeps categories easy to find at a moment’s notice,” she explains.
Once everything has an established place, don’t forget to label the goods, says Robin. “Labeling is the simplest way to remember where something goes.” And if you don’t establish parameters or can’t remember what parameters you set, there’s less incentive to put items back in the same place time and time again, she explains. You’ll be back to square one—a disheveled under-the-sink space—in no time at all.
To make clear labeling a breeze, invest in a small, handheld labeler that’s easy to stash in your craft closet or junk drawer. Or, for something with a little more style, opt for a metal label holders or decorative stickers.