Kitchen sink organizing rules – 7 ways to keep this high-traffic area in order

The kitchen sink area is one of the busiest and most high-traffic spaces in the home. As a result, it can easily become cluttered and disorganized if not properly maintained. Implementing some simple organizing rules and habits can help keep this space clean, tidy and functional. Here are 7 tips to help you organize your kitchen sink area.

1. Declutter regularly

The first rule of kitchen sink organization is to declutter and get rid of anything you don’t use on a regular basis. Take some time each week to go through the items around your sink and toss or donate anything that is no longer needed. This includes:

  • Old sponges, brushes, and cleaning tools that are worn out.
  • Bottle of cleaners that are expired or almost empty.
  • Mismatched containers and food storage pieces.
  • Random items like pens, rubber bands and expired medicines that have accumulated.

Regular decluttering prevents clutter from building up over time. It also ensures you actually use the items you keep around the sink.

2. Use trays and containers

The use of trays, containers and organizers is a game changer when it comes to kitchen sink organization. They allow you to neatly corral all the items that accumulate around the sink. Some ideas:

  • Metal or plastic trays to hold cleaning supplies and sponges. Look for ones with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.
  • Cups or canisters for things like scrub brushes, rubber gloves and dish cloths.
  • Drawer organizer trays for items stored under the sink like cleaners and extra sponges.

Matching containers look uniform and neat. However, it’s also fine to use mismatched ones you already have. Just be sure to label them so you can quickly locate items.

3. Have a landing spot for dirty dishes

It can be tempting to just pile dirty dishes around the sink as you cook. However, this leads to a cluttered mess. Have a designated landing area for dirty dishes instead. Options include:

  • A draining rack, drying mat or tray placed near the sink.
  • A bus tub on the counter or kitchen island for plates and bowls.
  • Place a rolling utility cart next to the sink to use as a dish deposit.

Train your family members to put their dishes directly into the assigned spot rather than leaving them at the sink. This prevents pile-ups and keeps your workspace clear.

4. Store dish soap and sponges neatly

The dish soap bottle and sprayer, sponges, scrubbies and brushes are sink necessities. However, they can sometimes look messy and cluttered. Some tips:

  • Store the dish soap next to the sink in a matching soap dispenser rather than leaving the bottle out.
  • Use a suction-cup caddy by the faucet to hold the dish soap and sponge in one spot.
  • Attach a spice-rack style holder on the wall to neatly store brushes.
  • Use a silicone brush holder that sticks to the sink side.

Consider coordinating your soap dispensers and caddies with other organizers around the sink for a uniform look.

5. Take advantage of vertical space

The space around most kitchen sinks is limited. Make the most of what you have by utilizing any vertical storage areas available. Ideas include:

  • Install floating shelves above the sink for frequently used items or decorative plants and containers.
  • Use wall-mounted paper towel holders and hooks for dish towels.
  • Attach a magnetic strip or spice rack to the wall to hold knives and other metal utensils within reach.
  • Use the cabinet doors around the sink to hold cleaning checklists, notes and reminders.

Going vertical with your storage helps keep items up and out of the way for a less cluttered appearance.

6. Schedule a weekly clean-up

One of the best ways to stay on top of organization around the kitchen sink is to assign a time each week to tidy and clean the area.

  • Do a quick declutter and wipe down of the sink, counters and backsplash.
  • Clean any trays, bins and containers being used.
  • Reorganize items that have gotten out of place.
  • Take inventory of supplies that need restocking like dish soap and sponges. Scheduling this cleaning session – say for 15 minutes on Sunday nights – makes maintaining organization around the sink a routine habit.

7. Set up a cleaning supply station

Having your basic cleaning gear organized and within reach makes cleaning the kitchen quick and easy. Set up a dedicated station, kit or caddy with some of the following:

  • All-purpose cleaner and disinfecting wipes.
  • Microfiber cloths and scrub brushes.
  • Dish soap, dish brush and sponge.
  • Rubber gloves and scrub pads like Scrunge.
  • Small trash bags.

Ideally locate this kit under the sink or in a nearby cabinet. The easier it is to access cleaning supplies, the more likely you’ll be to keep your kitchen – especially the sink area – sparkling clean.

In Summary

The kitchen sink area sees a lot of traffic and messy clean up. But implementing these 7 organizing rules will help you keep the space looking neat and tidy. Decluttering, using trays and containers, having a spot for dirty dishes, organizing dish items, utilizing vertical storage, scheduling weekly clean up sessions, and setting up a handy cleaning caddy allows you to maintain order in this high-traffic area. With a little effort, your kitchen sink can look magazine-worthy and function like a well-oiled machine.

Frequently Asked Questions about Kitchen Sink Organizing

Here are some common questions about keeping the kitchen sink area organized:

What are the best containers for under the kitchen sink?

Some of the handiest containers for under sink storage include:

  • Stackable plastic bins and trays to hold cleaners and extra sponges. Labelling them makes finding items easy.
  • Metal bins or buckets to neatly corral cleaning brushes, rubber gloves and scrub pads.
  • Over-the-door clear plastic shoe organizers to sort oddball items.
  • Wire pull-out baskets great for stashing sprays bottles and cleaners upright.

How do you organize kitchen sinks with two basins?

For double-basin sinks, keep one side clear for washing dishes and drying. Use the other basin for food prep tasks like washing produce and filling water pitchers.

Install organizers like trays and caddies with suction cups on the ledge between basins. This keeps items handy but out of the work area. Under-sink organizers with adjustable dividers also work well to customize storage.

Where should you put a dish drying rack by the sink?

Ideally place a dish drying rack or mat to the right or left of the sink basin area. Avoid putting it directly in front of the sink if space allows.

Having it beside the sink keeps that zone clear for washing, but still within arm’s reach for drying washed dishes. If you must put a rack in front, choose a compact or roll-up style.

Should you keep the dish soap by the kitchen sink?

Yes, the dish soap dispenser or bottle should be kept right by the kitchen sink for easy access when washing dishes.

Install a soap dispenser kit directly beside the faucet for efficient use. Or place the soap bottle on a tray, in a caddy or in a wall-mounted rack within reach of the sink basin. Just be sure to neatly return it after each use.

How do you organize cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink?

Use storage containers and trays to neatly organize cleaners under the sink. Group similar items together – for example, all purpose cleaners in one bin, scrub brushes in another.

Install pull-out cabinet organizers or slide-out trays to easily access items in the back. Labelling bins makes finding the right cleaner fast. An under-sink turntable also helps access items.

What should you not keep under the kitchen sink?

Avoid storing these items under the kitchen sink:

  • Food, cooking utensils or dishes that could get contaminated by cleaners.
  • Anything that could be damaged by leaks or moisture like electronics.
  • Flammable, corrosive or poisonous chemicals which are safer kept high up.
  • Frequently used items like dish soap and sponges.
  • Anything that takes up needed storage space for cleaners and cleaning tools.


The kitchen sink zone is one of the most high-traffic areas in the home. But with regular decluttering, strategic use of containers and trays, designated spots for dirty dishes and smart storage, you can maintain organization. Dedicate time each week to tidy up the sink and keep cleaning supplies at the ready. With a bit of effort, your kitchen sink area can always look neat and clutter-free.