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Welcome to Clean Enough, a new cleaning column for busy home cooks who have better things to do than clean and sanitize around the clock. Each week, author and neurodivergent mom Emily Farris shares tips, tools, and products to help you tackle the messiest spots in the kitchen, while also dispelling some cleaning myths and reducing clutter.
What exactly is in the cabinet under the kitchen sink? If you had asked me this question a few months ago, I probably would have answered “anything.” Or maybe it’s “everything you need to shove in there when you’re in a hurry.” That’s why I completely ignored the fact that the pipe under my sink was slowly dripping for I don’t even know how long.
When I discovered this problem, I pulled out at least seven empty hand sanitizer dispensers, five nearly full bottles of dishwashing liquid that I didn’t like, a stub from a Magic Eraser that wasn’t worth keeping, four sink stoppers, and several flat heads. . screwdriver. I’ve been looking for years – the left side of the cabinet base is damaged beyond repair. The chipboard was wet, swollen, and badly dented, and I wondered how I had missed the musty smell that suddenly wafted into the kitchen. Apparently it had been damp here for a while, but to my surprise there wasn’t any terrible mold (I guess that’s a rare benefit to living in a poorly sealed 107 year old house).
While I waited for it to be repaired, I laid out the things that were lying in the damp little kitchen dungeon.
I gathered up all my tools, put them back where they actually belonged, threw out the old scabs and sponges I was saving for dirty work (new ones would work better anyway), and turned them in. I received all the unpopular solutions and soaps from the sellers in the store. my “don’t buy anything” group. I then collected several bottles of cleaning vinegar, which I obviously bought since I couldn’t see exactly how much I had, and got rid of all the products I hadn’t touched in at least five years (including stainless steel cookware). those I no longer use appliance spray). I have to thank my favorite microfiber cloth).
My stash under the sink has been reduced by at least half! But when I put the cut-down supplies back on the new, dry base under the pipes that were no longer leaking, the whole thing still felt cramped because there was no functional storage space – for the convenience of the pipes. but for a neat cabinet under the sink this is unprofitable.
So I did what I always do in these situations: I started shopping online for a fix. I ended up with three products that completely transformed the space under my sink, one of which should be standard under every kitchen sink.
Lower cabinets don’t get as much light as upper cabinets, and in general, under-sink cabinets are too dark and less functional. You need to be able to see what’s going on so you don’t miss a leak or spill so you can keep track of how many dishwasher containers you have left. While I like the built-in lights that turn on automatically when I open the door, I opted for the battery-powered puck lights that turn on and off with one touch. They come in packs of two and I put one on each side of the cabinet and it’s like a whole new world.
Even with additional lighting, the under-sink cabinet is not a very functional space, given that the pipes and bottom of the sink protrude outward. No matter what you store downstairs, some kind of pull-out rack that won’t interfere with your pipes will make it easier to access what you need, whether it’s a cleaning spray or a trash can.
The most important thing I ordered for the under sink area was an afterthought. In fact, Amazon may have even recommended it to me in the “Customers Also Buy” section. This is a silicone sink liner with a lip that helps contain future leaks.
Sink liners are available in regular cabinet sizes and, unlike hard plastic trays, they are flexible so they can be easily moved in and out around pipes. If you have pipes in your floor, you can even use scissors to cut holes and then tape the mat back down with waterproof tape.
When my new gear arrived, I put everything back under the sink a second time and used the organizer to fill it up; I was even more picky about what was left. The space under the sink now looks great, making it easy to see what I have and instantly find what I need. But I know myself well enough to know that at some point (probably when I’m rushing to complete a spontaneous home improvement project) I’ll probably revert to my old ways of haphazardly storing things under the sink. The good news is that even if the cabinets end up a mess and I manage to miss another leak, at least I won’t have to worry about the floor collapsing again.
Post time: Oct-07-2023