Monday, October 14, 2019

17 Doubling up on Under the Sink Storage Space

A few weeks ago we were hosting a guest and I went to my son's bathroom to do some cleaning and prepping. Our guests typically stay in our son's bedroom while visiting because it has an adjoining bathroom that allows for added privacy. I realized that the area under his sink could use a better system, and with a limited timeframe, I came up with a quick solution to maximize the awkward cabinet.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

I will help my kids with their chores from time to time, but for the most part, they take complete ownership of keeping up on their spaces. It is always my goal to give them systems that are easy for them to maintain on their own, but I definitely didn't do that here. Under this bathroom sink was a mish-mash of random baskets and bins with no designation or reasoning...




IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

After I painted his bathroom walls awhile back, I left the can under his sink for touch-ups. There were also some accessories waiting to be used, toiletries, cleaning supplies, a random towel which he uses as a floor mat, travel items... All thrown in there somewhere. Yikes.

The problem I find with most of these stock bathroom cabinets is the lack of storage that is provided. There is plenty of space inside but not an easy way to make the most of it. And with the sink and plumbing, it can be challenging to find the right stacking drawers or bins to take advantage of all the vertical space.

This cabinet is nearing 20 years old and on our list of items to update in the future, but I still wanted to find a quick, inexpensive fix to get the bathroom storage up to par.

The process I take with every organizing project no matter what the size/scale is as follows:

  • Empty everything out
  • Clean the empty space
  • Sort through all of the belongings
  • Decide what we need in the space vs. what we currently have
  • Put everything back 

So I emptied everything out and was left with some loud liner...

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

I replaced it with something more subtle.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

My ultimate goal was to add a second layer of surface area halfway up the cabinet. Our local Home Depot sells white laminate boards, so we purchased a single 3/4" thick, 2' x 4' board.

The one board would be enough for us to cut down to use as a shelf and to also add supports for the shelf below (the bathroom cabinet is a 3' wide cabinet).

Because the cabinet has a trim piece that runs down the front center of the door opening, the new shelf couldn't be left as a single piece that runs the entire inside length, it wouldn't be possible to get it into the cabinet. We decided to cut two separate shelves, one for each side, also notching out the plumbing area.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

For the notch, we measured the amount of space clearance needed for the plumbing and used the lid of a container to trace out the curved area. The nice thing about the laminate board is that pencil washes off quite easily after you make your cuts.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

I originally thought we would just nail ledger boards around beneath the shelves, but because the front and far side have no support on the outside of the cabinet, Bryan decided to just make some legs to hold the shelves instead.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

Above you can get an idea of how we dry fit things before finishing off the edges and air nailing everything in place.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

There is a small seam where the two boards meet in the middle, but we opted not to caulk it in case we want to easily remove the shelf down the road.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

Look at that! Double the storage area!

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

To now give my little guy (and guests) some easy organization, I categorized everything into their own pull out drawers and bins.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

These are my absolute favorite drawers for organizing under any sink (bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, etc...), so I grabbed two standard sizes and one wide size.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

I prefer to use drawers instead of stacking lidded bins any time I organize because they ease the taking out/putting things back process. That is especially important when kids are involved.

The top two drawers hold my son's personal care items (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hair care, deodorant, etc...)

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

While the bottom drawer holds smaller sized toiletries for guests or travel, as well as bars of soap and an oil diffuser.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

On the other side, I used two taller bins to wrangle the bulkier items. One has additional personal care items and our son's travel toiletry case. The other has all of the cleaning supplies for the bathroom.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

I love that these inexpensive rolling bins have flexible dividers inside that allows them to be easily categorized while also keeping the contents separate and contained.

The upper shelf is the perfect spot for extra towels, and now they can be stored up and away from everything else in the cabinet.

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

I had the same question for my husband that you may have, "Is this setup going to be an issue when we need to change out the faucet?"

Well, a couple of days after we installed the shelves we did just that without any problems. There was enough clearance surrounding the pipes that we didn't have to pull the shelves out, but we could have easily if necessary.

With that, if we could have done one thing differently, we would have considered the location of the water valves a bit more vs. only measuring for the height of the bins when determining the final height for the new shelf.

Because we all heart a transformation before and after, a reminder of the difference this quick makeover gave us:

IHeart Organizing Under Bathroom Sink Double Shelving Storage Solution Organization

The storage bins are definitely a key component in categorizing and helping to keep this area of our son's bathroom organized, but by adding a second layer of storage space we were able to really maximize how the cabinet is used. The bonus is that I have sourced a few under-the-sink-shelves in the past at various retailers, but they tend to be flimsy or not expansive enough. For less than what most of those ready-made shelves cost, we were able to come up with something out of a single board that is custom and substantial. Double the storage, double the organizational win!









17 comments:

  1. OMG what a brilliant idea! Now I need to show this to my husband so he can do this in our bathroom!

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  2. This turned out so great! I love those drawer bins. I need some of them under my kitchen sink!

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  3. What a difference! So much usable space now, and so attractive to boot! Thanks so much for the information.

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  4. Thank you! We are remodeling our main/boys bathroom and I have been worried about the cabinet we chose for storage. This is just awesome. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I love, love, love it!!

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  5. You blew my mind yet again... simple, efficient, beautiful!!!

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  6. Love it! You always find a way to make everything look so pretty and functional. But, from a real life stand point, what happens with the random towel/bathmat that was in the before? Did you buy a permanent bathmat or will the towel comeback after photos. I feel like we sometimes end up with the same function over form oddities that I'd like not to account for in organizing but they sneak back in. Just curious how you handle those :)

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    1. Great question! And yes, I just purchased him a new bath mat that he now keeps either on his bathroom floor or folded over the edge of his shower base. The towel was temporary, and it was interesting his tossed it under the sink instead of using one of his three nearby towel hooks. ;) I am hoping by filling the space better under the sink, it will at least cause a pause and think reaction for him when putting things away.

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  7. Love this. Not sure my husband does as I now want him to do the same thing here ;)

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  8. You are so talented! Best blog ever :)

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  9. We did this today and it turned out great! Thank you! Our vanity is narrow so we were able to buy a 12 inch x 4ft finished edge melamine shelf at Menards for under $10 and just cut it in half. You always have the best ideas!

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  10. This makes me ridiculously happy! Glad it worked out, thank you so much for sharing that with me!! 💓

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  11. I absolutely love this. I had thought it would be too hard to do this myself, but I'm thinking I(meaning we, meaning my husband) tackle this as our bathroom sink storage is a disaster.

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