Home Forums Living Spaces Kitchens Uncluttering the kitchen sink

This topic contains 32 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by  HelofaMess 8 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #158231

    So, the sinks in interior design magazines bug me… they are so beautiful, with just one aesthetic bottle of dish-detergent and a tiny sponge in a wooden bowl.
    Does anyone actually have a sink like that ? Is it possible ?
    Any tips on keeping the area aesthetic ?
    There was a post on Unclutterer blog on a nice drawer for it all under the sink, but I won’t be investing in that anytime soon.

    I have a sponge for the dishes, steel-wool for burnt pots (happens to me often), a small flat sponge that’s used only on the big wooden cutting board (it’s too big to wash in the sink), and a cloth for the kitchen counter and other surfaces. Oh, and there’s the sink plug too, and a bottle of vinegar for cleaning glassware.
    I don’t have a dishwasher, in case you haven’t realised it by now.

    So, is this the bare minimum that I can have ? How do I keep it looking nice ? the sponges get discoloured really soon, and I don’t want to buy new ones every day. Annoyingly, they don’t have very dark coloured ones here.

    How do your sinks look like ? Any tips for me ?

  • #160843

    badkitti
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I have – plastic washing up bowl, sponge, wire wool, washing up liquid, vinegar, scrubbing brush. Then of course there’s the dish drying rack.

    I have recently been looking for a caddy to keep them all in.

  • #160844

    maryann
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I have a stainless steel holder that suctions to the inside of the sink for the sponges & brillo. A built-into-the-counter soap dispenser. The dishwasher is my drying rack. And the other items go underneath the sink.

  • #160854

    s
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I burn food in the pot too often, but using a timer and actually keeping an eye on the food cooking, and stirring routinely, might go a long way to helping with that. Then you hardly need more than the sponge and dish soap.

  • #160855

    EraserGirl
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I buy the smallest dishwashing soap container..then buy the biggest one and keep refilling the little one that sits on the sink top. aside from that i use the green scrubbers and there is usually just one sitting in the sink.
    all the spray bottles and whatnot is under the sink… when i do dishes i bring em out and then put them back. I am lucky i have a double sink, so one has dirty dishes in it during the day, but i DO make sure they are washed and put away before i start cooking.

  • #160856

    s
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I actually got a nice soap pump, probably for bathroom hand soap, and refill that from the bigger bottle of dish soap. It’s prettier than a plastic bottle and I can pump just the right amount, so I don’t even have to pick it up with soapy hands/gloves.

  • #160873

    zchristy
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    One bottle of soap – that’s it. The rest goes under the sink. That’s what kitchen cupboards are for. Out of sight. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #160892

    Vanesa
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    Those suction cup caddies are wonderful. I have two – one for my dish sponge and one for my counter sponge. I have one of those sponges with the dish soap in it, but when I didn’t I kept my dish soap in a nice bottle with a spout like they make for olive oil.

    All my other stuff is kept under the sink. I have a plastic caddy attached to the inside of the cabinet door (right at the top, so I don’t have to bend over too far) where I keep small stuff like the sponges and the drain stopper. That way they’re easy to reach if I need them, but they’re not in the way.

  • #160894

    kbfenner
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    You can get very functional sponges with a scrubby side — 3M makes them, as well as plenty of Ocello and generics. Steel wool rusts and degrades and splinters, etc. This plastic stuff lasts and is at least as effective. I have one such sponge–it washes dishes, scrubs pots, wipes down cutting board and counters after I finish washing the dishes, and lasts a good month or more. I nuke it in the microwave for a minute after I’m done. I second the pump bottle strategy– Martha Stewart uses a bottle with a pourer, and I tried that, but used a lot more detergent and it was slippery. I don’t understand vinegar for glasses–hot soapy water seems to do the trick for me, but maybe you have very hard water–so that would be just one more bottle.

    A dishwasher is more environmentally friendly, if you can manage one, though….

  • #160895

    Zora
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I don’t have a dishwasher. On my double sink, I keep a small bottle of dish soap (the Method bottle is very nice) refilled from a larger bottle under the sink, a Japanese plastic scrubber that looks a little like a tribble, a sink stopper, and a handknit cotton washcloth that drapes over the sink divider. Everything else lives under the sink, in plastic baskets or tubs.

    Allow me to enthuse re the virtues of the knitted cotton washcloth. It is kind to glass and china, but nubbly enough to make a good scrubber. It is SANITARY. I have six of them; every day or two, I put the used cloth in the wash and pull out a new, clean one. They last much longer than sponges. They do not shred.

  • #160898

    EraserGirl
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    once i moved away from a dishwasher, i avoid sponges and cloth wash cloths..too many germs. the green scrubby is bad enough but i spray it with chlorox cleanup now and then and toss them often. when you have a dishwasher you can add sponges and washclothes to your load.

  • #160901

    opadit
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I use a few strategies to keep my kitchen sink clean and neat.

    First, I do the dishes every day (I’m not saying the OP doesn’t!), sometimes more than once a day. This way, grungy stuff does not collect around the faucet and seams as easily as when the dishes sit and accumulate for a while. Also, I empty the drying rack every day.

    Second, when I’m done with the dishes, I wipe the sink down with my dishcloth and then dry it with the dishtowel. Bacteria, viruses, and mold and mildew grow more slowly in a clean, dry sink than in a wet sink, even if it’s clean and empty because the dishes are done regularly. Also, I don’t use a rubber tray under the drying rack; I use a dishtowel and change it out every 7 or 10 days, more often in the summer. I’ve found that even when I clean a rubber tray constantly, it still gets too gnarly for me to tolerate, but a dishtowel is easily changed out.

    Third, I keep a lot of my dish-doing items in a crate below the sink, not on the edge of the sink or around it on the counter. So dish soap, scrubbing powder, dishwasher detergent, and extra quantities are out of sight. I keep a bar of soap, the sink stopper, and a scrub pad (actually a small length of plastic mesh from a crate of tangerines) in an old saucer by the faucet. To save money over buying sponges, I use dishcloths that I crocheted myself from cotton yarn. After I do the dishes, I wring the cloth out and lay it over the edge of the sink to dry, and toss it in the laundry when it needs it. Sometimes I just freshen it by getting it soapy with the bar soap and letting it dry without rinsing the soap out. After I dry the sink with the dishtowel, I lay it on the edge of the sink or hang it from a cabinet doorknob.

    Fourth, I scour with Bon Ami or Bar-Keeper’s Friend about once a month.

  • #161563

    bandicoot
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    i don’t use sponges, i am addicted to cotton dishcloths.
    i get out two fresh ones every day ad launder the old ones. over and over and over. they last for years.

    in the sink i have a plastic long handled brush for scrubbing things. and a steel wool scourer. and that’s it.
    we hand wash everything (no dishwasher by choice) and those three things are all we need.

    under the sink i keep dish detergent and a home made general purpose cleaner in a spray bottle.

  • #163543

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I have hand soap and one double sided sponge(kept behind the soap dispenser) by my sink. Under the sink, in a cabinet, I keep a small bottle of dish soap and two cleaning wands. One is soft for glasses and one is rough for grime. I refill the small dish soap container from a wholesale size container in my pantry. I keep a neatly folded dishcloth on the side of my sink for the hand washed items to dry on. Otherwise, everything else goes into the dishwasher.

    When I lived in Sweden, I hand washed all dishes. The standard there is a double sink. One side I used for washing and the other I used as a drying rack. I also preferred clothes to their sponges. I like cellulose sponges and they didn’t sell them (weird quirk of mine I guess lol) I would keep the cloth folded over the divider to the sinks.

  • #163547

    terriok
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    Aw! Rofl!

  • #163550

    Claycat
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    That bunny rack is so cute!

    I don’t use sponges; they are major bacteria collectors. I’m with bandicoot. I use a clean cotton washcloth every day.

    For scrubbing, I use one of those flat green scrubbing pads. I have a brush to get down into glasses and jars, too.

  • #163552

    Lulu
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I also don’t use sponges. I use a clean dish cloth every day. I also don’t use any type of scrubber. If I have a dish that needs scrubbing, I put some baking soda in it and scrub it with my dish cloth. The baking soda takes the baked on food right off.

  • #163555

    Sky
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    Thankfully, I have a dishwasher so all dirty dishes go in there. I have a double bowl, stainless sink with a built-in dishwasher soap dispenser so all I have is a mesh scrubber and my dishcloth on the sink. I have all white cotton dishcloths and dish towels. After dinner and cleanup I spray the sink with cleaner, wipe it with the dishcloth, dry it with the dish towel, toss both in the laundry and put out clean ones and I’m set to start the next morning with a clean sink. I also wash my scrubber in the dishwasher every few days.
    Dishwasher detergent and cleaning products live in the cabinet under the sink.
    Yes, I’m a clean freak.

  • #163556

    Julsave
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I do have a dishwasher but live with 2 boys and 1 husband who apparently can’t figure out how to open it. Seems every time I walk in the kitchen there is more sitting on the counter that needs to go in the dishwasher.

    Around the sink, I have a small clear glass bottle (at one time oil of olay moisturizer came in those nice glass bottles) that I keep dishsoap in. There is a small pottery bowl that holds the steel scrubby. I don’t use sponges. I keep a pretty pottery bowl next to the sink that holds crocheted and knitted dishwashing cloths. Whatever one I’m using I keep folded on the double sink divider (but I constantly change it out – probably go thru 3 a day because I’m just that way – the idea of keeping one sponge or one dishcloth all week just creeps me out).

    Under the sink holds the dishwasher deterg, vinegar, extra scrubs, etc.. A drawer holds handtowels. Usually one to three handtowels are on the different counters in easy reach for spills and those go daily to the laundry.

  • #164240

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I am a professional housekeeper, and I like some of the ideas my clients have taught me. One really good one is IMMEDIATELY empty the dishwasher as soon as possible, due to the rest of the family (Every family…)being blind and not wanting to think about if the dishwasher is clean or not.
    Keeping an OXO reservoir dish liquid brush in the sink can be great. You can’t dilute the detergent, tho. It has to be thick, or it leaks.

    I personally use a setup with my current kitchen (soon to be remodeled)as follows: I have a wire basket attached below the windowsill, above the left side of the sink, with space beneath it for a quick wipe with a sponge. Said sponge (learned from a germphobic Nurse/PhD client) is synthetic foam with a net over it. I buy a batch at the dollar store and chuck when they are no longer cute. I spray a quick hit of chlorine cleaner on it daily or more often with use. (For renewing a natural fiber washcloth and the cellulose sponges, wet thoroughly, lay in a dish, and nuke for 2 minutes in your microwave. NO odors or germs will be left.)

    The wire basket contains: diluted liquid hand soap pump, small canister of Boraxo hand cleaner, stainless steel scrubber, Mr.Clean magic sponge, foam/net sponge, scrubby toothbrush. Hanging from the edge of the basket are my smallish dish brush and my palm sized veggie/potato scrubber brush.

    In one sink is my old faithful dish liquid spray bottle. Once a utensil is done being used, it goes into the sink and is sprayed with the diluted dish soap. I return to it at my leisure during the ensuing cooking/cleanup phase, and it’s pre-soaked, ready to wash.

    I keep a similar, differently colored, sprayer of Chlorine plus dish liquid, you only need a couple of spoons full of the bleach, and a spoonful of detergent plus the water. This I use to disinfect my counters and sink, hit the sponge with it.

    I keep a drawer full of bar mops and dish towels, and go thru a lot of them in a week.

    My “New” kitchen will feature a HUGE single ceramic farmer-style sink, although it will take up less counterspace than the current wimpy double bowls. (IKEA single DOMSJO) Instead of the faucet+escutcheon+sprayer+filterspout lined up along the back of the sink, I am having one simple pull-down, arched spout faucet. (Delta Alora) I will have the stainless drainer that fits the sink, along one side, for a variety of uses. I’ll probably get some rail system with a container or two, near the sink for most of my tools.

    I take great pleasure in swooping through a cooking/cleanup task with fluidity. I find the Mr.Clean magic sponge is terrific to thoroughly clean the faucet and sink, after which I spray a little bleach solution, and it sparkles. There are any number of configurations for one’s sink area, what I find important is clean-ability and simplicity. I also like Not spending much for dish liquid, since I never use it full strength.

  • #164282

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    While preferring the minimal look, our house has been heavily lived-in, and all systems are in place to support swooping over and doing two minutes of clearing up, dozens of times a day. Finally, after 30 years, my DH has learned to load the dishwasher! I have never yet had a kitchen sink that doesn’t have a cupboard underneath, WITH A SWAMP DISASTER IN THE MAKING. The most recent turned out that the connection to the sink drain right at the sink had worked loose and was leaking gently for years. Digesting the wooden cabinet floor. I’d assumed it was occasional overspill from the hole for the hand sprayer. ha. no. Our new kitchen will hopefully avoid that,(no extra holes) and finally for once, we will have more than 20 inches clearance to actually open a cupboard door, without it hitting the island cart, and floor space/working space for the DH that affords access to another sink (adding a mud room sink nearby for his grimy hands, moving the dishwasher to a place away from where I am standing cooking). The marauding toddlers have been launched (now 24 and 26,hallelujah!)and, before long the (nightly) raids on lower cabinets by a twentysomething cat in his second kittenhood will cease. I hope to have the opportunity to put “away” some of the items that are in the neat wall mount basket over the sink. For truly, “the supreme elegance is simplicity.” This topic has been of immense help to me. cheers!

  • #168659

    EraserGirl
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    This is something I am particularly proud of.
    http://flic.kr/p/8qhCmu

    i got metal mesh desktop container and screwed it into the cabinet above my sink.
    When I wash my tools, I just pop them back into dry.

    When i had a countertop container, it was always ICKY in the bottom. and got in the way as well as toppled over a lot. This works SOO much better.

    I also wish I had a few more of these spice racks from Wilton. They stopped making them. I have two above the sink and they hold standard 2″ spice jars.

  • #168672

    bandicoot
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    erasergirl, that’s a smart set-up!
    so, you store those tools there permanently as well? brilliant!
    i’ve seen pics of dish drainers with the same idea in mind: a place to drain AND store.

    we are old fashioned hand washers of dishes here and when i designed our kitchen i did ponder this feature.
    in the end i went with keeping the pots and pans out on metal wall racks and putting the crockery in drawers.
    and hanging the tools on individual hooks above my main prep bench and next to the stove.

  • #168674

    jbeany
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    @ 365lessthings – ahh, an idea I’ve just recently come to embrace. After years with everything I used daily heaped on the bathroom counter, I finally got vicious with the decluttering and opened up enough space in all the cabinets to store it all, even if some things are now on the other side of the room. It only takes a second to walk over and grab it, and another to put it away when I done. The clear counter top is worth the two extra seconds from my day.

    @QualityofLife – my battered old kitchen sink with the jury rigged dishwasher connection is so leak prone that I rearranged the cupboard underneath so that my big and little scrub buckets have permanent homes directly under the pipes. That way, if something starts leaking, it’s contained from the start, and I can get it repaired without having to mop up everything I have stored under there. The only things that get soaked are my floor cleaning sponges in the little bucket and the whisk broom and dust pan that live in the big one.

  • #168710

    EraserGirl
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    @bandicoot yes those items stay there always. i have 2 little drawers 1 for flatware, 1 for cutting boards and things that don’t fit in this container.
    but seriously i don’t hang much beyond the colander. i don’t want to end up dusting everything in the kitchen.

  • #169738

    recycler
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    On my bathroom sink I have only a container of liquid soap. Everything else (except a pack of detergent and a bottle of fabric softener standing on top of my washing machine) is stored in a “cupboard” above the sink. I also keep a wash cloth hanging on the pipes beneath the sink, but it’s not visible unless you bend down to look for it.

    On my kitchen sink there is a bottle of soap standing on the counter next to it and a dishwashing brush that usually lays in the sink. I keep everything else (wash cloths, detergent for dishwasher, bucket, etc.) in the cupboard underneath the sink, so that’s all out of sight.

    For some odd reason, although I have a hard time keeping the rest of my apartment clutter-free, the sinks have never been a problem (except for the occasional build-up of dirty dishes…).

  • #169773

    pkilmain
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    Some good ideas here. We keep a bottle of dishwashing liquid, a bottle of foaming handwash and a container that has a sponge (one of the 3M with soft and scrubbing sides) a bar of soap and a long handled scrubbing brush. Everything else is under the cubboard. While I have a dishwasher, my husband refuses to use it (too noisy, uses too much water – I know, it doesn’t) so we wash dishes after each meal and put them on a cloth on the counter. They airdry in a few minutes or we dry them (depends on the mood). That cloth, the dish drying towel and a hand drying towel hang on a rack my husband installed on the front of the fridge or over the handle of the oven (the wettest gets the rack to itself). I just realized reading this thread we could just open the dishwasher and use the top rack for a drying rack and eliminate the cloth under the dishes….. Since there are just two of us and we eat mostly simple meals it is very quick to just wash up as we go. If we have company over I do override him and use the dishwasher. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #170562

    Honore
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    We seldom eat out, and we don’t have a dishwasher. The porcelain double-sink is, therefore, heavily used and things must be kept handy.

    To the side of the sink is the baking soda (in an old, floral-painted 1950s tin shaker with a screw top lid) used as scouring powder and a small bottle of dish detergent. On the back edge of the sink is the hand soap pump bottle and another pump bottle containing diluted Dr. Bronner’s lavender scented liquid soap (used in scrubbing produce). In the right-side sink is a plastic dish draining rack with a small built-in container that holds the bottle brush and the small vegetable brush. In the cabinet beneath the sink is a spray bottle containing straight vinegar, and a hydrogen peroxide bottle with a spray nozzle – both of which I use to disinfect fresh produce.

    I’ve always used half-worn-out white washcloths as dish rags, which get changed daily. When they get stained, I lay them in the sink, pour bleach onto them, and rub them around to bleach the sink at the same time. All turns out pristinely white. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #171105

    susique
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    @Honore: can i come live with you! very nice truly minimal ideas.

    i only have ss soap dispenser on left of double ss sink and ss lotion dispenser (matching) on right. in lieu of the sink rack, purchased a neat silicone pebble looking mat that fits into the rinsing sink. that and a cotton cloth clean surfaces. also have a ss web mesh soap holder looking thingee with suction cups that holds the sink stopper and the green (3m green thingy that scours crockpot and sinks if used softly) without the harming surfaces thanks to barkeepers ).

  • #171124

    HelofaMess
    Member

    Uncluttering the kitchen sink

    I love these forums! Reading through has made me re-evaluate my kitchen sink space. I was continuing all of my washing up habits from my old apartment and realise I simply don’t need them here! We have a dishwasher and EVERYTHING apart from the wooden chopping board goes in. Already I store the washing up liquid under the sink but, from reading your posts, apart from soap I don’t need to store any of the other things currently in a caddy by the sink (wire wool, long handled brush and a sponge) next to the sink… they can all go under!

    Thanks everyone! Love empty kitchen surfaces! Off to move things around now…

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