I Installed $20 Tip-Out Trays in My Kitchen — And It’s the Best Money I’ve Ever Spent

updated Nov 20, 2020
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Credit: Rachel Jacks

I’m always looking for ways to make my kitchen more efficient. Sometimes this means a big investment (I don’t regret the cost to replace my counters with granite at all. They’re so much easier to clean than the weirdly textured laminate we had before!), but sometimes it doesn’t cost much at all. Case in point: my new tip-out trays under the sink. 

Credit: Kaitlin Flannery

More storage is always good storage, so when it occurred to me that these were even an option, I was elated! Immediately, I knew these trays would be perfect for storing my small cleaning supplies like sponges and dishwasher tablets. Despite my best efforts, these essentials just never felt accessible in the cabinet beneath the sink; often stored in their original packaging and falling about themselves alongside vases and an over-full bin for various sprays. Having them readily accessible felt like an easy way to make kitchen life better.

Credit: Kaitlin Flannery

If you need me to back up a second, please allow me to explain tip-out trays. Most non-apron-front sinks have a singular (or two) decorative drawer front. They’re decorative because a drawer wouldn’t fit (because the sink is there!) but there is a little bit of storage space that can be eked out. And so there are these trays. The drawer fronts get put on hinges and then there are little plastic bins that get attached to the inside. Installation is oh-so-simple and can be done alone, with nothing more than a power drill, in just an hour or two. Basically instant gratification that will bring you joy for years to come. For just $20! 

Credit: Kaitlin Flannery

The kit I bought came with a paper template that made drilling the holes into the cabinetry so simple. As I worked, I mentally thanked whoever it was who developed such an ingenious little piece of paper! You hardly have to think to install these things, which is truly a beautiful thing in these COVID times. 

The hinges are strong and cleverly designed, holding your newly installed shelves in place against the cabinetry. The trays are a neat little testament to your domestic prowess that will delight you time and time again. They’re a fun little secret to reveal to friends (someday, when they’re allowed to visit again) with a braggadocios little “I did it myself,” as you withdraw whatever trinkets and treasures you hide within. You may even choose to keep the tip-out shelves themselves a secret — might I suggest using them as a hiding place for the good snacks?

 All told, this project took about an hour-and-a-half. And again, cost me less than $20. The best $20 I’ve ever spent on my kitchen.