Monday, March 22, 2010
I just realized that even though I love the dish drying rack that I have -- it is a trap: my counter looks totally cluttered because things tend to collect there, and the rack itself collects debris and should be cleaned more often than it gets cleaned.
So -- I am trying an experiment: I am retiring it. With the intent of pulling it out when cleaning up from a large party or something... but it may go permanently... we'll see.
How about it -- a kitchen organizing article about dish racks -- for drying dishes, for in cabinets, and how to store racks for drying when not in use... mine is proving to be a royal pain to store! (Though I love the Simple Human double tier rack that I currently have...
--reader Julie Shannon
Julie, let's look at some possible answers from the simplest to most complex.
1. Just use a towel.
I know plenty of people - including myself and my stepmom, Wendy - who don't use a rack. I actually have fond memories of cleaning up after parties with Dad and Wendy: Motown music playing, towels on the counter for the things that didn't go in the dishwasher, Wendy washing, Dad and me drying.
At home, when I'm just washing a few dishes for myself, I don't even bother with the towel. I just put the dishes on the counter, dry them, and wipe the counter dry.
2. Get a drying tray or mat.
I'd never heard of these until I went looking for answers to your question - and there are a lot of options. You could consider any of these:
- The DryMate Kitchen Dry Mat shown above.
- The silicone drying mats from Oxo.
- The Original Dish Drying Mat, from Garden Botanika.
- The brightly-colored glass drying mats from Make My Day in Australia (small and large).
3. Get a folding or collapsible rack.
There are a lot of options here, too. A basic folding bamboo dish rack can be found many places, but if you're willing to spend more, you can get this lovely dish rack from Crate and Barrel. It folds entirely flat, too. Update on June 28, 2011: Crate and Barrel no longer carries this dish rack.
Another interesting collapsible is the high&dry.
Progressive International also has an interesting collapsible dish rack, sold by Sur La Table and others. There's an over-the-sink version, too.
And here's another folding dish rack.
4. Get a in-sink dish rack.
Some of these, like the sink dish rack from Umbra, wouldn't take much room when removed.
5. Get an astiankuivauskaappi - a Finnish dish-drying cabinet.
OK, this one is a bit hard to do in the U.S., and it won't work for every kitchen. But the idea is very cool. You can see more photos here and here; read about the dish draining closet on Wikipedia, and even become a fan of the astiankuivauskaappi on Facebook. You can also see the same type of arrangement in Italy.
[Lead photo by camerasutra / Shelley Mags, licensed under Creative Commons. Photo of dish-drying cabinet used with permission.]