Decluttering Help - Dish Rack on counter vs. sink, folding vs. no

dreamojeanSeptember 19, 2013

I'm trying to decide between having a dish rack on our meager countertop and if so whether to have a folding one (and if so which model), OR having an over-the-sink dishrack/drainer - or perhaps even using the grids on our new Kraus 60/40 double undermount sink as in-sink dishracks. Do people do that?

We tend to be cluttered, hand-washing plastic and stainless steel pots/pans (and I just posted about that issue), and when we have the classic dish rack with drainer next to the sink, the hand-washed items stack up and it's just a big clutter-fest in and around the sink.

Help! I really need to change our system by finding a way to put more dishes in the dishwasher (we just bought an entry level Miele), or having an in-sink drying rack, or a folding countertop rack - something where we have more use of our new countertop in our smallish NYC kitchen.

It's a white/stainless steel kitchen so any racks we get have to be white and/or stainless steel, it'll look way better. Unless we just use the grids in the sink and call it done.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Have you considered a microfiber drying mat? Best $5 that I have ever spent. You can get a couple of them and fold them and put away in a drawer when not in use. They take up no space.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Best 50-cents I ever spent was at a church rummage sale on a 7.5"-wide dishrack that rests on the front and back edges of the sink. It holds pretty much everything that doesn't go in the dishwasher, and in the morning the plastics from the dishwasher go in it to finish drying. It's big enough to hold plenty, but small enough that I can't put TOO much in! And I still have access to the sink (it's a double sink).

(sign of the times, there is no longer a "cent" sign on my keyboard! LOL!)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Since you have a double sink, you could just use the grid on one side as a drying SIL has that setup. I have a single sink and use just the clear plastic tray that you use under a regular plastic can buy them separately. It is in a corner which is pretty unusable for counter space above an 18" cab that houses the pullout trash and the junk drawer.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 7:15PM
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I throw a dish towel on the stove and stack my hand washed dishes there. They dry rather quickly and don't use counter space. (assuming you are washing dishes after the meal is cooked)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 7:32PM
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I have a double sink and use one side for washing and the other side for drying. It's nice that way cause you don't really see what's drying from afar. I plan on getting another double in the new kitchen as well.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 7:55PM
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Change your system. You already said it. There are two types of people, those who use a dishrack and those who don't.
I was raised by a no dish rack mom. We were not the most tidy but the kitchen had little counter space and we also just used a clean folded dish towel. BUT after all dishes were washed, we DRIED them and put them AWAY. Nothing in the sink or on the counter. My older sister went to college when I was six and this became my job.
My DH was raised in a dish rack family. There was NO counter space in my MIL's kitchen; but there, as important as the range in that kitchen, was the dish rack. It never moved, always full of dishes. Even with no countertop!
In our married life I am SO FORTUNATE to have a DH who does the dishes. We have graduated to sham-wows for the folded towel... But he does not dry, he also washes everything prior to the dishwasher...I don't complain. Much.
But it really takes maybe five minutes to dry and PUT AWAY.
The big trick is to have a place for everything first, so putting away is easy and quick.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 8:07PM
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We had a 50/50 sink before. One side had a rack all the time. DH has an amazing ability to stack that thing!

We now have an Orca. I made a point of replacing our 11 year old plastic containers with stacking ones that can go in the DW. So easier to wash and store. We use the Orca grids as drain boards, and also a large foam-type microfiber covered mat that we fold and store under the sink when not in use.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 8:40PM
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I've always been a dish drainer person, and the dish drainer was always filled with drying pots, pans and plastics. I got a pretty new drainer to use in the new kitchen, used it for a week, and then couldn't take its counter-hogging, cluttery-looking ways another minute. I got a microfiber mat, which worked pretty well, and then graduated last week to a silicone mat from Amazon. (The reason for that switch is that the microfiber doesn't allow air inside an inverted pot or glass, and so they didn't dry fully. The silicone mat is kind of a grid on top of a drain board, so that it allows air underneath and stuff dries better.

Neither the microfiber nor the silicone holds quite as much as the dish drainer, but both look a lot better and also, they encourage me to put the dried dishes away quickly. Stuff doesn't pile up quite as much. I really never thought I could change my entrenched drainer habit (see ppbenn's comment above), but the new kitchen has made a better housekeeper out of me, at least in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 8:54PM
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I lived, and still live (yay, Orca owners!) like williamsem. When we had a double bowl the dirty stuff was cleaned on the right and left to dry on the sink grate on the left. The Orca now gives us the convenience of a single with the option(s)of having a drying rack in the sink.

All Orca-ing aside, if you want to keep the counters clear, get a rack for the dishes that fits in your future sink. Problem solved!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 8:57PM
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I am not the worrld's best house cleaner but can't stand kitchen counter clutter. Like the above posters, the Orca's bottom grid is used as a dish drainer but dishes are immediately dried and put away. Who wants dishes hiding the view of their beautiful new sink or kitchen counter?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:47PM
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When I had a double sink, I used one side for a dish drainer and it was always there. Now I have a single bowl sink with a grid. Lesson #1 - pots and such left to dry on the grid don't dry. We generally wash stuff and lay it out on a towel on the counter to dry. Better than that is to pull the cookie cooling rack out from the vertical storage space above the fridge and place the drying pots and whatever there. That works best, but mostly I just go with the towel - we have lots of towels, so I don't mind using a few for this. The important part is to get them off the counter and away as soon as they're dry. I even occasionally dry the things, but prefer air drying.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 12:08AM
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We used to have a dish rack.. That is until DD used that one of the samples for a science experiment on bacteria for a school science fair. Let me just say that the dish rack floor which visibly looked clean enough ranked higher than the toilet and the sink. I have a microfiber dishat for. Container store for occasional use. We do have sloped drain boards on all 3 sides of the sink for any draining needs. The counters get wiped down and sanitized pretty much everyday. Like justmakeit, we have mostly graduated to wipe and it away people.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 12:25AM
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I also have a new microfiber mat for drying. Love it, and it gets put away when not in use. And I put my plastics in the dishwasher (I don't use the drying mode) and try to hand wash my pots, depending on how ambitious or lazy I'm feeling, they do go in the dishwasher sometimes.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 7:23AM
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That is one of the reasons I love my double sink and hope to have one whenever we redo my kitchen. It's easy to say that drying doesn't take long, but sometimes, time is at a premium. I use plastic containers for my kids' lunches and with four kids, that's a lot of plastic every day. I run the dishwasher at night then in the morning, the plastic stuff is usually still wet when I empty the dishwasher. I just stagger/stack the plastics in my left sink to dry. I don't use a grid or rack, I just kind of stagger them on top of each other as they wouldn't fit in a rack well. I don't have time in the morning to try to dry it all right then - feeding four kids, making their lunches, etc and trying to get them out of the house by 7:15 doesn't leave me much time. So that method works for me. I like having the clutter in my sink where I can't really see it while it dries. It's usually dry by late morning when I'm back from my morning errands, so then I put it all away.

Personal preference I suppose. If I didn't have much to dry, I'd just hand dry it right away. If you don't have much counter space and don't want to hand dry right away, using your second sink would probably be best!

This post was edited by fourkids4us on Fri, Sep 20, 13 at 8:23

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 8:22AM
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I have two microfiber mats that are kept under the sink and periodically thrown in the washing machine. When I handwash anything, I either pull out a mat, lay out a dish towel, or just set the wet stuff right on the counter. Then it gets dried right away, either by me or by a helper, and the mat is put away to dry. I love my pretty new counters too much to cover them unnecessarily. Did you ever see the thread about "did your new kitchen make you a better housekeeper?" The answer for me is yep! My small kitchen looks way less cluttered now, and the lack of dish drainer is one big reason.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 4:58PM
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The microfiber mat is the way to go. I like the big ones from Bed, Bath and Beyond

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 5:41PM
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We hand wash plastic, wooden handled items and pots. Never found a rack that worked well for that. When we redid we switched to just the drain mat sans rack.

Most often the missus washes, loads onto the mat, and I come along and dry- anything that can gets put away immediately- all of it goes within arms reach of where I'm standing to dry. The plastic used to sit on a towel till completely dry.

Picked up a roller mat recently -stainless rods joined at each end with a rubber strip. It lives half folded across the sink most of the time- during the day serves as a drying rack for the odd cup or glass leaving the sink grid free. I now use that instead of a towel I move the roller mat onto the counter--what little drips under it is not a big deal.

For folks who don't use the DW much it makes a great drying rack with no counter clutter. Just leave the door cracked a little.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 6:30PM
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If you have a close by wall, you can have wall mount dish rack.

Here is a link that might be useful: dish rack

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Where is that roller-mat thing from?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 6:58PM
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A lot of sink companies have them now-Franke, Karran, Artisan all had em at KBIS.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 8:24PM
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I'm sure it's been weighed in on, but especially with limited counter, why not commit to running the dishwasher more often--and saying no to air-drying stuff on your counter every day? Don't buy any of these things so you don't have one handy.

Uncluttered counters are important to me, and I value my own dishwasher far more for holding dishes, both prewash and postwash, out of sight and out of the way than for actual washing. I replaced all everyday items that couldn't go in it with ones that can.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Ever since I got a new Bosch, I've been a lot more analytical about my dishwashing habits. I've come to the realization that, as a single person, I could easily get by without a DW, as I do a lot of handwashing and air drying. Would I want to be without a DW? Nope. It's a great place to stash dirty dishes and/or when I have people over.

I regard dishes drying, whether on the counter or in the sink, as just part of life. Quite often I wash something by hand because I will need it in the next hour or two and I don't want it out of commission in the DW tomb for the next 90-120 minutes.

I think an uncluttered counter is a worthy ideal, but when I may use a total of 3 dishes in a day, plus the odd fork and spoon, I just cannot run a DW when a simple rinse and wipe and I'm done.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 3:12PM
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I try to put as much as possible in the dishwasher. I use a microfiber mat for hand washed and DW damp items. I like that it encourages me to put it away stuff more often than the dish rack as it looks so nice when its empty... or better yet, thrown under the sink.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 6:41PM
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Belated thanks all! I ended up buying a microfiber mat, the big reversible kind at Bed Bath these days with the cloth side on one side and a lattice (quick-dry) on the other, and it's been great. I'm also considering getting a plastic roller mat type thing for if we need more coverage - plus when I posted to this forum I had already bought a silver dish rack with white plastic dishrack base (for water runoff) since white/silver matches my kitchen well, and we are storing that more traditional dish rack above the microwave in case we ever need to use it.

My goal is to mostly stick with the microfiber drying mat and (if I buy it) the roller mat. Plus I'm using dish towels to supplement the drying mat.

I also have relented on the plastic in the dishwasher, so more plastic and pans are going into the dishwasher, cutting down on the amount of items for hand washing anyway. I now find that I need the drying mat and dish towels more to air dry the clean items that come out of the dishwasher, for a little bit, before putting them away.

This system is working much better! We still sometimes have too much stuff in the sink(s) but it's better and I love having more countertop space, and the ability to move the drying mat to the island or next to the sink, so easily, and hang-dry it in the bathroom if needed.

Thanks again! I love this forum

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:54PM
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modern life interiors


    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 8:17PM
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When I had a double sink, I had a rack in one bowl at all times. Now we have a single bowl and I have an across the sink, foldable rack that I like a lot. We have a toddler = lots of plastic so we constantly have stuff in it but when we have company, I can stash it away. It's also dishwasher safe.

I have one like the link below. Only wish I had seen in that color!

Here is a link that might be useful: foldable dish rack

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 9:16PM
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I just replaced my bulky dish rack with a 5$ microfiber mat form homegoods. Have used it for 2 weeks and LOVE it!!!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 10:42PM
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modern life interiors


    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Roller mat - It isn't on amazon so I did some digging and found the Franke model, but since I have a Kraus sink and no stainless steel drainboard I suspect that it isn't worth $125-$130 to buy this admittedly gorgeous item vs. just something simpler - here's a link to the roller mat on one site -

as for amazon, the closest I found is the $15 OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Drying Mat (link is ) - it also rolls away when not in use and I might buy that to supplement the drying mat we now use and love, and now we also use dishtowels when drying items before putting them away. No more big dishrack always out, yay.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 9:32AM
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I don't use a drying rack, I dry the odd item that doesn't go in the dishwasher with a towel. I find drying racks so ugly and cluttery and drying immediately with a towel and then putting it away seems cleaner. On the occasion where I have a bunch of hand wash items (after thanksgiving or xmas dinner), I just lay down an extra kitchen towel and put things on it after washing them, then immediately dry them after all the washing is done. Very simple and then I can clean off the counter once the drying is done.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 2:30PM
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I am in a rental and our dw doesn't work. Sometimes, I use the DW rack to dry the dishes after washing. It eliminates my need to have a rack on our counter. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 7:32AM
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junco East Georgia zone 8a

I saw the roller mats at Lowe's yesterday. Around $30, as I recall.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 2:13PM
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