life in a tiny apartment.

May 9, 2012


Tip #12: Get a tiny dish rack.

or forgo one altogether.

you’ll notice that this is mostly a photograph of an empty sink.* this is not an accident.

dirty dishes–and i’m taking this one step further–drying dishes are the enemy of apartment sanity.

let me back up. i’m going on the assumption that most tiny apartment dwellers don’t have a dishwasher.** without a dishwasher, dishes have, on average, four different places they can be: in the cabinet (or otherwise put away), on the table (piled high with yummy food), in the sink, or in the dish rack. save the lovely moments of shared mealtime rituals when the things are on the table, i’m voting that mostly dishes should be in cabinets, or on shelves, or wherever they can be that’s neat and tidy.

piles of dishes in the sink is an obvious no-no. if you think back to your college living quarters, i’m sure you will agree. i once spent a summer working on nantucket. 1 house, 12 people, 1 kitchen sink. there were lots of dishes.

unfortunately, dishes in the sink aren’t the only enemy. dishes drying in the rack are also a thing to contend with. when you have a big dish rack (or even a few extra inches of counter space), it’s awfully tempting to let things pile up. last night’s dinner dishes linger until the morning where they become breakfast dishes. a new pot comes out at lunch time and gets added to the mix.  an afternoon snack adds a plate or two and by the time dinner rolls around again, you can’t find your garlic press and your serving spoon is wedged ungracefully beneath the colander and your favorite serving plate. the whole situation becomes like a more complicated version of jenga in which you need to use brute force to wrestle out the pieces.

a tiny dish rack means you whip out a hand towel and actually dry the things. if you have a buddy around, the experience can actually be quite pleasant. whistle while you work and all that jazz. once the dishes are dry, there’s no sense in not putting them away. and just like that, your apartment no longer resembles a jumble sale and you can access your sink without fearing that already clean dishes will tumble back into the fray. serenity.

*if you look hard enough, you can see the corner of the dish rack behind the sink, we have this one.
**don’t get me started on counter-top dishwashers

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  • Reply Lemanie May 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I have a very tiny studio and my dish rack is way too big for my liking…What a great idea..I think I have to now go shopping later for a smaller rack! =)

    Lemanie's Randomness Blog

  • Reply Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn May 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Wait, what's a countertop dishwasher? Sounds unruly. When you got to the bit about not having the required tools for dinner because they're lost in the depths of last night's dirty dishes, I had a hot flash. Glad I'm not the only one who wrestles with her dishes.

  • Reply Amy@OldSweetSong May 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I feel like you are talking DIRECTLY to me. I am so guilty of this! I should just dry them and put them away. It's a few extra minutes of work and then you're all done. Plus a clustered pile of drying dishes ain't cute!

    Hm. I'm going to try this whole "drying your dishes thing." Not quite ready to get rid of my rack just yet.

  • Reply Norma May 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    whistle while you work and all that jazz: Made me laugh~

  • Reply Meg May 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    i love your tiny dishrack! when i lived in a mini apartment, i had a dishrack that was screwed to the wall & folded down (kind of like a wall-mount clothes drying rack), so when it was down it hung above/slightly over part of the sink. it was great – i didn't need a mat underneath because the drips went into the sink, and once things were dry i was motivated to put them away because the drying rack partially blocked the sink and having it open made prepping new meals difficult. it was a great rack! i left it there for the next tenant (who i knew), but sometimes i really wish i still had that little piece of happy convenience 🙂

  • Reply Milynn luong May 10, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I lived with a bunch of my guy friends in college, so the dishes were always piled high, whether it was dirty or clean. I blame our dish rack for allowing the clean dishes to pile up.

  • Reply Emily May 10, 2012 at 2:36 am

    As someone who also lives in a tiny apartment, I totally appreciate this post! So thoughtful and honest about living in cramped situations! And that tiny dish rack is adorable! Also, I love your beehive blender – I want one so badly!

  • Reply kay* May 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    this is such a great tip! when i lived along in a small apartment i did have a regular size dish rack and you're right – i'd often let the dishes sit on it and not put them away. my sister on the other hand, has never had a dish rack (even though she now has more than enough space) and her counter tops always look tidy.

    i think in my next apartment i just may try and forego a dish rack….or maybe just get a really small one.

  • Reply Vanessa {Vanilla and Rose} May 11, 2012 at 1:55 am

    This is too funny. My tiny kitchen was the worst thing about my apartment and the dish rack I had was … horrible! I love your tiny dishrack! It'd be perfect if I ever run into that problem again!

  • Reply Sarah May 12, 2012 at 2:47 am

    It's good advice even for those of us who don't live in tiny apartments! I've been trying to keep my dishrack clear lately and it does help (but why, WHY must the rack itself be so ugly?)

  • Reply Kate Kurt June 2, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Wow! You're adorable, how you put your tiny apartment in order. That's cool and very inspiring!

  • Reply Valerie {all mussed up} June 24, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Oh god, yes. The BANE of our existence in our otherwise badass little bunker house.

  • Reply brian and amanda June 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    even though you have a tiny apartment, your kicthen is cute! everything is! love the bedding on your bed as well.

  • Reply Alyssa March 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I love all of your tiny apartment posts. I have a question that relates to dishes. I don't have a dishwasher. I do have a dish rack. But I sometimes find that my dishes don't get as clean as I'd like. I find that I'm washing double sometimes. I do my best to really grind against the gunk, but sometimes it just isn't working. Any tips!

  • Reply emmyb June 9, 2013 at 2:42 am

    I've never thought of ditching the dish drying rack. I wonder if I could convince my husband…?!

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