life in a tiny apartment.

October 3, 2018

Tip # 176: Get a magnetic thing-y for your knives, take two.

Last week’s encounter with our neighborhood knife grinder lit a fire under me to figure out a solution for storing our kitchen knives. Like so many folks living in a small space, our kitchen lacks both a lot of counter space and even a single drawer. Instead, we’ve kept our knives secure and visible on a magnetic rack installed on the wall (you can spot it here). The only trouble is, that as our kids have grown, they’ve taken a liking to sitting uncomfortably close to the knives. I’m not what you might call a worry wart, but each morning we witnessed a perilous dance between buttery hands and flailing arms and a whole row of potentially lost fingers. When we moved out of our apartment for a few weeks this spring, we had to take down the rack (and everything else that hangs in this place) and when we moved back in, we didn’t put it back up.

For the past four months we’ve had our knives lined up neatly piled haphazardly onto a dishtowel on the back of a different kitchen counter, which kept them out of reach of kids, but in the way of nearly everything else. I wanted a simple solution, but I also wanted the right solution. So as is my wont, I deliberated. Tiles and electrical wires meant that the other kitchen walls were off the table. I tried to imagine myself living with a knife block. (Couldn’t.) I asked a certain leathersmithing friend for help dreaming up a simple pocket sheath to store them in. (The solution was brilliant, but the knives would have remained in reach.)

I didn’t feel as though I’d landed on the right thing until I found myself wiping down the side of the fridge last week and realized with a start that what we really needed was a magnetic rack that was also a magnet itself. Does such a thing exist? 

Why yes.

So here’s my unabashed enthusiasm for a bit of metal that nearly pinned my fingertips to the fridge. It hasn’t transformed this rental kitchen into the space of my dreams, but it’s certainly gotten it one tiny step closer and whole lot more organized. Here’s hoping a doubly magnetic knife rack might help a few fellow tiny apartment dwellers in their quest for a clutter-free kitchen. (Larger space dwellers also permitted to take advantage.)

For the curious:

Our magnetic knife rack.

Our small kitchen knife set; our santoku; our chef’s knife; our bread knife.

Our corkscrew (a gift I brought to James from France when I was 22)!

Our neighborhood knife grinder.

Plus, a few other kitchen and household essentials.

Tiny apartment survival tips #1 – 175.

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  • Reply Arianna October 3, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    This is perfect timing for us! Except we have a curious three year old and it seems that this solution would still keep the knives in reach of little ones???

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 3, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Ha, well, they’re not on the top shelf of a locked cabinet, for sure, but they’re tucked away from the counter where our kids sit to eat breakfast and they’d have to drag a chair over to reach the knives, so it’s a big improvement for our family.

  • Reply MissEm October 3, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    I would love to know your research strategy when looking for things that are ethically and well made and offer simple solutions. I know this isn’t really a prime test case of that, but it does seem to be a powerful skill you have!

  • Reply Rachel Eady October 3, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I’ve done the same with our Ikea magnetic rack, but it wasn’t made for that so, though we reinforced it with a few little magnets inside, it slooowly slides down the fridge. Perhaps I should have gone for this one! Have you found this one stays put over say… a week?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 4, 2018 at 8:44 am

      This one has extremely strong magnets. I can hardly slide it on the fridge with force. That said, maybe you just need to add a few more stronger magnets to your DIY version!

  • Reply Lizzy October 4, 2018 at 3:56 am

    I live for home hacks at the moment! I am moving into my new home next week (eek!) and I have found your blog and book quite helpful to prepare me for living in an unfinished house. So far I have only lived in furnished homes, but this house will need some TLC before I can call it my home. I am dedicated to making slow and mindful choices when decorating and furnishing the house.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 4, 2018 at 7:58 am

      Exciting! So glad you’ve found this space and my book helpful! Happy nesting!

  • Reply Maryann October 4, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I love a good home hack. Plus your knives look so pretty. Do you like your bread knife? I think we are in the market for a replacement for ours.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 4, 2018 at 8:43 am

      We do! We just got it sharpened after five years or so and now it’s back in good shape and ready to go!

  • Reply Madeleine October 4, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    An elegant solution! And you have very aesthetically pleasing knives – I love all the wooden ones. I couldn’t live with a knife block cluttering up our surfaces, either.

  • Reply Nikki October 5, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Very clever use of space. We also have our knives on a magnetic strip, however sharps are up, not down…do you think there is such a thing as knife point etiquette 😉 ?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 5, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      Ha. I think it’s just a question of preference!


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