The Inexpensive Dish Rack Alternative I Love for My Tiny Kitchen

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One of my never-ending quests for my tiny apartment kitchen has been finding the perfect dish rack. “Perfect,” of course, is entirely subjective, but I want a system that will hold all my dishes when I need it and pack up neatly and easily for storage when I don’t.

The only problem? Thus far (at least based on my extensive searching), such a dish rack does not exist. Collapsible options are great for occasional storage, but I’ve yet to see one that can easily be used and then put away several times a week without being a total pain.

Non-collapsible options? Well, they require an entire cabinet when not in use and I just don’t have a cabinet to spare. All of that’s to say that I’ve finally concluded that the best small dish rack isn’t a dish rack at all — it’s a drying mat.

3 Drying Mats We Love

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While some options start at just $4, this $13 model has one huge advantage: it has a loop. Once I’m done using it, I simply hang it up on a small Command hook on the side of a cabinet, allowing it to dry throughly (and clear up my counter space). A nice compromise between the rack and mat is this Umbra UDRY dish mat, which comes with a removable plastic rack for plates and silverware, and is still able to be folded up or hung nicely to dry.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Even if you don’t have a tiny kitchen, the drying mat is a great way to create extra drying space when needed (and even get rid of dish racks altogether if you don’t hand wash dishes all that often).

The only downside is that they do not last forever. Even with frequent drying between uses, my dish mat does require occasional replacing (once a year or so) because it gets cruddy over time. But I’m willing to spend a few bucks once a year if it means I get to keep all of my counter space.

What about you? Are you Team Dish Rack or Team Drying Mat?