Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Kitchen Conundrum

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is my kitchen (it's messy, I know, please don't judge). Specifically, this is my kitchen as viewed from the back door.

Why am I showing you this? Well...see that small pile of rags on the floor to the right of the door? That pile is my current storage/cleaning/organizational dilemma.

I use a fair amount of rags a day, a number that is about to increase dramatically as I cut out all paper towels, pre-made wipes, sponges and mop heads from our home (a topic for another post). And those rags, which need to go down to the basement to be washed, get tossed in that small pile to the right of the basement door.

What I NEED is some sort of way to dry the rags (so they don't get mildew-y and gross and smelly) and then a hamper to toss them into once they are dry so that at the end of the week I can take the hamper downstairs and wash all the rags at once.

That said, what I HAVE is not-that-much-extra-space to do this in.

As you can see from this alternative view of the kitchen, there isn't much room on the other side either:

But I THINK maybe I might be able to do something here in the small area between where the basement door is and where the cabinets start which is currently where the kitty food dispenser and water is, but she's flexible, right?

The space is pretty limiting, only about 23.5" wide between the counter edge and where the wall extrudes out. And there has to be enough room for the basement door to open all the way. And I need it to look nice, since it is right there in the kitchen. Plus it needs to be multi-functional...remember, I need to be able to dry things and to store them away until laundry day.

So, here are the options I have come up with...

Option 1: a beadboard drying rack from Ballard Designs for $89. The rack is 27" high and 23" wide, so it will completely fill the width of the area. And the depth is good; it is only 2 3/8" deep when closed and it looks like it can be closed and still have things on it drying.

My concern is that if I have the rags out drying, that they will be ugly...and prominently displayed in all of their ugly-ness. Also, I am concerned about smell...but I guess that is a concern with all of the options.

Option 2: is this slide out hamper from Home Decorators Collection for $129. I love the functionality of the slide out hamper, but there is no place to dry the cloths before dumping them in here unless I combine this with Option 1 which would be cost prohibitive. Besides, wouldn't it look weird to have a 17" wide 13" deep hamper under a wall unit that is 23" wide and only 2" and change deep? I feel like that would look off balance. Lastly, the hamper is deep enough that in order for the basement door to still be able to open all the way, the hamper would need to be installed all the way to the left of the space, further making the set up awkward.Option 3 is the option I am truly coveting and it doesn't even actually exist!

IKEA has these Sandnes shoe cabinets in tall and wide and they are only 6 3/4" deep. The problem is that the tall one is too wide (and too tall for that matter) at 27 1/2". The wide one is obviously too wide at 37 3/4", but it is the perfect height at 35 3/8".

If they were the right widths, these would work awesomely as my hamper. I only need a small amout of space to store the rags and the slim profile of these cabinets make them a perfect fit.

I tried to look up plans for making a cabinet like this and realized that it would be stupid to go and purchase all of the materials and have to make the whole thing from scratch when I can potentially use the materials from one that is already designed.

So now, I am actually wondering if I could purchase the wide model (for $99) and REALLY hack it to make it work for me.

I am thinking if I use my husband's table saw, I can cut the top and the bottom pieces so that they are only 1/2 as wide and then omit the center rail and 1/2 of the drawers. The width would be around 19" which will fit in the space nicely. And I can paint it to match the cabinets or if I go with the drying rack, I could paint to match that. What do you think? Am I crazy for even thinking this? Do you have any other magical solutions?


  1. Less classy, but cheaper: could you add a towel rack or some hooks to the side of your cabinet (next to the cat's dishes?) These would be mostly out of sight, and would give the rags a place to dry out. Then, a basket or bin to toss them in to -- either inside a cabinet, or a free standing solution like the slide-out hamper.

    Also, I don't know if you've seen this, but Centsational girl made her own drying rack like the one above. Cost effective, and you could customize the size to fit your space. http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2009/07/diy-laundry-room-drying-rack/

  2. What about using the space 'right' inside the basement door?

    Either a towel rack hanging to it on the 'inside' of the door OR hanging that wall drying rack on the wall heading down into the basement? (I love that rack!)

    As for storage/basket - I think that's the easiest of your 'problems' :)

  3. I know it wouldn't be pretty, but if it were me I'd probably go with two hooks and add a couple of straps w/ snaps (like stroller straps) to a white mesh lingerie bag to hang across them. That way they could be contained and air out at the same time and you could just dump the entire (open) bag into the wash when it gets full. They would fall out during the wash so you wouldn't even have to handle them again until they were clean. :) I'd probably put on the back of the basement door or even on the side of the cabinet that faces the door... it's definitely not a pretty showcase-worthy solution like those you have above!

  4. http://www.organize.com/exwaldryer.html


    I agree with Jilian, right inside the basement door, above your head so its out of the way. Let us know what you do.

  5. I like the drying rack idea, and maybe give them all a spray when you hang them up. Can you fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of the essential oil scent of your choice? (or insert some other super-housewife-secret like baking soda or whatever... I'm sure there's a great mixture idea that I just don't know about.)

  6. This isn't a bad idea and it's cheap.

  7. Hmmm. We use rags and cloths for the majority of our housekeeping, but I just toss them in a separate, small, laundry hamper without worrying about drying them first. I generally wash them in the same load as other household linens, and haven't really noticed a smell, as long as I wring them out thoroughly. If I, however, put them in a CLOSED container (such as a plastic bag) when they're wet, they reek to high heaven!