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Picture of Kitchen Hacks - Everything ABOVE the Kitchen Sink
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My husband and I recently moved into a new house.  While we love most of the house's features, I happen to dislike the amount of counter and storage space available in the kitchen.  

We have two small counters on either side of the sink, and several short and shallow shelves on either side of an empty nook above the sink.  The cabinets that we do have, I'm too short to reach!   I've taken up most of the available counter space and cabinet space already with most of our food, dishes, etc.  but there was no where to hang up dish towels, or put sponges and wash cloths where they wouldn't go sour.  

I figured the big empty nook above the sink would be a prime spot to store such things.  They would be out of the way, yet easily accessible when cleaning up the kitchen,  would let soggy things drip into the sink instead of onto the floor or counter.

What You Will Need
Hammer & Nails (Hopefully you'll have some around the house, you'll be amazed what you can do with them.)
Small Adjustable Curtain Rod, about $2-$5 at Walmart, Home Depot, or Big Lots. (Note:  You'll want to measure your nook to know what size to get)
Shower Caddy, about $1-$3 at Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Big Lots, or Wal Mart

 
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Step 1: Stage Left - Drying Rack for Scrubbers and Sponges

Picture of Stage Left  - Drying Rack for Scrubbers and Sponges
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One of the last times I stopped in at my local Dollar Tree, I came across a wire shower caddy and realized how perfect it would be for storing sponges in the kitchen, so that they could dry without going sour.  I purchased it and tried it out above the sink - it has been working wonderfully for us!

You don't need to invest in a heavy duty shower caddy, just a cheap wire one from your local dollar store or bargain shop works very nicely for this purpose.  Just use your handy hammer and nails, center it up, and hang your caddy

Step 2: Center Stage

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Now that we had a nice place to hang our sponges and scrubbers when we were washing our dishes, we would need somewhere to hang our dishcloths and towels after we were finished drying them.

I had purchased an adjustable silver curtain rod for a  window in the house, but it turned out to be slightly to large.  However, it was the perfect size to turn into our kitchen towel rack!

Simply adjust the rod as directed on it's packaging (usually rotating to lengthen or shorten the rod) at the desired spot to secure on the wall.  Make sure it is level, and try to give it a few extra rotations - It will give your makeshift towel rod more strength.

Note:  This is not as secure as a mounted towel rack, be sure not to put large amounts of weight on it or hang objects other than towels or dishcloths on it.  However, my rack CAN hold up to 5 heavy-duty kitchen towels.

Step 3: Stage Right - Oven Mitt

Picture of Stage Right - Oven Mitt
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Now, I've got everything just above stored for when I'm cleaning up the kitchen, but how about those things I only need when I'm cooking?  Namely, I have my oven mitt.  I didn't really have anywhere to store it. 

Until Now

Oven mitts are one of those things that usually come with it's own hanger.  I get excited now when I find anything that is made so that it can easily be hung onto a wall, it saves so much space!  This cool trick can also be done with trivets, pot holders, and kitchen utensils that have a hole for hanging.

Simply tap another nail into the wall, and voila!  Your oven mitt is now both out of the way and easily accessible!

Step 4: Backstage

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Now, when you are washing dishes, you have to have somewhere to put them to dry.  (Unless you can wash and dry at the same time, or you and your dishwashing partner have odd washing-drying synchronicity.)  This usually requires a slightly bulky item, known as the dreaded dish drainer. 

It's bulky.  It spends a lot of the time sitting empty on the counter taking up valuable space that I could be using to make muffins or another similarly delicious baked good.

So, with a lot of today's dish drainers, you'll find with a couple of nails in the wall you can easily hang them up to save space.  (Once again, this is GREAT for over the sink, just in case there is a little dampness or dribble that needs to drain.)

Carefully center your nails about 4-6inches apart so that your dish drainer will hang straight.  I recommend using a level for this.

Step 5: Encore - Microwave Cover

Picture of Encore - Microwave Cover
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I hate getting splatters all over the microwave.  I also hate that half the time, I made a lot of them because I was too lazy to go dig the cover out of the drawer.

Solution?  Hang the cover on the wall beside the microwave, easily within reach (and a great reminder for my husband!)

This is another simple nail-in-the-wall kinda solutions.  Simply tap the nail into the center of the wall at the most-convenient level to hang it.  Most of the basic microwave covers hang very well on a single nail.
carl.myhill6 months ago

I just did something similar to this in a small kitchen. I realised IKEA kitchen cabinets are cheaper if you dont buy the doors (£17). You can also replace shelves in some of their cupboards with dish drainers. That way, when you wash up you can put the things to drain right back into the cupboard (I'd seen something similar in Spain). The ikea version has a tray underneath but in spain i've seen these open at the bottom letting drips back into the sink. http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/20204614/ If you hang stuff up, it's surprising how easy it is to keep a small kitchen functional.

thundrepance10 months ago

all you need now is to paint a nice trompe l'oeil scene on that view-halting wall over the sink & you'll want to hang out there all the time! :)

1samna1 year ago

My current (rental) kitchen looks a lot like yours....TY for the ideas on how to make the space work better...all I did was put a hook bar (Dollar store verson) accross the back for hanging things! I may adapt a few things (cup hooks I have lots of!), but I think I will use a lot of this! No microwave so I will be putting the peg board idea someone mentioned below in that area! TY again!

You are a woman who loves her husband. I also made do in a small space and the ingenuity God gave me in such matters truly blessed my husband. One such space saver was a cupboard on wheels( my little island)wheels are cheap...
A painted pegboard that just fits the space & appropriate hooks would take this doable project up a notch. While searching for a large drainer I found a site that mounts a drainer shelf between the two upper cabinets over the sink. Lowes/Home Depot will cut wire shelving to fit and you could place the shelf between the two cabinets. Viola, drain, display or store your pretty glasses upside down after washing and rinsing them..
Miss Misery2 years ago
I so wanted to do this in my parent's kitchen. Their scrubbies get GROSS and sit there on the counter looking nasty. I can't stand doing the dishes cause I don't even feel like I'm cleaning them!!!

The problem is that my parent's sink is on an 'island' dividing the kitchen from the living room, meaning no wall space! Even worse-- they have no wall space anywhere in the kitchen because they have so many damn cabinets!

I'm reorganizing (I should say organizing bc you can't reorganize the unorganized) their kitchen for them while they are away on business and so I'm about to get wicked creative on the sponge problem.

I hope they don't hate me when they return and I have life-hacked their house! Thanks for the inspiration!
MarieBlanc2 years ago
These are excellent ideas, thank you! :) My appartment right now if small with basically no counter space around the sink, so these ideas will work really great for my space.
flyingpuppy2 years ago
Love your thought process! Effective and cheap cleanup!
scoochmaroo2 years ago
This is great! I'm an idiot when it comes to utilizing space, so I'm always impressed what people come up with. Well done!