To anyone in a standard size home, the topic of compact drying solutions might seem absurd. But small-space dwellers will know what I mean when I say that finding room to dry dishes, plastic bags, linens, etc. in tight quarters can be a struggle. How do you do it without making your home look like it's in a constant state of soggy chaos?
Between the baby bottles, reusable diapers, reusable cleaning rags, etc., the gross wet stuff piles up quickly here at the Cottage. For a while, Adam and I tried hanging loose items around the house. But since our space is so small, this meant that basically everywhere I looked I was reminded of housework-- plus it was an ugly sight. So I decided to find some quick and simple solutions to the problem.
IN THE KITCHEN
Drying Bottles, Plastic Bags, etc.
After having baby West, we realized why so many people use those Boon Grass drying racks. We don't have enough counter space for a traditional square version, but there are narrow options on the market as well. However, since there's so little spare space by the sink, we were always knocking into items and sending them tumbling over, where they'd get dirty once more. It took a month or so, but we finally found a mix of solutions that work well for us, and help us dry West's bottles and accessories, my pumping supplies, reusable plastic bags, glassware, towels, etc. We have a combination of the following:
- Retractable Wooden Drying Rack (for clean bottles, etc.)
- Narrow Glass Drainer / Tray (for the dirty bottles, etc.)
- Paper Towel Holder Magnet (for the dish towels we use specifically on baby stuff)
- Retractable Over-the-Sink Drying Rack (for food processor parts & larger clean items)
- Wall Mounted Baskets (for the miscellaneous little, clean items, such as bottle caps)
- Faucet Sponge Caddy
- Driftwood Accessories Hanger (to help keep baby / vase / cookware (etc) brushes organized and clean)
This might seem like a lot, but we use each of these items multiple times per day here in our little home/office. The great thing is, the racks fold or roll up and easily when not in use, and can be stowed out of sight.
IN THE NURSERY
Drying Burp Cloths, Used Onesies, etc.
Our entire house looked like a clothing line during the weeks after West's birth. His garments, our clothes, and all of the other linens that got wet and needed a place to dry before being thrown into the hamper for the next round of laundry were draped over every surface possible.
To tame this mess, I simply attached a mesh multi-pocket caddy to the side of the baby's combination changer/bathtub table, and the problem was solved. Now the fabrics can stay in the open air until heading to the washer, without cluttering up our house.
IN THE BATHROOM
Drying Reusable Diapers & Cleaning Rags
We were warned by numerous people that there was no way we could make reusable diapers work in such a small space. But we've had no problem with it! We have a wonderful reusable diapering system by Grovia here at the Cottage. But here was the challenge: in such a small space, where would we place the dirty diapers while we were still actively changing the baby? And then where could we put the diapers after we'd rinsed them off, but before they got properly cleaned?
According to the Grovia website, "the surest way to ruin a diaper is to leave it soiled in a closed, dark, warm pail for several days before washing it. This environment is prime breeding ground for fungi and bacteria. Treat your diapers as you would your own clothing. Soiled diapers should be washed every 2 or 3 days according to manufacturer’s instructions."
The system that we came up is certainly not glamorous, but it's effective, keeps our surfaces clear, allows the fabrics to breathe while awaiting a full cleaning, and doesn't take up any valuable space. First we use an S-hook to attach a pail to the changing table (see the above photo). That pail holds the dirty diapers while we tend to West. After the baby's diaper is changed and he is safely relocated, we take the bucket to the bathroom and wash the soaker pad off. The rinsed, wet diaper then goes in a second bucket that is suspended from our narrow shower rod (see photo below), and from there it gets fully cleaned.
So that's how we make it work. I know it's not the most pin-worthy topic, but it's these sort of day-to-day hacks that make small-space living doable with a family!