Wnat an instant upgrade to your kitchen? Replace your dish rack
Let's be clear: Dish racks are kind of the worst. In an ideal world, you wouldn't need a way to drip dry dishes because you'd have a dishwasher, all dishes would magically repel grime and be sparklingly clean immediately after you were done using them.
But I live in a New York City apartment, and so I must cede a relatively large proportion of my precious counter space to a dish rack, or spend my hours hand-drying piles of dishes. In my decade of living here, in various apartments, I've gone through half a dozen dishracks: the multi-level wooden kind, the roll-over-the-sink kind, the big-old-tub-with-wire-frame kind, and a sleek circular number. All of them failed me in various ways, as things subjected to a daily onslaught of damp dishes are wont to do. They cracked or leaked or were impossible to clean well enough to remove grotty spots and became kitchen eyesores.
And then, dear friends, I encountered a dish rack that is as good as dish racks get, at least in my experience: the simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack. It's the rare dish rack that actually looks pretty nice. I imagine if you had a more put-together kitchen appliance scheme, as opposed to gathering them at random intervals as I have, it would look nice among your glinting stainless steel appliances.
But better than how it looks, this thing really, really works. It has a spacious interior that holds many, many dishes, measuring cups, bowls, grathers, and what-have-yous. There's a separate component for cutlery, so you don't lose all your spoons on the bottom of a huge pile of washing up. It even comes with a wire wine rack that allows you to hang up to four wineglasses over a separate little plastic mat. (This admittedly I have not tried; stemware and I have an uneasy relationship.) Unlike other dish racks that rely on a kind of wing-and-a-prayer drainage system, the simplehuman has a swivel spout that collects the water dripping fromt he dishes and neatly deposits it back in the sink, and moves so that you can position the dishrack in various ways. It also doesn't sit flush with the counter—the legs lift the whole contraption up enough so that it's easy to clean underneath it, rather than have the counter underneath the dishrack become a horror-grime-zone.
There are a few drawbacks, particularly if your kitchen is as wee as mine is. This isn't a space-saving device—it's roughly 20 inches by 21 inches, so it eats up a fair chunk of counter. I've found it to be worth the sacrifice, though your kitchen might not be able to accommodate something that enormous. It's also not cheap. On Amazon, the dish rack will run you a cool $79.99, which might make you look at your jury-rigged kitchen towel drying device with a certain fondness.
But if you're someone who cooks frequently and hand-washes all the time, you get to have a relationship with your dish rack, whether you like it or not. This dish rack is the only one I haven't wanted to fling out the window within three months. That alone might make it worth it.