Smart Ways To Repurpose A Dish Rack In And Around Your Home

Dish racks might not make an appearance in photo ops of recently renovated kitchens, but they are a common tool in many homes and essential when hand washing wares. The metal, plastic, or wooden plate, bowl, and glass holders are often sturdy, breathable, and compact, making them great for more than just drying dishes. You can repurpose these racks around the house for DIY storage, organization, and gardening. 

If you're giving an old rack new life, ensure it is clean before repurposing it, which includes removing hard water stains and rust. You can also spray paint the dish drainer before upcycling it to elevate the look and avoid ruining your home's aesthetic. Metallic colors to match the rest of the room's hardware or stone-like textures are excellent design choices. Keep in mind that, while you may be able to pull off some of these hacks with a wooden rack, they are all executed using metal or plastic dish drainers. Further, while drying mats serve the same purpose as racks, they won't work for these specific repurposing ideas. If you have an old wire or plastic rack on hand, only use your dishwasher, or dry your dishes with a towel right after washing, there are several ways you can put your unused dish racks to better use.

Craft an entryway organizer

A dish rack usually isn't the first thing you see when you walk into a home, but that might change with this clever hack. Mounting the dish drainer on the wall near your front door creates a floating entryway organizer that's perfect for hanging keys, slotting mail, or storing pet leashes. The wired frame can only hold certain items given its skeleton shelving, which will prevent it from becoming an eyesore, as can often happen with cluttered catchall trays left on the console table.

Neatly store your shoes

One way to upgrade your mudroom is to use the dish rack for shoe storage. Slender footwear like flip-flops, sandals, and ballet flats can file neatly into the plate slots. You can also prop large shoes like sneakers or boots on the leveled side of the dish rack reserved for cups. This mini stand can only hold a handful of shoes, so it is best used to temporarily house your footwear of the day. You could also place it near the back door to store gardening sneakers and pool slippers.

Tidy up your desk

An old dishrack atop your workstation becomes a new desk caddy that's great for storing tablets, folders, calculators, and all your work accessories. Use the utensils cup for pens or scissors and add small trays to create more compartments for optimal organization. You can even thread a power strip through the wired rack and enhance your desk caddy with a charging station as well.

Make it a mini bookshelf

The dish rack slots are the perfect size for housing books. Simply slide the novels, magazines, or comics into the sections as if they were wet plates. Place the mini bookshelf on top of a dresser or coffee table for easy storage. The dish holder is also perfect for setting up a reading station in a child's bedroom. You could also try filing coloring books in the slots and filling the utensil holder with crayons.

Use it as a wired storage basket

Apart from books and office supplies, you can use the dish drainer as a storage basket to hold just about anything. Place it on a closet shelf to store hats, scarves, and gloves, slide it under the bed to keep toys out of sight, or stow it under the sink for sponges, cleaning cloths, and disinfectant sprays. Wherever a storage basket would come in handy, so will the dish rack.

Keep your jewelry tangle-free

Another way to repurpose a dish rack is as a jewelry stand. This hack keeps your accessories tangle-free and saves space, as you can mount the dish drainer on the door of your closet or the side of your dresser. Clip earrings and bracelets directly to the kitchen tool or use S-hooks to hang the precious metals. It can also house hair or clothing accessories like silk scarves, broaches, and headbands.

Create a drying shelf in the laundry room

Turning your old dish rack into a drying shelf is a budget-friendly idea for organizing your laundry room. Simply attach the drainer to the wall or a shelf's underside to create extra space for hanging clothes. A dish rack is not designed to hold a lot of weight, so it is best to limit the structure to lightweight items like socks, hand towels, or lightweight T-shirts.

Maximize space inside kitchen cabinets

We all know a dish drainer is stellar for drying dishes, but it is also perfect for storing them inside your cabinets. Move the rack from atop your kitchen counter to inside the cupboard to maximize space. It doesn't just help with plates, either. You can keep pot lids upright as well, making everything easier to grab than when the wares are stacked on top of each other. Or, place it in your pantry for a DIY spice rack or food organizer.

Increase kitchen storage

There is another way to utilize your dish rack in the kitchen. Just mount the drainer underneath your cabinets to create an extra shelf. Use multiple dish holders and line the entire bottom area of your cupboards with floating basket storage. This hack takes advantage of unused space, and you can fill the rack with items like kitchen towels and sponges or water bottles.

Protect plants from critters

With this hack, we're taking the dish rack outside, because it is handy in the garden, too. Flip the kitchen tool upside down and place it over your seedling or small plant to create a cage that keeps critters out. It won't protect your plants from tiny aphids, but it will deter squirrels or rabbits who like to feast on the leaves, seeds, bulbs, and growing produce, all while still letting the water and sunlight in.