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Behind the Design: Space Saving Drying Rack

Behind the Design: Space Saving Drying Rack

Words Rebecca Ulanoff

OXO engineers and product managers looked to create a space-efficient baby bottle drying rack, designed with parents in mind.

OXO Tot was born out of necessity. In five years, 25 babies were born to OXO’s then 50 employees.

Our engineers and product managers took the same curiosity-driven, problem-solving approach to parenthood (and the slew of gear that comes with it) as they did with creating household tools. Bib not catching crumbs, drips, and dribbles? Enter the Roll-Up Bib. How about a wipes dispenser that lets you grab one wipe at a time instead of a handful at once? Try the PerfectPull Wipes Dispenser.

10 years and 90 products later, the OXO Tot team took on a new challenge: drying racks. Specifically, how to create a space-efficient drying rack that could handle a multitude of baby bottle parts, breast pump pieces, pacifiers and other parts and pieces new parents rely on all day, every day.

Approach

The Tot team observed different families in the bottle feeding stage to see their cleaning routines and to learn their drying rack pain points. They saw that parents used a combination of drying racks and dish towels to handle the volume of bottles and parts needed on a daily basis. With an average of six bottles per kid per day and each bottle consisting of up to eight components, the counters were covered in kid paraphernalia.

OXO Tot Space Saving Drying Rack

Solution 1: Go vertical!

Other drying racks on the market claim to save space, but their tiered shapes take up more room than traditional rectangular racks and cramming baby gear on them tends to get super unwieldy. Our solution was to build up, way up – with a slim profiled rack that easily – and neatly — fits nine bottles and accessories.

Solution 2: Make it fit

Another space-saving issue we tackled was cabinet to countertop to drying rack ratio. We wanted to make sure our rack could sit flush against backsplashes, and that the top could be easily reached and removed without having to move the whole unit. So our team took measurements, lots of them. They went to different homes and calculated the average space between the bottom of kitchen cabinets and the top of the rack. They also built mockups of cabinets for user testing. This resulted in a right-sized design that works with most kitchen cabinet configurations.

Solution 3: A better angle

We also wanted to address a common parent pet peeve: thorough drying (or lack thereof) after cleaning bottles and sippy cups, Our original Bottle Drying Rack has specially designed pegs and raised “ribs” that elevate bottles so they don’t sit in a pool of water. We took inspiration from that design and (literally) turned it on its side.  For the space-saving version, we angled the pegs at 48 degrees to force water downward and prevent pooling at bottlenecks. We then outfitted the base with the same raised ribs as the original, making it perfect for drying bottle nipples and sippy cup caps. The bottom of the rack has a drip spout for catching and draining water into sinks.

OXO Tot Space Saving Drying Rack

Solution 4: Everything in its place

Keeping track of bottle parts, accessories and the like while juggling parenthood is hard. Really, really hard. So we designated areas for each category; making it easy for even the sleep-deprived to reassemble bottles and grab pacifiers at a moment’s notice.  

OXO Tot Space Saving Drying Rack

Solution 5: Keep it clean

Finally, we knew sinks can get gross, and that, especially with newborns (and first-borns), parents are hypervigilant about cleanliness. The top and base of the Space Saving Drying Rack are removable for cleaning, and, if you really want to go there, the whole thing is dishwasher safe.

The Space Saving Drying Rack will keep things easy even as your child grows and they’re ready to transition from bottle to sippy.

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By Rebecca Ulanoff

Rebecca Ulanoff is part of OXO’s Brand Communications Team. She enjoys talking about her next meal while eating her current one. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and four-year-old daughter.

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