When I'm working with clients who have small kitchens, it's always a challenge to find places to store large utensils—so I appreciate it when designers create collapsible versions of these kitchen tools.
One such bulky item is the colander. The OXO silicone collapsible colander is less than 2 inches tall when collapsed, but still has the features end-users value, including plentiful drainage holes and raised feet. (Some end users say the feet are a bit too short, but that seems to be a design trade-off that goes along with the collapsibility; all collapsible colanders seem to have short feet, or none at all.) End users say it feels very study, but some say that collapsing it is a bit tricky; others say it folds fine as long as you "read the directions and practice a little." But since we all know many end users won't read the instructions, it would be better to have a design that doesn't count on that.
The collapsible colander from Rösle also collapses to less than 2 inches, and end-users say collapsing it is easy. Also worth noting: The colander, when collapsed, only takes the space of a dinner plate in a dishwasher—and it has a folding mechanism which "ensures that all parts that come in contact with food remain exposed for washing" even when it's collapsed. Given how much end users comment on how easy (or not) it is to clean their colanders, this is a feature that will have a lot of appeal. And the colander has an eyelet for hanging; an end user who does indeed hang her colander says it works well.
The Joseph Joseph folding colander, designed by DesignWright, is the thinnest one around; when unfolded, it's just 1 cm (0.4 inches) tall. It's made from a single sheet of polypropylene, and uses 12 living hinges to fold into shape; a clip at each corner locks the shape into place.
Salad spinners also take a lot of space; the collapsible salad spinner from Progressive International's Prepworks brand saves half of that space. Another version of this product used a pull cord which end users said was prone to breaking; this design has moved away from the cord, and may be more durable. One drawback: Hand-washing is recommended, which will displease some end users.
As someone who has cursed at a potato masher and the space it took in my kitchen drawer, I was delighted to see the flip potato masher from Prepara, which allows the head to easily flip by 90 degrees. End users are pleased with how well it works, too.
A balloon whisk is another one of those utensils that can take up a lot of drawer space; the Joseph Joseph twist whisk eliminates that problem.
My clients and I have also struggled with storage for grilling tools, with their long handles. The Cuisinart folding grill tool set would have solved that problem, taking the tools from 17 inches when extended to only 11.5 inches when folded up.
The Joseph Joseph 4-in-1 fold-flat grater, designed by Goodwin Hartshorn, saves the space that a normal box grater requires. An earlier version of this grater had only two grating surfaces rather than four, which made a number of end users unhappy. That's a reminder than end users don't want just collapsibility; they also want the products to work as well as the non-collapsible versions. The earlier version also lacked the protective sheath and the clip that locks the grater into place, in both the open and closed positions—so this new version is safer, as well as more functional.
As we've mentioned before, the funnel is another item that's sometimes hard to fit into a drawer—unless it's a collapsible funnel, such as this one from Normann Copenhagen, designed by Boje Estermann.
The Linden Sweden baker's cooling rack saves space in two ways. With four tiers, it saves counter space when in use. And it saves storage space, since it folds up to become only 1 inch wide. It's sturdy, too; each rack can hold up to 10 pounds.
The collapsible over-the-sink dish drainer from Prepworks is another design which saves space in two ways—it saves counter space, and it collapses to one-third its extended size for storage.