HER PERSPECTIVE: I do the cooking in our household. Almost all of it. So it was nothing new on the road. What I was not prepared for during our two week trip was the annoyance that a single plate can inflict. My cabinets at home are full, but I don't have to move three coffee mugs, a cutting board, and a collapsible colander to get a damn plate out for my sandwich. It was infuriating the way the cabinet was organized, and before we left we thought we had it pegged. WRONG! Putting dishes away and getting them out became more irritating than the fact that our dogs took every opportunity to poo in a new place and we were often caught without a bag (we always went back and picked it up, though!) Now, life is easy peasy. And much less angry.
HOW HE DID IT: Projects don't get much easier than this one, it was just a matter of thinking outside of the box. I knew we wanted the dishes to be held vertically, which gravity doesn't help with. I also knew that we needed different widths and a bit of flexibility. After some brain storming, we realized a freezer basket is the perfect thing to start with. We went to our local Habit for Humanity Restore, and found a perfectly-sized one for $1. Or something, it was nearly free. I cut all of the long wires out, a few of the short wires to make gaps the appropriate size, ground down the ends so they wouldn't scratch dishes, then sprayed the whole thing with Plasti-dip to cover the sharp edges with soft rubber. Flip it upside down, use P-clips to hold it in, and you're done*.
*This will work with a stock cabinet, but I removed the box that covers the sink drain to give us more vertical clearance. I rerouted the sink drain to get it more out of the way, and I relocated the water pump slightly to give us more room and protect it better. We are trading space for a slight increase in vulnerability to the drain and pump, but we've had no issues.
We also added peel-and-stick hooks above the top shelf along the wall to hang cups on. They're much quieter than when they were just sitting on the shelf and knocking into each other. I'm not sure how long they would last with heavy ceramic mugs, but they work well with our light metal ones. They're silent with the metal mugs, but a little noisy with the ceramic ones.
WHAT I'D DO DIFFERENTLY: Not much. I would spend more time smoothing out the nubs from cutting off the wire, and I'd do something to get the Plasti-dip to stick better. Otherwise, this was an easy and very effective upgrade.