Friday, September 6, 2013

DIY: Spice Organizer.

I am crafty.  Not scrapbook-decoupage-art kit crafty but thrifty-reuse-wastenot crafty.  Successful creative problem solving is an extraordinary thrill.  I don't believe in "runner's high", but "crafty high"?  That's real.

The house we just moved into is very different than our previous residences, older and more compartmentalized, not bad qualities at all, simply different.  The organization systems I grew accustomed to are no longer relevant, hence the recent posts on sorting and organizing.

Our rental house in Texas afforded us many small luxuries that family homes provide.  One specific feature I loved was the adjustable spice rack mounted inside a pantry cupboard door.  It had four sturdy, ample, shallow baskets perfect for spice bottles and seasoning packets.  I can't believe I don't have photos, but through some Google Image searches I found the elfa brand door and wall rack system which I'm almost certain was the one used.  If/when we ever own our residence we will certainly use this organization system because I loved it.

NOT MY PHOTO.  The Container Store

We cannot make such improvements to our current house so permanent fixture additions will not happen.  In advance of our household goods' arrival I'm attempting to make "homes" for everything and set up organized spaces.  I am very limited in budget and if I purchase something I must be able to carry it home via train and/or walking.  This is just part of the challenging creative problem solving process.

But let's get down to business: my do-it-yourself spice organizer.

To the right of my stove is a narrow cabinet that makes a natural location for cooking herbs and spices.  It has three adjustable-height shelves measuring 26cm wide and 27cm deep.  I've been looking at spice rack organizers that act as risers so I can see items in the back without shuffling jars around.  Generally I dislike this style and see it as a waste of space because nothing can be stored underneath, however, in this situation it makes the most sense. 

Amazon (my retail love and obsession) is the first place I turn to for ideas and suggestions for almost everything; it's like a product library if you think about it.  I found this expandable shelf organizer that meets my requirements physically but I have a difficult time spending $14 on a piece of plastic.  Call me thrifty, tightwad, cheap, I don't care.  I watch my pennies/yen.


A couple nights ago I was sipping a glass of wine after cleaning up from cooking dinner.  Now what makes this different than any other night?  Well, Mumford & Sons was playing from my iPod and I was simply absorbing my kitchen's surrounding, imaging where my glassware will live, when I'll have to replace the exhaust fan filter, and whether that wine bottle ring stain will come out of the counter top.  Then, out of nowhere, I knew how to solve my spice cabinet riser issue.

A couple weeks ago we went to Ikea to purchase desk components because, due to weight restrictions, we did not bring either of ours with us.  I was very excited to get the exact same Galant Series desk that I researched and decided on in Texas but never had the opportunity to buy.  I assembled it recently and neatly set aside the cardboard packaging for recycling, but the reuse-hoarder in me secretly wanted to keep it for future projects.  

On this particular evening, when my idea hit me, I went straight for the strips of reinforced cardboard I set aside.  

Within minutes I measured and cut them into 26cm strips, stacked them up, arranged them for space, then taped them together.  Done.  

In about 15 minutes I solved a problem that could have cost $15.  My excitement didn't just stem from saving money though.  Sometimes in order to cut costs you also cut corners which may hinder the solution's effectiveness, but not in this instance.  The end result is exactly what the plastic risers would have provided, the only difference is cosmetic.  At some point I could cover the cardboard with a light color duct tape, but probably only if I had another purpose for the purchase, otherwise why spend the money?

When my husband came into the kitchen that evening wondering what I was doing I excitedly told him that I saved him $14 and he owed me a bottle of wine.  Tonight he surprised me with that bottle.

I am really proud of this solution.  My parents raised six kids on one teacher's salary which forced my Mom into creative problem solving every day.  She is the craftiest person I know and would still, to this very day, give MacGyver a run for his money, without question.  I guess that is where the pride comes from, carrying on the crafty legacy from my Mom, who learned it from her Mom and Dad, who learned it from their parents.

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