When I think about repurposing, restoring, or reusing an object I tend to think about some older object that has been neglected, or out dated, or just not very pleasing to the eye. Maybe we even think of re-using an item, like a dresser in a different part of the house, for a different purpose.
However, how often do we think about how we can use an item in our life, today, as it was intended to be used originally? By this I mean… when was the last time we decide to change ourselves to fit into a particular space? or how often do we change ourselves for anything?
I see so many people toss things to the side because it does not meet their current needs. Then over time we evolve as people... Maybe our families get bigger, or smaller, or our tastes change in style and decor. We also evolve as a social culture as new things come out that we NEED, and tend to forget about some of the places that we have come from to get to where we are now.
You see, one thing you may not know about me, yet, is that I have spent many years of watching home improvement shows, DIY shows, real estate shows. I even have several years worth of observation on shows like antiques road shows, salvage dogs, and so on. During all these years of observation, several issues continue to surface, and one of the most consistent issues is a person's kitchen. Sometimes the kitchen has an out-dated style or it just doesn't suit their personal taste. Other times the kitchen doesn't function as well as they would like it to function… or one of my favorites… it just doesn't have enough space.
What happens then you ask?
Well, then these people get very frustrated with their kitchens, and decide they just have to do something about it!
What do they do?? Well, these people then proceed to completely destroy their entire kitchens (which then obviously creates issues in other parts of their lives because their kitchen is destroyed) and spend lots and lots of money on a brand new, bright and shiny kitchen…
But… how do you know this new kitchen is going to function better? Just because it is bigger, or prettier, or newer… does it mean it will be what you want (or really need) it to be?
When you see the photos of these two kitchen setups (below), what do you think of?
In this first kitchen cabinet setup, you can see how they have utilized the space quite well, with several compartmentalized drawers to place food items, there is also a preparation space, some shelf space for smaller items, and large storage space in the bottom of the unit.
This kitchen is quite simplistic, with having only a shelf unit for the small items, and a small table in the corner to use for completing whatever tasks they needed to. There is the built in drying board for dishes on the sink, and plenty of wall space to utilize for storing pots pans or other dishes.
Do you think these kitchens are functional? Would you be able to complete your daily tasks in either of these spaces? Would you have space to be able to get thing done? How about the storage space? These spaces were planned our very specifically and thoughtfully to meet the needs of the user, and am constantly amazed (and reminded) of how much was accomplished with a lot less than what I have in my kitchen now, I get a little inspired even.
In the past 10 and a half years I have moved, at least at my last count, 13 times. Most of the time these were big cross country moves, but a few of theme were within a couple minutes to a couple of hours away.
Why do I bring this up? Hold on… I'm getting there...
With all these moves, we have had to completely uproot our lives (including our kids and pets), and start over. We had to learn how to adjust to a completely new environment, and there were several times I just thought I would lose my mind… and several times where I did. I had those break-down moments when I felt like nothing was working right. But with all this, one thing I really learned how to do was to adapt to my surroundings. As you know, when living in a rental, you can't just take a sledge hammer to the kitchen or knock out a few walls that were in the way.
What it did was challenge me to be able to look at the way things worked and the way they didn't work. This also challenged me to look at how we could fit into the space in which we lived! We have found a way to make something that wasn't our personal style fit into what we like… without tearing it all down or demolishing the entire house… which believe me I wish I could do on some days. I also have had to adjust the way we use the cabinets and other spaces in and around the kitchen.
I mean, I am just grateful that at least this house has my bedroom light switch inside the bedroom rather than in the hallway… underneath the hall light, who's light switch was placed on another wall in the same hallway… but that's a whole other can of worms!
This Kitchen has it's own set of unique issues, but I have learned to adapt to my space. For example, as a semi-temporary fix I was able to re-use some closet storage organization on the one free wall to keep items within reach, but not on the counters. There isn't a whole lot of counter space, so I like to keep it neat and clear of clutter. I am constantly switching things up in our house as our needs change, and trying to make it function for what we need it for… but we are up for the challenge.
Yes, if I could have it my way, I would love to have a house that was full of antique style cabinets that went all the way up to the ceiling… OR! A butler's pantry… infact, I have the perfect house in mind… It's just now quite the right time for me… yet.
Anyway…. before you start knocking down walls and demolishing a kitchen… I'm talking to you, the one standing there with the sledge hammer ready to strike… and yes, you too mom, I know how much you love a re-model… I challenge you to see what you can do to fit into the space you have! … otherwise, why buy a home that you can't stand and just want to destroy? (Especially those who are buying historical type homes… I beg you!) Maybe you can reconfigure the cabinets to incorporate a better flow? Paint and/ or stain can really go a long way! Are you sure you really need all the stuff that you just have to store in the kitchen?
Please! If it is not to your liking, don't do it! Chances are there is someone else out there that does!
So spill it! What are some of your challenges when it comes to your kitchen? Have you been able to find ways to overcome those challenges yet? What challenges arose with your space when life decided to change on you?
If you enjoyed this post, check in at Findingthestory.com for more like it! Repurpose, Restore & Reuse is every Wednesday.