I really should have taken a "before and after" shot of my kitchen just now, buuuuuut I didn't.
I've lived in my current apartment for over two years. Living by myself has been GLORIOUS. I'm not home too often, but when I am - it is the best. One thing that I have loved the most about my roommate-less lifestyle has been the kooky decorating decisions I've been allowed to make without asking permission or begging forgiveness from anyone... except maybe my landlord.
Tonight, (being the first night in quite a while that I had the evening to myself with an entire day off ahead) I got home and got to work on rearranging my kitchen.
I live in a boxcar style apartment. If you angle yourself right, you can see from my bedroom at the front of the house all the way to the kitchen at the back of the house. Each room is about 100 square feet give or take... except the kitchen and bathroom.
they are tiny.
The house was originally built in the 1920's (according to the interwebs), and if I had to guess, it was probably built as a single family home but then converted to a quadplex somewhere along the way, which is how it has stayed. I have a love hate relationship with living in an old house, as it definitely comes with it's challenges... but you just can't beat the charm.
On top of the tiny kitchen challenge, the shelving and storage in there is a disaster.
There are three small wooden cabinets above the sink and stove, one cabinet under one drawer, and then this... shelf area that for the past 2+ years I've been using as a pantry... BUT NOT ANYMORE!
I was making the space work. I stacked cans on top of one another, and piled bags of chips on top of stacks of paper plates and boxes of spaghetti. All of my dish-ware went into the cabinets along with my spices and cat food (frank WILL get into food that isn't impossible for him to reach.) It worked, but it wasn't... pretty.
Tonight, I decided to try swapping my dish-ware for my pantry items so I can control the color scheme and the overall look of the pantry/shelving area that is pretty impossible to hide.
As I started to clear my cabinets, I got excited about what a great idea this was. I love the look of all of my dishes! And since I live alone, I really don't see all of them that often... Only special occasions and when I have guests over. I got a little nervous, though, as I kept on pulling out more and more dishes... I started mentally noting which items I could maaaaybe live without.
Once I cleared the cabinets, I started cleaning out the shelves. Once everything was out in the open, my brain juices started flowing and I began puzzle piecing how this was going to go.
Everything was fitting pretty well. Not only was I getting the food from the pantry area actually put AWAY for the first time, but I was able to categorize and organize food types! It was exciting! (I even put the chips and snacky stuff up high so maybe I'll be a little less tempted?)
Then I caught a snag. I was used to stacking food on top of food before. I wasn't going to be able to have that same luxury with most of my dish-ware. Wine glasses do not stack, nor do martini glasses, and neither. do. coffee mugs.
This is a problem. I am a coffee addict, and coffee mug enthusiast. I have turned many a mug into a planter since I've lived here, but my collection has really been narrowed down to my super faves.
So? I Drilled.
I went to school for Theatre, and in doing so, I learned my way around power tools. I bought a little drill from ikea for 12 bucks a while ago, but it eventually died... so my boyfriend bought me one, and it's kinda badass. I broke it out tonight to drill screws into the wall surrounding my pantry area, and now I have my beautiful coffee mugs hanging on display, and a happy home for all of my dishes AND food :)
So why am I writing this?
Because I got here by myself. I made a simple alteration to my home which will make a huge difference in the overall look and organization of my kitchen, and I want everyone to know that they can and should trust themselves to do this sort of project too.
A while back, I mentioned the spacial issue to my awful landlord. He offered to install some additional shelving, which I jumped at. Well, after months of no shelves, I finally brought it up again, and he said he'd stop by that week to install them.
I got home to my microwave sitting on top of a single plastic shelf rack jutting out from the wall between the cabinets and pantry area.
Though it was not quite as visually pleasing as I was hoping it might be, it was still more space. I looked around my kitchen to see where else I could use some space and decided to scooch my microwave over a touch to add my toaster to the shelf as well.
Two seconds later, my toaster and microwave were on the ground, the glass from the microwave completely shattered.
My landlord later asked if I saw the shelf, and I told him that the shelf fell down and my microwave was destroyed, to which he responded that I was "probably lying" and that I "probably tried to pick my microwave up and it was too heavy" so I dropped it and then I destroyed the shelf to make it look like my landlords fault.
Let me be clear. I can probably carry around twice my weight. I do handstands daily. Really, I'm doing a 365 day handstand challenge. Literally every day I balance my own weight on my hands.
I can carry a fucking microwave.
(My landlord is a misogynist, and I hate renting from him... but I stay because I like this house, and I love this neighborhood, and I can stand the rent. I dream of buying the property or one like it one day so I can really diy the shit out of it, but until I'm ready for that financial responsibility, I'm probably going to stay put.)
So I went to home depot, bought some easy shelving material, and I fucking installed a shelf by myself. (It's been like, a year, and it's still standing...)
I feel SO GOOD when I get done with this type of project. I love staying up late to finish just so I can wake up to a new pretty space. This coffee mug drill decor project was not inspired by a sexist asshole doubting me, but because I needed a change in my surroundings. It's really good for creativity to change up your space every so often. I had been feeling bleh about coming home lately, and I'm really not in the position to move right now unless I find some killer price on rent... so this was my simple solution. It wasn't that big of a deal to do, but it will make a big difference in my day to day life.
I wanted to share it in case it inspires anyone, especially a woman, to take the initiative and do a similar project too. Feel free to ask me questions, and I'll do my best to help in whatever way I can. I know that I am a capable, intelligent, strong, independent, and beautiful young woman. I want to be there to encourage and support every other woman in any way that I can. Here's my start. Follow this blog for future diy advice and inspiration.