Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Dresser

Another organizing project.

A project about taking something murky and unconscious and bringing it into the land of intention, focus, usability and beauty.

Yep. All that.

This story begins when I was about 15. I stripped this dresser. I lost the hardware. Someone came along years behind me and added these rope pulls so it was functional again, at least.

I went away for many years. I forgot about the dresser.

Somehow, when I returned to the city I live in now and set up house with my husband, the dresser returned to me.

It sat in the basement, neglected, sad, crammed full of stuff.

The top drawer (of which I don't have a picture, naturally) was full of seasonal type decorations and artificial flowers.

The second drawer was full of wrapping paper supplies. It was the only drawer we actually used.

The third and fourth drawers had cords...electrical and telephone and audio-visual. There were coax and digital cables. Speaker wire. Adaptors, the list goes on. And on. Somehow, I only have a picture of one of the two drawers. Too bad. It was impressive.

The bottom drawer stored old book jackets, walkie talkies, and fax paper.

The really great thing about re-organizing a large space like the basement--and the laundry room within it--is that you have a chance to think about what you need. You have a chance to reinvent the way you do things if the old way isn't going to work any longer.

I had to move the dresser to make room for the paint cabinet--which was being moved to make room for a large wonkin' cabinet coming out of my husband's workshop--to make room for a bin he wanted to build to hold his wood.

But that meant the swimming gear would be homeless. I kept it in a plastic case on some wobbly wire shelving under this window.

I also needed a new home for those towels, too. I created it in my "Linen Closet" (which is actually just open shelving between the pantry and the upright freezer kitty corner from here) by removing and donating two huge old IKEA pillows.
So, when I thought about what I needed, I realised I wanted one of the dresser drawers to hold the swimming gear.
I had wrapping supplies in two places: this drawer and another, close to it's original location at the foot of the stairs. Since this dresser was moving, I wanted to put all the wrapping supplies in one place. 
When we cleared out the area under the stairs in order to insulate the wall and put up the wallboard, I discovered two boxes of my husband's old jeans. I had kept them as "patching material" for the jeans he wears to work. I went through them and kept only a few in the best of condition. And then, I put them in a drawer along with some sewing notions and tools stored in yet another place!
Finally, I went through all the cords and cables and chose to keep a few. They went into the bottom drawer.

But I wasn't quite done.
This piece was stripped more than 30 years ago. It sat in an outdoor shed for years. It's been in my basement at least 15 more. So, I cleaned and nourished it. I used 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup of lemon juice and an old tea towel. My dresser drank it thirstily.
Can you see where it has been cleaned and nourished? The bottom of this picture should look a smidge darker.
And so, here it is. All fed and spiffied up. Awake and intentionalised. Useful and beautiful.

Another post for the William Morris series hosted by Jules at Pancakes and French Fries.


Anonymous said...

What a great job making something useful! I could use some more of that right now as we transition to our new home.

Adrienne said...

It looks great! I'm glad you did a post about your project. I loved seeing how it all came together.

Cathryn J said...

If this dresser was in our home with this great history, we would have named it. What a trooper that dresser is! Way to use what you have!!
Each time I use something I already have like you did, I think to myself, you DO have everything you need. And I feel so grateful.

Petra from NL said...

I agree with Adrienne, it looks great!

onshore said...

Nice! Good work. I like the rope handles.
It also looks good on that spot under the window.

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