Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mr. Elfa to the Rescue

This is a blatant love letter to Elfa shelving. No, they're not paying me.
At my last house, there was a tall, skinny broom closet next to the refrigerator. A total waste of space, because who needs a whole closet for a broom?
Mr. Elfa, bless his heart, has apparently been crawling through all our old American suburban homes with a tape measure. What a clever devil.
From among the many configurations of shelving with slide-out basket drawers offered by this company, we managed to construct a tall, skinny shelf unit that fit perfectly inside that dumb closet. As if he had designed it that way (and I suspect he did).
Voilà, it became our pantry. Drawers for dried pasta, dried beans, a whole bunch of other this and that.
I loved that shelf unit. I wanted to take it with me when we moved. (I technically could have; it was free-standing furniture and it was mine. But I left it for the lucky new owners.)
So, we moved into a place with a totally different kitchen layout. Worst of all was the anachronistic "deskette" at the outer edge of the cabinetry, where presumably Mrs. Homeowner 1963 would write her thank-you notes and pay her bills.
Horrors. Underneath that one-drawer desk is so much wasted space. You know? Because I'm not parking a chair there, just to push some furniture into the gap. No, I want to use that space.
Mr. Elfa to the rescue.
Now, this time it wasn't easy. Most of the kitchen shelving from Elfa is either too short or too tall for utilizing that odd space. But fortunately, now the company is offering a rolling file cart which is exactly the right height. (Hm! Office furniture for the kitchen "office." Heh.) And! It comes in two widths. I needed one of each width, a 14" and an 18". And they just fit, side by side. Ohmygod.
The shelves are "assembly required," but they are so sturdy and intuitive, everything simply came together. So to speak.
Today I loaded the drawers with beans, rice, pasta, and my ridiculously large collection of salts. (I will never have to buy salt again, as long as I live.)
I'm feeling rather elfin.


Dagny said...

That Mr. Elfa is clearly a genius.

tammy said...

Thanks for the tip. I could definitely use some shelving help. Also, you'll be happy to know that I have those exact same cabinets.

Kalyn said...

You're a woman after my own heart. I could never waste that much space either.

sfmike said...

Well, smell you.

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: I wish I were Mrs. Elfa. We'd be so rich. But there probably wouldn't be a single Elfa shelfa in the house. Too rich.

Tammy: Well, yes! That makes me happy. Cranky's sister lives in Falmouth, and although I don't know if she has that layout, I know she did in a previous New England house. So we can relate.
(PS: Container Store!!!)

Kalyn: I'd have to measure it, but it's a couple of square yards, easily. Well... a little less.

SFMike: Why do you hate me? Is it because I'm too snarled up to have brunch with you?

sfmike said...

I don't hate you. I am merely filled with serious Elfa Envy.

Beccy said...

What nifty storage!

Liz said...

Excellent use of space!

Our last house had a "silly little desk" in the kitchen, too. We tore the whole caboodle out and built a proper pantry. Until we finally put in a pantry here, I would dream about that one.

Now I just dream about the bluestone patio we left behind. ;)

cookiecrumb said...

SFMike: Oh, OK, that's better. Dang, I should have given those Elfas from my last place to you. I bet they'd fit in your kitchen.

Beccy: We consider it a "solution"! Because someday we might remodel, but for now... yay.

Liz: You and your husband are just too handy to resort to such a simple solution as Elfas. They're not cheap, but they're WAY cheaper than hiring someone to come in and rejigger that space properly (because we're not handy).

Dr. Biggles said...


I spent the weekend in the yard. Next to no weeds left anywhere. Tore up some concrete in the boom boom room for me to plant large leafy greens. Cain't move left elbow, hands are deadly sore. OUCH.


Sean said...

Oh, Mr Elfa and we go WAY back. Between the closet in our old place, our current closet, two projects in our laundry room and our basement, we have become intimate friends with him!

MizD said...

Ouch. Mr. Elfa must have his own private island by now with how much he charges for those shelves.

katiez said...

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?
Great shelves/baskets!

cookiecrumb said...

Dr. Biggles: Excellent! Yer all urban farmy by now. Way ahead of me. I've only tore out about 12 square feet of sod. Today Tea brought me three basil plants to put in between the tomato plants. S'posed to be some garden magic synergy. Bug-proofin' an' junk.

Sean: So. You are of the "Converted." What is it with that company? They sussed us out perfectly, and we responded. Sigh.

MizD: A whole lot cheaper than buying a crew to knock down stuff and build new stuff. I am a fan.

Katie: I want to call it pure luck, but I think Mr. Elfa is one crafty fellah.

MizD said...

Hey, I'm not comparing Elfa shelves to a crew. I'm comparing them to K-Mart. Or Goodwill. Or Freecycle.

(Yes, this is me being a brat. I just can't wrap my brain around spending 99 bucks for a little rolly cabinet thingy.)

Kevin said...

I had a bunch of wasted space in a closet devoted to the circuit box. So I added pull out shelves and, "viola", a pantry,

kudzu said...

Cookie -- Great use of dead space, and kudos on your ingenuity in choosing office furnishings for the kitchen. I like the visibility aspect (though I might not be organized enough to keep it looking like yours). Looks like you're really settling into that new home. PS Chives are also good amongst the tomatoes.

cookiecrumb said...

MizD: I suppose I coulda checked out the less-expensive sources. (Does somebody need to give you a $99 hug? huggety-hug!)

Kevin: Presto! And you can just pull out the shelves when the fuse blows. (Don't keep your popcorn in there.)

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Oh, thanks! I hope it stays neat-looking. Fortunately the drawers are close-meshed and almost hide the mess. (Can you spot the Barilla box?)
We're v-e-r-y slowly settling in. Yesterday we found the everyday dishes (we'd brought over an emergency dinner kit with a couple of plates, etc.). I find myself at a paralysis moment, though, every time I try to decide which cupboard should hold what. So most of them remain empty. :-(

MizD said...

hah hah, I'll take that hug. This is what I get for CWIMDTCHDF (Commenting While In Misery Due To Catastrophic Hard Drive Failure. Yes, that's a technical term.)

Sam said...

you won't have brunch with our Mikey?
Maybe you two can make up over Karaoke.

I'll choose a duet for you both.
How about Enough is Enough?

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: I'll do a duet with Mikey!
I'm not snubbing him, BTW, I'm just too crazy with this move.
I think you and Fred should join us all for a brunch on the canal.
(Oh god, there are so many songs I don't know. I could do Sex Pistols "I Did It My..... Woyyyyy!" After that, I sort of peter out.)

Anonymous said...

elfa is overpriced. i want to buy their closet setup but it costs north of a grand - installed EXCLUDED. Am i really gona spend that much on something in a closet? probably not.

cookiecrumb said...

Anonymous: Yes, there are cheaper shelves. Ikea, for instance. But they don't fit. These fit perfectly.
And, ho boy, I sure didn't pay anything in the neighborhood of a grand! Eek. Good luck with your closet.

Anonymous said...

For elfa lovers, is the only other authorized U.S. dealer of elfa products (besides The Container Store) and competes with them in price and customer service!