Our kitchen has two sets of cabinets. One set is quite a bit older than the others. These cabinets are painted white and sturdily wrought from solid wood. They likely date to when the room was first turned into a kitchen and I like to torture myself by imagining they once hung over a giant enameled sink with a drain board and chrome fixtures. The newer cabinets are installed below and to the side of the elders and they’re part wood and part fiberboard and finished in a reddish stain, as you can see. When our landlord installed our dishwasher last fall and needed to build out a box to fit it into place, he gave me permission to paint all the cabinets white to match. I hope I’ll make some significant apartment progress on that front this summer, but today’s post is about making a far smaller improvement with help from the very humble metal shelf pin.
Even in a so-called minimalist household, spaces behind closed cabinet doors can get unruly. To keep things in check, I like to do a quick overhaul every few months where I take things down, dust them off, and make sure there’s not a hidden jar of chocolate-covered almonds somewhere that I’ve forgotten about. Over the weekend I was tackling the cabinet next to our stove when I was reminded for the fiftieth time of its wobbly, wonky cabinet shelf and finally decided to open my toolbox and do something about it.
I’ve had a tiny cardboard box of replacement metal shelf pins in my toolbox since I bought a set of twenty for one of my first adult apartment nearly fifteen years ago (an apartment that did have a giant enameled sink). Missing or broken shelf pins in less-than-perfect cabinets are just a fact of life in old rentals and having lived in my fair share over the years, I’ve found simple replacements to be perennially useful. Unlike chocolate-covered almonds that need to be gobbled sooner than later, there’s no expiration date on metal shelf pins, so I swapped the bent and broken plastic shelf pins holding up our wobbly shelf for the sturdier metal ones I already had and just like that, we’re wobble free around here.
Moral of the story and metaphor for life: Use the stuff you already have in your toolbox.
Our gooseneck kettle.
Our butter dish.
Our shelf riser. (I tend to steer clear of organization-specific products, but in an awkward, deep cabinet that’s short on shelf space to being with, this shelf riser from Open Spaces has been the perfect thing to offer a little more breathing room and I like that it’s pretty enough to transition to a different spot should we ever need to move it.)