Hi, guys. LaTonya here! Apartment living in New York City is just like everyone describes—tight, challenging, and wonderful all at the same time. You've got to learn how to dream and plan beyond what's right in front of you—no matter how hard that may seem. 😉 Truthfully, I'm really inspired by living in a small space.
Our kitchen is small. Actually, it's tiny, so we needed help in all forms of organization and storage. Because we have small kids, things like kid-friendly forks and spoons also had to be considered when developing this wooden utensil organizer. We love how incredibly easy and inexpensive it was to make this. (Our vintage box was $10 at our local flea market.) And of course, that wonderful feeling of reusing something old and making it useful, new, and pretty makes me feel amazing.
-vintage wood box—7 1/2" x 12" (It does not have to be vintage, but most "milk" boxes like this one
-two pieces of wood to be used as dividers (You can have as many dividers as you would like. We used two pieces, which created three sections. The size of the wood pieces depends on your wooden box.)
-copper pipe brackets with 8" extension
-L brackets (optional, to help stabilize wooden dividers)
Clean out and paint your wooden box. Because it's older wood, I noticed it needed a few more coats than usual. In the end, I used three. I also did some retouches on the finished product as well. When painting over wood, I highly suggest you avoid white, or colors that are super light, unless you want to give it a more distressed look.
Once the paint is all dry, it's time to line the inside of your box. I measured my liner a little larger than the actual space, just to make sure it covered completely. I find it much easier to cut around the edges once the liner is laid all the way down. We chose a simple white liner, but I think it would've looked even better with some sort of floral design.
Paint the pieces of wood that will be used as dividers. Once they’re dry, place them inside your box creating a T. When you position them like that, you'll get three separate sections. You can use your L brackets to help the pieces stay stable. (Our wooden dividers were very stable without the brackets.)
Now it's time to screw in your copper pipe brackets. You want your brackets to be as centered as possible because this is where your handle will be. I suggest marking it with a black marker prior to drilling.
Insert your wooden dowel inside your two brackets, creating a handle. You'll need to use your drill to screw in the top screws of the L brackets to secure the handle in place.
To help organize each section, we used mostly old Mason jars we purchased from our local flea. They cost us about a dollar or two a piece. Alternatively, you could purchase some small fabric baskets to put inside each divider to hold the utensils. Though, I am partial to the Mason jars.
I already have plans to carry this along on a few local picnic dates. I can see it working just as fantastically for organizing party utensils, crafts, and even plants in the garden! All of this is what really sold Peter and me on making it. If we happen to move to a home with a larger kitchen and no longer need it, we can always put it to work in another way. Lastly, this is completely portable and lightweight! I easily carried it by the handle around the house and outside to our backyard. I hope this helps bring a little more ease into your small space. xo. LaTonya
Credits // Author: LaTonya Staubs, Photograph: Peter Staubs. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.