When you tear apart your home, as I have had to do for the new flooring to be installed, you tend to look at everything in a new light.That new light is called UPCYCLING or “reusing the old as something new”. Since I am an artist, I tend to find “use” for just about everything there is from old fabric, paper, buttons, and yarn. These things can become very disorganized and chaotic. But, new habits are easy to implement.  I have always liked “organizing”, which is a very good thing because of the enormous amount of “things” I own!

With this new attitude of UPCYCLING, I have found that I need more shelves. I want everything to have a place so that I can find it in a flash. So, I started researching. This all may sound silly, but do you know how many types of shelves there are out there?

When I was in college, shelves were made from 2 cinder blocks with a board laid across and then another set of cinder blocks and a board set on top of them again and so on and so forth until you achieved the height in shelves you were looking for. My first apartment had pretty much the same types of shelves, but this time I painted the boards one color (black) and the cinder blocks another (white). As far as “cool” decor, the combination worked.

My first home, with my new husband, required something more substantial and more, well, “Married”.  So my husband and I invested in “Shelving Units” from a furniture store.The design was very square with slight embellishments made out of laminated pressboard. We put the system together and it worked.

Returning to single status did not lend to this type of sophisticated furniture. I had to move the behemoth shelf system by myself and it weighed close to a small whale. So I sold it and I went back to the boards and cinderblocks, only this time I painted them Purple (boards) and Black (cinder blocks). It worked.

Remarriage brought me into the world of an artist with a gallery. Shelves were everything and everywhere! Their character and color had to set off the artwork. The shapes of the pieces of art and the space between them had to be well calculated to set off their design. We studied shelves intensely and started investing in vintage hutches and industrial chrome and glass cases. We found discarded cupboards on the sides of roads and even got calls from remodelers looking to offload kitchen cabinets. Eventually we had 2 rooms of the gallery filled with an eclectic collection of pieces that just screamed “Artists Live Here”.

Then we bought a theatre! Our 1927 vintage vaudeville house had a 3000 square foot back stage area and 6 dressing rooms. Stage sets, tools, curtains and costumes all required storage and…shelves.  We kept some of the pieces from the gallery and UPCYCLED them into places to keep theatre programs, posters and stage makeup. But sturdier shelves were required for the tools and canvas used to make sets and wood for bracing. We went to a warehouse store and bought the metal screw together kind of shelves and because of their cheap price; we bought a couple dozen of them and screwed them together and then to the backstage wall.  It worked.

Next…We bought a restaurant. Actually, we eventually owned 3 restaurants. The first was a Cinema Grille with a casual menu and “throw away” dinnerware. The next was a fine dining Italian romantic experience. And finally, our last restaurant was a fine dining event with a changing dinner menu and pairing wine. We were very lucky, by this time to have the ultimate in shelving expertise! All of the shelving for each restaurant for every kind of storage needed to be metal (chrome) with the sustainability to be bleached and carry 600 lbs of weight and be NSF (national sanitation foundation) inspected. It was very easy and extremely affordable to find this type of equipment in used equipment stores

Over the years, some of the pieces used for display, storage, and organization have worked their way into our hearts and permanent collection of furnishings. But, now, with the UPCYCLING I am in the process of carrying out, I need a new kind of shelf! I need durability and weight bearing, along with easy mobility and cleaning. I have been online and in stores and I think I may have found a solution ….that was on SALE!

So…..I just spent my weekend putting these 4 different types of shelves together.  They are in place and ready to be organized and loaded up with my books, art supplies, canvas, fabric, buttons, papers, glue, glass, gunk and junk! is how one set of shelves look fully loaded!

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