It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Storage Delight and Childhood Memories

Once in a while, I have a flash of sheerest brilliance. I really, really do.

This one started with my perusal of the Canadian Tire catalogue. Now, perhaps I am the only woman who enjoys paging through the Canadian Tire catalogue beyond the gardening and patio furnishing section, I don’t know. I’m quite sure it stems from happy childhood memories.

I grew up in a small village – a mere hamlet when I lived there, population 600ish – bisected by a small highway. On my side of the highway was the library, on the other side of the highway was “the Plaza”, a little strip mall of small stores: an IGA (groceries), a Peoples (department), a dry cleaners, a hairdressers, an LCBO (alcohol). I’m sure there are others that I’m missing, but the one I haven’t forgotten is the hardware.

A small Home Hardware, and a wonderful place for small children. The creaking wood floors, the dust motes in the air, the smell of grease, and, oh, the possibilities! This sense of possibility is the same I get when I enter a fabric store or a craft store: all the things you could do! My favourite part in the village Home Hardware was the bins of small bits. Rows and rows of open bins of nuts and bolts and washers and nails and screws and various mysterious metal bits and pieces, the names and uses of which I never knew, but the possibilities! Oh, the possibilities!

Kind Mr. Hilliard who owned the place never prevented this little girl from picking up the bits, running her fingers through the washers, letting those cool, smooth metal scraps pour over her palm and tinkle back into the bin. Once in a while he’d take one of those small paper bags and drop a few of this and a couple of that into it. “Here. Take these home and see what you come up with,” he’d tell me. He understood.

I’m sure he and his Home Hardware are the reason I can never let that Canadian Tire catalogue go unexplored. And this time, well, what a coup! In those cool, shiney pages, under “Tool Cabinets”, I found this little gem, a four-drawer DIY Waterloo on castors, and I thought, “MY tools aren’t wrenches and hammers and vice grips. MY tools are glue guns and sparkles and beads and paper”. Hey! Whyever not?

So off to Canadian Tire I go, and now, in my kitchen, instead of a cupboard filled to overflowing with craft stuff, I have this:

The cupboard that used to be stuffed full is now half-empty, and will soon house the things a kitchen cupboard should contain, things which till now have been stacked five-high in unlikely corners of not only the kitchen, but also the back porch.

When we got to Canadian Tire, we discovered that these babies were ON SALE!! Regularly $169, now yours for a mere $99. So of course I bought two. What else could I do? Given their purpose, no one, not even Revenue Canada, could argue their business-expense worthiness. The second one is on order, and when it arrives, some of that stuff stacked on this one, and the remainder of the craft stuff still in that cupboard will go into it.

Look at these drawers!

Is this not wonderful?

I am a happy woman!

April 19, 2006 - Posted by | crafts, daycare, random and odd


  1. fantastic. It’s nice when everything has a place and is in it. Something that never happens in my house unfortunately, but I live in hope…..

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  2. Looks like a very useful cabinet. I am impressed by the labels on the front of the drawers. Organization!

    Comment by jw | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  3. awww, speaking of memories, those cabinets bring back some! My Dad has a few stashed in his workshop. My favourite is the rolling one he used at work (Electrician at 3M for 30 years). It is a rolling photogallery covered in pics of myself and my brothers from infancy to adulthood.

    Comment by MsSisyphus | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  4. They are great! I have one in my kitchen. Because my ‘minimalist aesthete’ husband provided no cupboard space in our last kitchen reno.

    This time I am in charge of suchlike reno plans!

    Comment by mo-wo | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  5. I love, love, love CT. My dad used to take me Christmas shopping there. I read the catalogues happily. I hadn’t thought of using the tool box for a craft center, and now I need one! I must go to the great red store! NOW!!!
    Oh, and your organized craftiness with all the cool stuff makes me hum with happiness. It also makes me jealous.

    Comment by AverageMom | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  6. That looks awesome! I love organization, and yet somehow my house doesn’t meet me halfway yet. Perhaps I too need one of these nifty pieces.

    Comment by Kristen | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  7. Mssisyphus, my dad has a tolling photogallery, too! It was his fathers, and so it has pictures of my dad, his sisters, my grandmother, their cousins, as well as my generation.

    That is such an absolutely perfect idea!

    Comment by BeckaJo | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  8. My Father-in-law has several of these in his Garage and there were a lot of them in the Petro Canada station / garage (AKA Martin Hawbolts BP) I used to work in.

    But I can safely say I have never seen one in a kitchen. You are one cool improvisor.

    Comment by Bill | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  9. This has totally been my plan for when I get room to finally set up my glass studio when we get the basement. Nice flat shallow drawers for glass and small tools, deeper ones for my nasty chemicals and larger tools. And mine must lock because of all the danger that will be hidden in them.

    Comment by kittenpie | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  10. My husband’s dentist moved into a renovated Phillip66 building. They used the red cabinets for all the dental equipment.

    Love what you’ve done with yours.

    Comment by Meredith | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  11. WOW! That is a great idea Mary P!!!!

    I never would have thought of that…now I’m wondering what I could put in one..cause I mean that’s so cool.

    That is awesome though….you’re a very smart woman! But you already knew that.

    Comment by kimmyk | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  12. Look at all the paint! I am so jealous! Supplies! Whee!

    Comment by Jenorama | April 19, 2006 | Reply

  13. MrsA: Everything in its place happens in my house! If you can accept that one end of the dining table is the “place” for a pile of administrative papers, and that one end of the piano is the “place” for a pile of miscellaneous books and magazines. Seems our “system” involves a lot of piles.

    I’m working on it, one bit at a time, and the piles ARE getting fewer!

    JW: Those labels are not so much evidence of organization as they are evidence of my poor memory. I’m saving myself countless openings of the wrong drawer, where “I was SURE I’d put those beads”!

    MsS: That’s so nice. Not only does it show you your history, but it shows you how important you all are to your father. I love it.

    mo-wo: Our house was built about 1912. Now, I’m sure they had kitchens back then, but somehow our kitchen gives the impression that it was a last-minute add-on. Someone decided, “Oh, yeah, we should turn that room at the back into a kitchen”, and accomplished this by throwing in the kitchen bits – fridge, stove, sink, counter – but they have no obvious relation to each other. It’s very weird. And inefficient.

    AverageMom: I’ve been accruing craft supplies for years, of course, AND, given what I do for a living, any and all craft goodies that come into this house are tax-deductible. All this gives me license to follow my natural inclination and go nuts in Michael’s… Ye-haw!

    Kristen: I’ve always loved organizational gizmos. I’ve learned not to leap out and buy one just because it intrigues me: an unused gizmo just becomes more clutter! This one, though, is so obviously right for my home and my needs, I could indulge my little organising impulse in complete virtue.

    Beckajo: Who knew tool cabinets could be items of family sentiment? Well, now I do!

    Bill: Thank you! I’ve always liked the look of these things: is there some rule, I wonder, that says tool cabinets, no matter who their manufacturer, must be red? This application is perfect for me.

    Kittenpie: These cabinets do lock: there’s a bar that can snap in place down the front, with a key at the top. I just haven’t bothered, because there’s nothing dangerous in there. Messy, but not dangerous to any kid strong enough to open the drawer – not that they do, on pain of…they don’t know exactly what, so they’re not taking any chances!

    Meredith: Hello, and welcome! These things just have a multiplicity of uses, don’t they? So far we’ve listed crafts, tools, glass-working supplies, electrician stuff, kitchen stuff, and now dentist stuff.

    kimmyk: Thank you! And it’s all thanks to a Canadian Tire catalogue. Inspiration comes in funny places.

    Jen: Doesn’t it look great? All those colours and textures and fun bits. It’s not just my job, it’s because I can never just go into a craft store and come out with the ONE item I was after. Those places are too much fun for that! (Though I confess that all the paint, and a lot of the other stuff, comes from Zellers or Wal-mart: craft stores charge half again as much for the EXACT same thing.)

    Comment by Mary P. | April 20, 2006 | Reply

  14. Getting organized is great, staying organized is the hard part.

    Comment by Peter | April 20, 2006 | Reply

  15. It’s neat. I have several similar (only much cheaper plastic) drawer thingies scattered around the house.

    Comment by Granny | April 20, 2006 | Reply

  16. Oooohh…ahhhhhh

    Comment by LoryKC | April 20, 2006 | Reply

  17. I don’t think there is a reason, they are just red.

    I remember when I was a kid all the craft supplies were well organised under the couch, TV stand, Kitchen drawer, beds and sorted by luck. I think My mom could have used one of these.

    Comment by Bill | April 21, 2006 | Reply

  18. I feel your happiness. I am vicariously experiencing happines through you, at this moment.

    Comment by L. | April 21, 2006 | Reply

  19. We have one of these in our garage as well, but for actual tools. For my craft stuff (I do jewelry work) I have a series of fishing tackle and/or tool boxes. Each of them has a handle so I can just pick them up and work wherever. I love them!

    One of the places I love to visit is the Train Hobby store. It’s full of tools AND potential craft items. So cool!

    Comment by the weirdgirl | April 24, 2006 | Reply

  20. I would be a happy woman, too!The drawers are truly wonderful! 🙂

    Comment by drenka | June 1, 2007 | Reply

  21. […] while they snooze, I peruse. Scan the craft cabinet, seeking inspiration. We could do the tried-and-true handprint flag, which already graces the front […]

    Pingback by Craft for Canada Day! (which would work for the Fourth, come to that) « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | July 1, 2008 | Reply

  22. […] loves to shop. Well, that’s not universally true. Groceries? Meh. Hardware stores (which I love!), video game stores, electronics stores? Equally indifferent. Book, card, and fabric stores are […]

    Pingback by Fashion Puppy « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | January 7, 2011 | Reply

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