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Friday, January 3, 2014

Don't Forget to Change Your Drawers

Let’s talk drawers. There’s no reason to feel shy. Almost everyone uses them.

Wait—did you think I was starting a blog about changing underpants? Get your mind out of the gutter! Underpants are a personal subject and I’m not here to lecture you about changing them.

I’m here to encourage you to change the drawers in your dresser. And to use them as planters.

Today I moved a small dresser from the back yard to our side yard. The dresser had been sitting in the back yard in my potting area for a few years since I’d moved it out of my cramped studio, where it wasn’t being put to use. My idea was to store gardening pots in the drawers. I opened the two drawers. One was empty and the other had a few pots and—yikes!—a black widow spider, which I immediately sent to spider Heaven. If these drawers weren’t being used to store things (besides hungry spider babies), I needed to rethink how I was going to use them.

I decided the dresser could be made into a planter in our side yard, which is a wedge of land near the front door. The drawers I would turn into shelves for my plant collection out back.

I think this piece is really cute but I wasn’t using it indoors. I bought it (along with a similar one) at a thrift store, and gave them both makeovers. I hand-painted each and they were part of a group art show. Neither sold so I kept them and they’ve held various things in various rooms in the various places we’ve lived. (Yesterday as I moved the drawers I saw that I’d signed the back and included their completion date: 1997. That was so cute. 1997 seems like so long ago—I was practically an infant back then!)

Here is the dresser before I gave it a new life in the plant world:
I turned the dresser so that it now rests on its back. I put potted plants inside and touched up the red top, which had been scraped during our moves. Now this wedge of land has more of a focal point, a strong color drawing your eye to it, and the dresser looks great where it is. It is being put to use and adds a splash of color to the area. 


Now what to do with the two drawers? Today I turned one into a plant shelf and the other will be hung tomorrow. I nailed the drawer to the fence in our back yard, and it is showcasing some of my plants. The fence needed jazzing up as it’s pretty boring, and this is the perfect way. I chose plants that were relatively light (in plastic pots rather than terra cotta), as I don’t know how much weight the shelf will hold. It looks terrific and I’m delighted with the result.

Don’t be scared to walk around your house or yard and look at things in a different way. I’m not suggesting you take a prized family heirloom and turn it into a planter, but maybe you have something that isn’t an antique and needs a new look. Slap some paint on it. Or move it outdoors and throw a plant into it. I just love these opportunities. It’s so fun to give furniture a makeover. Since I had the drawers, plants and paint already it was completely free. It gave me a boost to repurpose something and to add new life to my garden. So step away from the computer, and go walk through your home. Find something that needs a new look and give it a try. Let me know how it turns out!

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