My daughters are young and their needs are always changing. They wear a pair of shoes for 6 months then need a new pair.
They use a little chair, or a booster seat for a year or a month or 2 and then we have to replace it and either throw out the old one, find a friend who happens to need the same thing at the same moment we want to get rid of it, or put it on Craig’s List. (We have no charity shops here in Tokyo and limited recycling opportunities for large items.)
I find this kind of turnover exhausting. I wanted to create a dresser system for the girls that accomplished 3 things:
- Recyclable so that we could recycle the whole thing, or just parts of it as the girls’ needs changed. I didn’t want the guilt of throwing away something that was perfectly good and I didn’t want the extra work of finding someone to take on our old stuff.
- Facilitates Independence. I wanted a piece of furniture that was easy to use and functional so the girls could easily pick out their own clothes and put them away starting from an early age (about 18 months-2 years ).
- Beautiful. I believe that the things in our life should be beautiful and functional. I want my daughters to value beauty, design, the arts, and momma moxie, so we tried to accomplish all of those things when we made the dressers. If you like hot pink and pattern as much as I do I hope you agree on our definition of beautiful….
To make the dressers, we collected kiwi boxes over the course of a few weeks, as well as beautiful papers; a mix of washi papers, origami paper, paper bags and Gallery Opening flyers.
I then decoupaged the papers onto the fronts of the boxes with water and white glue. I made a door in each box by cutting two sides about a ruler’s width from the edges of the box, and and then scored the bottom to create the door opening.
The doors of the dressers always stay shut and close easily. In a year and a half of using these boxes, the doors have never flopped open or gotten flimsy.
The girls can easily open and close the drawers. By decorating each box differently they quickly have memorized what kind of clothing each box holds. (Only Dad is still struggling with this.)
Another benefit of these dressers is that they are not a hazard if they fall over in the event of an earthquake – an important consideration living here in Japan.
If you’re wondering where you can get kiwi boxes, check out your local produce department. This past summer I wrote a post about how to find free cardboard here. We also use these boxes for storing our toys, puzzles, and art supplies. Yes, kiwi boxes are a definite favorite here in our apartment.