Before we had a child we swore up and down that our house wouldn’t become a giant toy depository. Piles of kid toys- especially in the form of single function plastic crap with missing pieces- give me the willies. The Family Purchasing Clause of 2007 states: “One small child, consisting of 33.33% of the human inhabitants, shall not occupy 75% of the space, nor shall items that are solely for her purpose.”
People shook their heads and gave us those silently judging “Oh they just don’t know what it is like when a metric shit ton of plastic crap descends on your house. It is unavoidable! It just happens! I think they might be un-american!” Well, it is over 4 years later and we have fairly easily avoided it. Turns out it is completely possible- if you share a similar value and are intentional and conscious.
Generally, it plays out a little like this: if there isn’t a space for it, which in our small house is likely, then we don’t get it. We value anti-consumerism, so don’t tend to buy, or keep, things merely for the sake of having them. We aren’t militant about it, but that is the goal. Items serve a purpose and are used regularly, or we don’t have them. Most potential purchases get examined by a web of personal values, space to keep/store, and finances. Kid items aren’t exempt. If something can’t be put away after playing to contain it, then we don’t get it. Things are pretty organized. Games have a place; as do blocks, cars, stuffed animals, puzzles, and books.
Cooking is also a value I hope to instill in the Babylady. Kids learn skills and values through play and modeled behavior. If you want your kid to cook they need to see you cooking, take part in cooking, and play at cooking. But those play kitchens? $400 for a nicer wood one? Or less for a crappy plastic one. Both take up a ridiculous amount of space and are singularly purposed. Ugh. What to do?
Enter the Ikea Bekväm Step Stool . People have varying opinions on IKEA. To the naysayers I say, whatevs. You can organize your kid like nobody’s business and do it in a manner that won’t make you shudder every single time you look at it. We need to reach high objects. We think a play kitchen could be fun for her. She wants to “help” us make things. Transformation time!
Bekväm Stool Hack
Need: Bekväm stool ($14.99), 4 Pannå coasters ($1.99), paint in any color, a few screws, 4 rubber concave wall door stops (something like this ~$6/total), and heavy-duty craft glue. Optional: an old shelf organizer & some staples.
- Assemble stool, which is surprisingly easy. Yay!
- Paint stool color of choice. We chose black, for no real reason that I can remember. Maybe we had it on hand?
- The top of the stool will accommodate 4 coasters-turned-burners. I got red to simulate a hot stove. I adhered them with some heavy-duty craft glue and then put a screw in the middle of each. The glue has held up for the past 3 years so the screw was probably unneccessary.
- Space the doorstops along front edge and glue/screw in place. Voila! You now have knobs!
- I happened to find an old shelf organizer (somewhat like this) that we weren’t using to turn into an oven rack. You could use an unused file tray or something else. Goodwill usually has a lot of this type of thing. Or skip this step all together. I painted the organizer to match the stove and used a staple gun to attach it underneath.
That is it! For less than $30 (and that is if you get everything new) you can have a new play kitchen for your kid. That is small, unobtrusive, AND useful to everyone! It is her kitchen, her helping stool, but it works as originally intended for us to get things down from high spots. Win!