Elevate Difference

Making Room: Finding Space in Unexpected Places

Living in a small studio apartment, I was excited to look through the home-help book, Making Room. The premise of the guide is to create new spaces in the home you have, instead of moving elsewhere or adding on extra rooms. With hopes set high, I eagerly dove into the book only to face-plant into glossy pages of disappointment. While the pictures are interesting and fun to look at, this book is aimed towards the middle-to-upper class homeowners with kids and dogs. The suggestions are interesting to think about, however. For example, Wendy Jordan shows the reader how to make extra drawers out of your stairs. With some tools, wood, a couple of trips to the hardware store and lots of spare time, you can find a built-in space in your stairway to store your canned goods, extra paper towels and an iron. If I made drawers out of my stairs, I’m sure my landlord and neighbors would have a problem with it considering that I share those stairs with about eighteen other people. Plus, I don’t have time to do any of the major house-renovating projects that Jordan suggests. I have time to buy plastic bins, and that’s about it.

But I can’t be too cynical. It’s obvious that this book is not intended for the recently graduated, low-wage making and, probably, disorganized young person. Putting my socioeconomic status aside for the moment and pretending that I own a multiple story house, this book is actually a radical idea. Due to mass-consumerism, our culture believes that the answer to any life problem is to buy more. So what are you going to do with all of that extra plasma TV, drum set and kid’s toys lying around? Jordan’s serious suggestions are radical in the sense that she encourages people to make due with what they have. Stop adding on rooms and buying bigger houses, already! Every page is filled with detailed suggestions of helpful projects to find extra space in the home. An extra closet, for example, can be turned into a small office space. By adding bookshelves into the walls instead of buying new ones, the homeowner adds space and finds a place for all of her books. Maybe by changing our current approach to finding more space, our cultural approach to buying more stuff will change along with it.

And for those of us that can’t actually find the book pertinent to our lives, we can at least get a laugh. Jordan’s language is more entertaining than the projects she creates: “Before it was liberated from its confining walls, the kitchen in this small house was dark and isolated…a solid wall between kitchen and family room blocked social interchange entirely.” Oh, the horror! But seriously, keep this book in mind when you have the house, time and modern desire to find extra space in your home.

Written by: Chelsey Clammer, April 23rd 2007

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