New Storage Space (Blame it on the contractor…)

The old storage cupboard...When I first stocked my dispensary last summer, I had relatively few herbs (around 50) in small quantities (below 250 ml. I stored these in an old white MFC cupboard, but it was rather flimsy, and visibly sagging under the weight. Also, bottles were arranged besides – and behind – each other, sometimes also balanced on top of each other.

As I have built up my practice, the space I had available was no longer adequate to house all I need, and the bottle-balancing and corner-cramming was adding time to dispensing prescriptions as every prescription became a puzzle: how to get the herbs out of the cupboard and back in again without causing a landslide. Something had to give, and one day it did; quite literally with about four bottles landing on my head. Enough was enough, I had to do something. So I decided on staying with a system like we had at university: A wall covered with shelving.

So I put up some bracket rails with clip-in brackets. My thought was to finish this with melamine-faced chipboard shelves, in the interest of hygiene as they are easy to wipe down, and are often coated with anti-bacterial coatings. No chance! B&Q didn’t stock it online, and didn’t stock it at a store within 50 miles. Ringing round other hardware shops produced the same result.

Under Construction: Levelling the shelves Ceding defeat, I settled on planed whitewood planks instead. So I got the local timber yard to cut some 6 x 1″ timber to length. So simple: two measurements; 32″ and 52″. I then spent several evenings varnishing and sanding the shelves getting a mirror finish in the end. Great. Next day, my friend Lowrian is due to come over and give me a hand with re-organising my herb stocks etc. So I take the shelves through into the dispensary to find…

… My inches must be different to the sawmill’s. The 52″ lengths are fine, but the 32″ lengths are about 4 inches too long. Cue some manic sawing and more varnishing. Then mum points out that I should run one shelf longer to give myself more space over the worktop. Damn, the timber is already cut to size. Do I have anything that will do? Yes… I was going to use it for a beehive – phewww. Measure up – 72″. Wow. These shelves are all in a 3-5-7 proportion to each other. Wow. Cut to size… to find when I put it against the wall that I’m short by a foot. Dammit, I CAN measure space and measure and cut wood to size. And I double checked my measurements!!! Oh well, blame it on the elves. So I varnish and sand the new plank. Oh hell… I need another bracket as this piece is longer. So I finally get to bed at 3AM, only to be up again at 8 to go into town to buy my extra bracket. Get everything up, and still slightly tacky when Lowrian arrives. Not to worry, it’s dry enough after a cup of tea has been drunk!Starting to add the tinctures...

Fortunately, Lowrian used to work in a library, and it shows! We have all my liquid herbs, dried herbs, and spare stock sorted out and put away in only a couple of hours. Wow. What a result – what a difference! I was so happy to get everything sorted out… it makes dispensing so much easier, being able to just lift bottles straight off the shelf! Thank you Lowrian!

I’d love to be able to do what many businesses do, and blame it on the contractor… but there wasn’t one, apart from me. And it turned out right in the end. I’ll just have to watch out for the enchanted tape measure that tells lies!!!

The end result:

Job Done!HappyyyyyThe finished, stocked, tincture shelves

Categories: Been there - Done that


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