There are only so many objects you can fit into a 425- square-foot apartment.
Dayna Boyer knew space was at a premium in her Toronto abode, and she didn’t have space for the one thing she wanted, a juicer.
“Everyone told me I would use it a few times then it would collect dust,” Boyer said.
Instead of buying a juicer, what if she could borrow one?
Welcome The Kitchen Library.
Dayna Boyer shows off some of the appliances available at The Kitchen Library. (Handout/The Kitchen Library)
“It hit me like a light bulb,” Boyer said adding that as far she could tell, there wasn’t anything like it in Canada.
Inspired by the already successful Kitchen Share in Portland, Ore., The Kitchen Library works like a traditional library.
Borrowers can peruse shelves full of kitchen appliances that range from slow cookers to Kitchenaid mixers.
And for $50 a year, they can take an appliance home for up to five days. Volunteers will show them how it operates, how to clean it and offer tips and demonstrations.
Boyer’s experience volunteering with the Toronto Tool Library, a volunteer organization that lends tools to the public for a small fee, helped her get the Kitchen Library off the ground.
“I was brainstorming other ideas for thing we could bring to the (tool) library and I love cooking,” she said.
In fall 2013, Boyer put a call out for any working kitchen appliances people were willing to part with. Soon she had a living room full of donations including a countertop roaster, a food processor still in the packaging and the Kitchenaid mixer.
“I didn’t think I’d get an appliance that expensive,” she said.
Beyond donations, the library’s success shows that more people want to borrow instead of buy.
The idea goes beyond mixers and drills. If Netflix is an indicator, the trend behind owning less and borrowing more is thriving.
Traditional libraries are expanding to meet more needs than books. Start-up businesses are finding success renting everything from prom dresses to bicycles.
This combined with the rising popularity of cooking at home and it is no surprise The Kitchen Library is taking off.
“It has been the most humbling experience,” Boyer said of the support she’s seen from the community.
Inspired by restaurants, food blogs and reality cooking shows, amateur cooks are looking to challenge themselves. Like any hobby, there’s always new gear you need to get better.
With borrowing underway, the next step is more demonstrations and teaching people how to use some of the tools.
“It is not only providing the appliances but the education around them so people feel confident experimenting with it rather than being intimidated,” Boyer said.
Recently they’ve shown people how to make almond butter with a food processor.
“It gets them talking about it and shows them how easy it is,” she said.
For more information on The Kitchen Library visit thekitchenlibrary.ca.