A Soaping Space Of My Own

May 27, 2021

The tale of a sideboard called Bobby, flat pack furniture and way too much plastic

One of the things I have been working on this week is getting Small Kindness HQ set up so that I can manufacture my soaps. For this I really wanted to have a dedicated soap making space as up until this point I have been using a small section of the kitchen worktop (basically the size of a large chopping board). All of my soap making equipment was kept either in or below the sideboard (called Bobby) that was in the kitchen. This meant every time I made any soap it took longer to get set up than it did to actually make the soap. Not really the most slick manufacturing process! 

So I needed to find some space in the kitchen I could call my own. The obvious place was where Bobby was and luckily for me Bobby fits in our lounge. I would have been really sad to have parted with him as he was a second hand piece that my mum and I took a lot of time and love sanding down and repainting. So weirdly I kind of feel he is part of the family!

So moving Bobby freed up the space I needed to have a dedicated area in the kitchen. I was really keen to find a second hand piece of furniture to go in that space. Ikea used to sell a freestanding kitchen system so I had set up an alert on eBay for any that might come up. Sadly most that came up were full kitchens (which I don't need and were very expensive) or too far away for us to collect or get delivered. In the end, time wasn't on my side and I had to accept that I was going to have to buy something new. What I found was a freestanding workbench from Ikea. I did procrastinate for a bit as I really would prefer something second hand but in the end I decided the workbench was actually the best option. I want Small Kindness to be a success and ultimately that means at some point I will outgrow making the soap in my kitchen - so if all goes well in the future I would like to have my own (small) workshop to manufacture my soaps. This workbench would be super easy to take down and move into any new space. Also it is made from stainless steel which doesn't react with soap batter and is great to keep clean (as in from microbes- I know every single fingerprint shows up on it!). And the top is made from bamboo - which is a sustainable material. So although this is not as good as a second hand piece it is something I plan on using for an extremely long time and it will be able to move with me as Small Kindness (fingers crossed) grows.

Having said that it did come with more plastic bags around the flatpack pieces than I think was necessary and this made me feel a little sad and very guilty. Particularly as of all plastic, bags are really hard to recycle - neither our roadside collection by the council nor our recycling centre have the ability to recycle these bags. So this is another downside to buying something new rather than second hand and I wanted to be honest with you about this as it is part of the waste generated by Small Kindness. 

As well as needing space to make my soaps, I also need space to store the soaps as they cure - quite a lot of soap in fact. I looked at various different options but as we have a cheeky, nosey cat I thought it would be best to store them in something that allows the air to circulate (super important for curing) but prevents a small naughty cat getting into it. I found the Jonaxel storage system from Ikea that includes mesh basket drawers which is perfect. I think I will ultimately need quite a few of these systems to store all the soap but for now I only got one set to try it out (and to give us time to work out where the heck in the house we can actually put them all!). The other option I had looked at for soap storage was by Elfa, but they are super expensive - however they do come up on eBay second hand - so I will be keeping my eye out for them! 

Anyway the storage for curing couldn't have come at a better time - my current shelves were full and I needed somewhere to store my most recent soap. So it is now happily curing in what I am calling the curing pod! I will let you know how it goes.

Ok. As my dedicated soaping area is ready I best go make some soaps - I think I might time myself to see just how much quicker it is!!

Until next time, take care

Kelly xx


I am Kelly Townsend and this is the Small Kindness Blog. I am a scientist, a bee lover, a rewilding obsessive, and I want to spread Small Kindnesses through the medium of soap. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for your daily dose of kindness (as well as to see how the soap making is going!)