I have those days when I’m baking, when I think – man, I wish I had a stand mixer right now. See, I love to bake – but not enough to own an actual stand mixer that would take up a ton of room in my tiny kitchen.
Enter Dana Boyer. The genius behind The Kitchen Library in Toronto and recently profiled in O Magazine for her idea in the new sharing economy. I got the chance to catch-up with Dayna over email to learn more about how this idea caught on in Toronto:
How does The Kitchen Library work?
The Kitchen Library works like a regular library but instead of lending books, we lend stand mixers, juicers, dehydrators, etc.
What inspired The Kitchen Library?
I had been chatting with The Toronto Tool Library for a few months when I started rolling around the idea of all the different things I could put into a library. It was a light bulb moment when I landed on kitchen appliances because as someone who loves to cook and lives in a tiny apartment in Toronto, I definitely didn’t have all the space for the appliances I wanted.
What are the most popular items that people checkout?
The appliances go up and down in popularity by the season. After the holidays the juicers and Vitamix are definitely the most popular as people hit the ground running with their New Year’s resolutions. But the stand mixers were constantly checked out before the holidays, the canners are popular in the fall, and then of course the ice cream makers are perfect for the summer time.
Which THREE recipes do you love to cook?
I wish I had time to use all the appliances we have in the library but unfortunately most days I rely heavily on the high-speed blender and juicer:
Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
½ cup Oatmeal
1 tablespoon Chia seeds
1-2 tablespoons Natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Pinch of salt
Strawberry Milk Smoothie
2 cups Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Handful frozen strawberries
½ cup raw cashews
2 green apple, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery
1 or 2″ of ginger
Do you run the library full-time?
I actually just left my full-time job in the spring of 2014 to run The Kitchen Library full-time (I’m sure I gave my parents an ulcer doing that!), but I’ve held onto some freelance social media work and a part-time contract job doing social media for a college.
What was the most important non-negotiable thing for you when designing your lifestyle and work life?
Saying no to things. No to jobs that aren’t fulfilling, no to relationships that make me unhappy, even no to objects in my apartment that I don’t love. I know it’s going to sound cheesy and self help-y, but saying no to all that stuff makes room in your life for all the other awesome stuff you want to say yes to.
What do you do to de-stress?
My boyfriend and I block off Sundays so we can spend a whole day every week doing nothing, sleeping in, making food, walking the dog and watching TV. It’s hard to do, but I protect this day from getting cluttered up with stuff.
What’s your typical day like?
I know I should make up something glamorous here. But it’s winter and freezing in Toronto as I write this, so the honest truth is the first half of my day is spent working on my couch in my pajamas with a space heater next to me – answering emails, updating social media, coordinating schedules, booking meetings, organizing volunteers, doing media interviews. Romantic, right?
The second half of my day is more exciting because I head to The Kitchen Library in midtown (inside Living City Health) and I work with our incredible volunteers to make sure everything runs smoothly. In the evening after the library closes is when I would typically hold a Kitchen Library board meeting.
Then if it’s cold, my boyfriend and I will go skating or if it’s warm, we’ll go running. So by the time I get home again I won’t feel so guilty for sitting on the couch all morning.
What did you study in college and is there anything you would have done differently?
I started off in online journalism and then moved to online marketing/communications so running a library of kitchen appliances is pretty far from where I started. Every so often I wish I’d gone to business school but some of the skills I’ve accumulated along the way have definitely come in handy.
Best piece of life advice to share?
If you’re envious of someone, pay attention to that but don’t be a jerk to him or her about it. Feeling envy means you want something they have. You don’t need to take it from them to have it too, but go out there and get it for yourself in your own way.
To learn more, visit The Kitchen Library online.
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Photo Credits: Lisa Tait