“ Brand: Homebase „
I needed a storage solution for the utility room. The guinea pigs had become a problem as we'd moved things round and they're going to be indoors more as winter comes. The larger cage was going from on top of the other two to the top of the chest freezer, and it was heavy and awkward, and the guinea pigs scurried about in typical terror every time, probably thinking it was an earthquake or the end of the world was nigh. (They live for drama.) So I tottered into Homebase, as I remembered I'd seen some black plastic shelf sets that I thought might be large enough to accommodate the cavy cage on top. Initially I was going to buy the three-tier shelf unit that costs £19.99, but when rummaging through the stack in the Homebase yard, came across two five-tier units at the much reduced price of £10 each (because their packaging was damaged). Bargainiferous! It was a no-brainer given that you don't have to put all the shelves up. The five-tier version is usually sold at around £26. The shelving unit comes flat-packed in plastic. (Mine were ripped, obviously, which just saved me a job ripping them open!) You get 5 shelves, 16 pipe legs, 4 caps, 4 feet, a couple of double rings (for joining units together) and a pair of fittings to attach the unit to walls if desired. These are all stored in the gap on the underside of the shelves when packed. The instructions take the form of a diagram on the large sheet label on the inside of the packaging. Putting it together is ridiculously simple. Each shelf has a hole in each corner, into which the legs fit. First you insert the feet into the shelf you choose to be the bottom one (they're identical, so interchangeable). Then you pop the first set of legs into the holes, and plonk the next shelf on top, sliding the legs into position. And repeat. Once it's fully assembled (or in my case, once I'd assembled them as two three-tier units) you fit the caps into the top holes. That is it, unless you want to fasten them to each other using the double ring supplied or attach it to a wall for extra stability. It's a five minute job at most. The units are pretty stable, however, and I wanted them free standing, so I haven't used those pieces. I think it makes sense to store heavier items lower down, for your own convenience and because, while sturdy, the units are fairly light. The recommended maximum weight is 175 kg (27 and a half stone). They're easy to move around, as once push-fitted together, they don't come apart easily and they are light, so while you're deciding on the right position, it's no bother to shift them from place to place. The shelves are about 28 inches (71 cm) wide and approx 14 inches (35.5 cm) deep. Fully assembled the five-tier unit stands at 68 inches (173 cm) high. Assembled as a three shelf one, it stands at 35 inches (89 cm) tall. I've put the two together to create a large shelving area for tools and gardening bits, while on the top resides the guinea pig cage and some happy squeakers. Because I had shelves and bits left over, I also made up a four-tier unit. Without a set of feet, the bottom legs aren't in fully and the bottom shelf sits directly on the floor, but such is the depth of the holes, that it doesn't seem to have compromised the stability unduly. I've no worries about it collapsing or toppling. It would be great if the manufacturers provided extra feet so that you could pick and choose which combinations to put the units up in more easily. The shelf units stand firm against clumsy great gallumphing dogs who think it's interesting to put paws up and press a nose against the cage bars, cats that glide gracefully through gaps and teeter on edges, and basic blundering about by small and large humans. These shelves are by no means beautiful, but they're ideal for garages, sheds and work rooms. They're easy to clean, being plastic, and seem very durable. I'd recommend them to anyone looking for some cheap solid shelving, as long as aesthetics aren't an issue.