hidden in plain sight.

In my humble opinion, the month of January is good for precisely two things.  Traveling somewhere warm, or cleaning out closets.

Since I won’t be traveling anywhere warm until February when my sister and I head out to visit our mom, that leaves cleaning out closets.  Or really, just basically organizing things.

I don’t think I’m alone in this.  Do you guys tend to use these cold winter months for things like sorting through your crafting supplies, or alphabetizing your seed packets while dreaming about next year’s garden, too?

Lately I’ve been spending some time putting away Christmas decorations, sorting through closets, and making piles of things to take to Goodwill.  So that means I haven’t really been working on projects to share here on the blog.  And I figure it would be pretty boring for me to show you my ‘before & after’ closet clean outs.

So instead, I thought I would revisit some fun ways to use vintage items to organize and store things, and to basically hide them in plain sight.

One of my favorite vintage items for organizing small things is the enamelware refrigerator box.

I use some for organizing my ink pads and paper ephemera.

I added the wording using some old alphabet rub-on letters from my scrapbook supply stash.

I use another of the enamelware boxes (also updated with a transfer) to keep all of my mailing supplies handy.  I have stamps, my return address labels, and a small address book inside.

Another of my favorite items for stylish storage is the vintage suitcase.  This is a great way to add more storage to a room, while also adding some fun vintage style.

You’ve already seen that I store some my tree toppers in one.

And I also store my embarrassingly large supply of scrapbook stickers in a vintage suitcase.

My spare photography equipment fits nicely into a vintage vanity case.

One thing that I’m frequently asked about when it comes to old suitcases is how to get the smell out.  I have to admit, I haven’t really found a permanent way to get rid of a musty smell (you can read more about the various methods I’ve tried here).  In the end, my advice is to use musty suitcases to store things that won’t pick up the odor, like those camera lenses.  I recommend avoiding storing clothing or other linens inside old suitcases.

Another great item for storing bits and pieces is an old toolbox, tackle box or lock box.  Before I paint these, I seal them inside and out with Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. which blocks stains and odors.  So no worries about musty smells.

I use a toolbox to store all of my furniture wax.

It sits on a shelf right in our living room.

Talk about hidden in plain sight.  It fits right in and no one would know that it contains some of my painting supplies.

Toolboxes are also great for holding things like ribbons …

Or your sewing kit.

I keep my two hot glue guns and all of the related supplies in an old tackle box.

Those trays for the tackle are the perfect size for glue sticks.

Tackle boxes are great for storing random crafting supplies too.

An old roller skate case makes the perfect container for storing your pile of black and white photos while keeping them nice and flat.

All this talk of storing things in vintage containers brings me to my first ever after Christmas sale!

I have a couple of items that haven’t sold, so I thought I’d mark them 25% off for the month of January (sorry, still local sales only).  So if you’re looking to get organized, maybe you can use one of these items for stylish storage.

First up is the roller skate case shown just above, and here …

Sale price is $26.25 (skates not included)

Next up is the classic blue & white toolbox.

It includes a removable tool tray inside.

Sale price is $41.25.

And finally, the dark side lock box.

This one is that pretty Scandinavian pink on the inside.

Sale price is $30.

If you’re local and interested in any of these ‘storage boxes’ be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

17 thoughts on “hidden in plain sight.

  1. Fun to see these great ideas. I love that they are eye catching and useful! Do you have a specific room or space where you keep all your paints and brushes? Wondering. Where you work when the weather is chilly?

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    1. I keep my brushes in the large pine cupboard that I have in my study (a.k.a. the Q Branch), and in the winter I keep most of my paint in a big cupboard in the basement. I really wish I could paint down there too, but the basement in my 1904 house is more of a cellar with a very steep staircase with a turn at the bottom. We could never haul furniture up and down from there. So, in the winter I paint right in my piano room. It’s bright and sunny in the winter. I cover up the piano and the floor with big drop cloths. I keep my most used paint colors in the Specimens cupboard in that room. It’s not the ideal situation, but it works for me.

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    1. Love the suitcase storage ideas…I have my glue guns and sticks in a decorated tool box you gave me years ago….everytime I use it, I think of you! These make great gifts and even better storage. I currently have small bankers boxes keeping my large ribbon stash. Wish there was a better way to organize these! Keep your ideas coming in the New Year! 🎉

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  2. So, I keep all my Christmas decorations in my parents old suitcases. One year I bought some large pinecone candles and after Christmas, into the suitcase they went. The next year the suitcase and everything in it smelled like the candles sooo that gave me an idea. I saved the old candles where the wick was burned down but there was still wax in the tin and put it in the suitcase. Being closed up all year solved the suitcase smell issue. Since nothing touches the wax everything is safe. I got a very strongly scented bath bomb and am using it in a suitcase this year.

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  3. Hi Linda!! Happy New Year! Where do you get the enamel boxes? We’re those a find? I love your toolboxes and all of your storage ideas. Unfortunately I don’t have any vintage suitcases. I need to go to some estate sales!! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I find the enamelware boxes at both garage sales and thrift stores, they seem to be rather common around here. I also tend to find vintage suitcases at both as well. I haven’t had much luck selling the vintage suitcases though, and my own non-collection of them has grown to the point where I really don’t need any more (I have a bakers dozen). So I found myself passing them up at garage sales last year.

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  4. That old roller skating case holds some lovely vintage photos…ohh if those photos could talk…wouldn’t that be fun! We are so glad that they have a good home and are treasured. I hope that your mom has identified as many of the people in the photos as possible. I love your blog Linda. You are so talented and have such an “eye” for what you do. Ronnie says tell you mom “Hi” when you visit her in February. I hope the weather is warm and the sun shines while you are there!

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    1. Thanks so much Linda. My mom did identify as many as she could, but there are still quite a few mystery photos. I still enjoy having them, and use them frequently as props. I’ll tell my mom that you guys say hi!

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