Thursday, August 18, 2016

Using Vintage Treasures as Storage Solutions

Hi everyone!  It's so blazing hot here in our part of "The South" that I've been run inside to the air conditioning...I never did finish the landscaping projects outside.  I will pick that back up when it cools a bit.  I figure none of it's worth a heat stroke...

So, I'm inside working.  I was cleaning my pantry and decided that you might like to see how I use vintage and unusual containers to store everyday items.

First, I should tell you that my house is very unconventional.  We designed it ourselves, and did so for the way we live.  I did not want traditional cabinetry in my kitchen, but we would need some place to store dishes, containers, food, and everything else necessary for a kitchen to function, so I decided to add a walk-in pantry to the floor plan.  In the kitchen itself, I do have a custom built island with some cabinetry on the kitchen side of it. It was also built with storage in mind.  I'm going to focus on the pantry today and we'll come to the kitchen another day.

Looking into the pantry

Most houses would probably have some type of door going into the pantry.  I chose to use a netted curtain that I found at Ikea.  I like the sense of mystery that it brings to the decor...everyone always wonders what's inside there. 

The first major storage piece that you see straight through the door is the old black cabinet that once served as my parent's china cabinet.  I have their entire dining room set, which is now all painted black, and scattered around different places in the house serving different purposes.  I removed the glass doors from the cabinet so that I could have easy access to the items inside it in the pantry.  I absolutely LOVE the look of this piece mixed with the very contemporary metro shelving units that are also used in the pantry.  You could get the same look by mixing old and new furniture pieces in unexpected places.

On the top shelf of the black cabinet is a picture of my mom.  I lost her almost five years ago, and I like to see this whenever I'm working in the kitchen.

These jars make great storage solutions for dry baking goods.  See the large jar? That one came from my mom.  It was given to her by her sister many years ago. My uncle had a gas station when I was a little girl, and in these jars he had snacks for sale.  I remember going by there with my parents and he would always let us pick something good to eat from the jars. You can buy reproductions at Wal-mart today.  I purchased the two smaller ones there to match the vintage one.   

From this shot you can see a basket hanging from the ceiling.  I keep empty baskets handy to grab in a hurry if I need a pretty container for fresh fruits, vegetables, or to take something somewhere to a dinner, etc.  That white basket is a vintage one that actually held flowers at the funeral of a relative.  It's special to me, and I think of that person every time I use it.

Here, I'm showing you how I've used an old wire plant stand.  It's a tall one.  I put a wood salad bowl into the top and it now serves as a handy spot to store chips and snacks.  If I decided to use it for salad, I could bring it out table side, still in the plant stand, and toss a salad right there as part of a fun dinner experience!

If you've ever worked in retail, you are probably familiar with slat wall.  I love the versatility of this material, so I wanted at least one wall in the pantry to have it.  You can purchase the wall board and all sorts of gadgets to hold shelves of different sizes, hooks, etc. at retail supply warehouses.  As you can see, I have put a top shelf of glass (that I picked up from an estate sale) and I have hooks under the shelf.  On the shelf, I used a hat box (not old...from Hobby Lobby) to hold little cocktail napkins.  I'm addicted to pretty little napkins, so I have lots of them...I also keep vases and home decor items up there that I need infrequently.  I do keep a step stool in the pantry for when I need something from up there.

The paper towel roll is simply stuck onto one of the long hooks in the slat wall...This hook is what would have garments on hangers hanging on it in a retail space.    It's so easy to just reach inside the door, grab a paper towel and go.    It's also easy to change out rolls when it's empty.  As you can see, I keep disposable cups there in a handy spot just inside the door too.  It's hard to see in this pic, but there's also a bottle opener on that cabinet.  When hubby grabs a beer from the fridge, that opener is about two steps away. 

In the pic above, there's an old wooden bowl that was painted by an artist friend many years ago.  I use it as wall decor, and to hold many different things-fruits, vegetables, pine cones, magazines, etc.

Here, I've taken another old outdoor plant stand, added a basket, and use it as a potato and onion basket.  I lined the bottom with parchment paper to catch any dirt, onion peels or whatever could fall through the cracks in the basket.  When it gets dirty, I just throw it away and put in a clean piece.

The utility room is right next to the pantry.  I have had this old board/hook for years and years.  In my house in Virginia, it was actually on the kitchen wall and I hung aprons on the hooks.  Here, I've used it to store things that I use outside when I'm gardening.  The little basket holds scissors and twine, and you can see my floppy hat hanging on another hook.

This idea, I shared this morning on Instagram.  This vintage wire basket has been used in many different ways.  Today, I was trying to figure out a way to store plastic bags from the grocery store.  I previously had them just crammed into another bag, and it wasn't very pretty.  I came up with this simple idea, and it's so much better!  I simply pulled them into a long skinny shape, then bent it around and arranged the bags so that the bent loop can easily be pulled through the wires in the basket.  It shouldn't pull anything but thte one bag, but I'll see how it works...

About those plastic bags.  I really would rather not use them at all, because they're not very earth friendly, but we figure if we at least recycle them, it's not quite as bad.  We have cats, and when it's time to clean out the litter box, we need something that's going to hold the trash. These plastic bags are perfect for that.  I do take unused bags back to the recycle bin at the store.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour of my pantry and maybe picked up an idea or two. Let me know if you see an idea you can use and I would LOVE to see pics of what you've done.

Thanks for hanging out with me a bit today, and I'll see you again soon.  


  1. Love the china cabinet! Great use of vintage pieces.

    1. That china cabinet will always be special to me. Thank you, Kim, for dropping by!

  2. I love your pantry. My mom did something similar to yours, but her area was in the basement and the furniture pieces were painted blue. And she was a basket collector. Tons of them were always hanging from the ceiling and filled with dried flowers and herbs from her garden.