Today I am going to be talking about how I use vintage items in my home office! Now, I know this look is not for everyone, but I love being surrounded by old items that are well made and functional too!
Vintage Metal Trays
So let’s start with one of the workhorses of my home office… vintage metal trays. This one happens to be about half the size of a cookie tray, but I have full sized cookie trays that I use too.
The thing I like about these is that they make my projects portable. If I am doing some jewelry work, I can keep it all together and then just set it on top of my bookshelves to get it out of the way. Or if I am working on listing some stuff on Ebay, I can put them all on a tray and carry them around easily.
This one has a patina that I love and which you can find from time to time. I think it comes from being put through the dishwasher year after year. Now, I think that you are not supposed to do that, which is why it gets a sort of hard, powdery finish which I love for the look and texture.
Old Man Tackle Boxes
Oh my… this tackle box says, “turkey turd” on it! And at first I thought, well that is weird, but having used it for a bit, I have come to love it.
Obviously this was some guy named “billy”‘s fishing box that he used as intended, to hold fishing equipment. But I use these these kinds of divided boxes for anything crafty that I need to carry around. The cool thing is, what makes them good for fishing makes them good for crafting.
I can carry around all of my paints and paintbrushes to where ever I am working on things, make a huge mess and then tuck them back in my tackle box and put it up on the shelf like it is just there for decorating!
Check out all the vintage storage solutions we have for sale at our Glamorously Vintage Etsy store!
Vintage Muffin Tins
Oh my gosh, if you don’t have these in your office, you are missing a huge opportunity to have many more little things manageably!
I am always surprised that more people don’t have bits and bobs to use in their product photography, but I think one reason we avoid keeping cool things is that we don’t know where we are going to put them.
I hate having my world filled with plastic bags full of my “little stuff”. Those cause two problems, plastic in my cool room and also that I can’t really see what I have. Being visual, I like to have all my things out in the open where I can see them. If you have lots of little things you use often, muffin tins are the way to go!
The only thing that I love more than muffin tins is little metal cups. These kinds of cups were used to make little cakes or jello structures (remember the old days when we got jello for desert after Sunday dinner?)
I have a bunch of different ones of these including these wide ruffly ones, smaller skinnier ones, etc. I use them to keep my necklaces in on my desk, store small works in progress or just to keep my paperclips sorted in my drawer.
They are super easy to store because they are small and mostly stack up on each other.
Old Wooden Drawers
This is the paint section of my office where I keep my Annie Sloan chalk paints. I store all the cans and the “painting stuff” like tape, sandpaper and brushes in these wooden drawers that came from old sewing machines.
I love the old wood feel and the higgily-piggly look of these, while not having to look at a mish mash mess of paint trays, sanding paper and blue tape. I have also used these to keep my postage stamps or letters from time to time.
Just as an aside, I do this a lot in my office, having “containment zones” for my stuff. My chalk paint all goes in one place, my jewelry stuff in another and my journalling supplies in another. While it is all sort of on display, everyone loves the look of it because it is clean but happy and I can still see everything I need to see!
Check out all the vintage storage solutions we have for sale at our Glamorously Vintage Etsy store!
Fancy Glass Cups
I really love using these little glass cups to keep mundane things in. A cute glass cup with a stem looks amazing holding paperclips, where just having your paperclips in a torn open box does not.
This is just one example of how collecting these kinds of things to organize my office makes me happy. There is no reason to keep your things this way other than it makes you smile or helps to feed your “old soul”.
Having a vintage office is sometimes just about liking how it looks.
You can also use a bunch of these to make a “collection” that makes more of your normal things look nice. For example, use a row of ice cream sundae cups to keep things that are colorful but hard to contain in a manageable fashion.
Old Metal Buckets
Oh my gosh, this poor bucket. I had it on top of a bookshelf and then we got a kitten and she knocked it down 6 feet, bashing in the side a little bit and rendering it unsuitable for decorating.
But what it was perfect for using in my Ikea cart for washi tape!
It works great and I was able to get one of those round rings that open to hang my Tim Holtz stencils off the side, making her a double duty workhorse.
THAT is why I like vintage. If I was using all brand new things and I got a big ding, I would probably feel like I had to throw it away. BUT since lots of my things come with dings and that is their charm, I don’t have to be so precious with everything. Dropping something and getting a dent is not a crying thing, it is a, “what can I use it for now” event.
Those round rings are actually jump rings and are great for hanging things off of other things!
Vintage Metal Cans
Have I told you I hate having plastic crap around my office and the worst offender to me is the ubiquitous black plastic garbage can you get at Target.
Those just stick out like a sore thumb and make me cringe whenever I had one in my office. But then I got my snazzy Puritan Dairy Liberal Kans waste can. It is a big, old, heavy metal can that I use as my garbage can.
I put fuzzy nubbies on the bottom so that I would not scratch up my floors with the weight of using a 5 pound garbage can.
>> Fuzzy nubbies are actually felt pads that I use on the bottom of LOTS of my things to keep my furniture safe from my crazy organizing bits!
Melamine Plasic Pencil Trays
Okay, knowing my hatred for all things plastic, I am sure you are wondering, “What’s up with the plastic tray in her drawer?”
So first off, you got me there and second off, that is not plastic, it is an amazing product from the 1960’s and 1970’s called melamine. Now, it is making a bit of a comeback, but you can find great old drawer trays that have a super old patina and have held up well because melamine is in fact just a fancy name for plastic.
That said, it is a little more brittle than plastic so make sure you check for nicks and cracks when getting trays (or maybe you like that!)
I love the worn and faded look of this tray, but some are brightly patterned or many have that white with colored speckles look.
I use this one here and have other ones that are more “silverware drawer dividers” that I use for my long handled artist brushes.
Vintage Tool Boxes
Alrighty then, it seems in the old days there were not actual metal tool boxes or tackle boxes, instead people made divided section carrying boxes. These generally come with a handle and have different compartments you can use to put stuff in.
This one lived in our kitchen at the old house, but I snagged her back when we moved into this house. I LOVE these kinds of trays or tool boxes because you can put all your things you use often and move them around easily.
I kind of tarted this one up for the picture, but I generally have all the bits that I use for product photography in there… a bottle of goof off, my jar of felt balls, metal cups full of paperclips, scissors, tape, etc.
If you are space challenged on your desk, these are great because you can put them “up high” and just grab them down when you need to use them!
Old Assorted Jars
Hi I am Tara and I have an old jar addiction. Not to mock people with actual addictive problems, but I REALLY love using old jars to keep things handy.
Maybe that comes from having a grandpa who had his garage meticulously organized with baby food jars, but for whatever reason, jars call to me.
One thing I do know and love about them is that they are clear and easy to see inside. As I said, I am a super visual person so having clear glass jars to keep things is a fun way keep things corraled while still being about to know what I have.
This one especially intrigues me because it has the shaker top. I would think that it would be great for storing glitter or those little party cutouts if you like sending letters that have fun “fall out” things.
Doing this post I am starting to realize that I have the weirdest office in America… if you do not live like this just know that you are the normal one, not me!
Vintage Mason Jars
Last but not least on my list of favorites in my office are mason jars.
These lovelies were used for storing food and canning in the past, but I use them for storing all kinds of bits and bobs in my office.
There are a bunch of different kinds of mason jars, these ones that have a flippy over top thing and ones that have twist on lids and ones that are little and big and checkered and ones that just say Kerr.
They come in every shape and size imaginable and are great to use on your desktop, Ikea cart or even in your cupboards to keep things organized.
The nice thing about these guys is that they are fairly easy to come by and you can get them still in the store if you don’t spend all your time at estate sales and thrift stores like I do!
Using Vintage In Your Office Wrapup
So now that I have shown you some of the crazy ways that I organize my office, I starting to think that my husband is right and I am a little weird.
But besides that, I do think that having old things around me makes me happy and also keeps my office in great order.
On our travels we find lots of really cool things to use in organizing and we couldn’t possibly use them all ourselves so we have started selling them in our vintage store on Etsy! If you would like to use vintage in your office and don’t like to spend all your time rooting through dust piles and old barns…check it out here >> Glamorously Vintage!
Cynthia J Avalos says
I love to have vintage things around me. I remember reading a quote once in Victoria Magazine from a designer. She said she uses stuff for “anything but it’s original purpose.” I love that!