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How a Toolbox Helped Me Get Organized!

rusty metal toolbox upcycle home decor
 i just purchased this very usable rusty big ol' metal toolbox
from Kara at LuLu Belle's Junk Trunk at Needful Things Addiction - 
the store where my homewardFOUND shop is located.
(hazard of the vintage industry... we buy each other's stuff!)

admittedly, i bought it because of the patina and color. it's my thing!
but i knew that with all the compartments and shelves inside, 
it would come in handy in my studio/office.
so i brought it home, sat it down on the floor, snapped a few photos... and saw THIS:
i see faces in inanimate objects
lord, i need help. i'm so Disney that i see animated faces in everything.

as i was sitting at my desk on the computer, i needed something.
and when i went to get it, i couldn't find it. frustrating, right?
well, it was office supplies. and my office supplies are all over the place - 
as in, not in one place but in many drawers and buckets and shelves.

talk about an AHA moment!
continue reading to see what i did:

toolbox upcycle office supply organizer
i found all of my basic office supplies and put them together IN THE TOOLBOX!
up close, you can see that i grouped things by purpose as much as possible:
drawing, cutting, adhesives, etc. 

the toolbox now sits on one side of my vintage farm table desk,
within reach and holding just about everything i need when it comes to office supplies.
i keep it closed to take up less space, but it's easy to open it to get what i need.
a paper clip? a thumbtack? scissors? tape? check! it's all right there!
rusty vintage metal toolbox patina
i'm loving this easy solution! and isn't she purty?!

i have another tool box - it's red and in the homewardFOUND shop.
it was in there all of December and didn't sell! whaaat?

yesterday i went in and restyled it into a 'hot cocoa bar' for a photo -  
simply by adding my milk glass cups, one of the vintage thermoses from the kit,*
and a few silver accouterments 'borrowed' from the front room.
there's a whole compartment under the shelf that could hold packets of cocoa & marshies!

how great would this be on a kitchen counter?!
old metal toolbox cocoa station upcycle
 if it doesn't sell for Valentine's Day, i'm bringing it home
and repainting it to look like it's completely rusty.
(red is NOT in my color palette) and then i'm gonna' USE it!

have you used a toolbox for something other than tools?
share in a comment!

*  this vintage Thermos picnic kit also available in the homewardFOUND shop!
vintage thermos picnic set homewardfound shop

shared online:
funky junk interiors | DIY salvaged junk project party #411


  1. This is so cool and totally my color(s) um....white and rust. :) I've used my tool boxes for succulents and for...wait for it...tools! I loved having old tool boxes on my workbench. But then I injured my back, then my neck so my tool days are over. But I love how you repurposed this one into a desk organizer. That I might be able to do.........and so happy you left all that yummy patina, altho if I've read you right, we are rust sisters and patina friends.

    1. succulents - now THAT is an awesome idea, Chris! especially if you include plants with the orangey-rusty coloration of that perfectly rusted patina, right?!!! i'm sorry to hear about your injuries. i hope you can still find ways to enjoy old tools and tool boxes - even if it's for decor! thank you so much for leaving a comment.

  2. I found a brilliant heavy-coated turquoise tool box at the flea market and knew I had to have it. I'm hoping to use it for tools and other assorted paraphernalia in the room I will eventually turn into my craft room.

    1. oh i just love it when things jump out at me like that! that immediate 'yes! i gotta' have it!' is the thrill of the hunt, isn't it?!! i hope you have a blast creating your craft room - come back and let me know when you do, won't you?! thank you so much for leaving a comment, Patty.

    2. Wow, what a really clever idea! I found a rusty green tool box and could not think of anything to do with it. Now I have some ideas. Thanks

  3. I have been giving my hubby's tool box the beady eye since I saw this post. I just have to figure out how I can steal it without him noticing. Thanks for the inspo Debi, love this idea

    1. haha! oh, Michelle, you just brought back a lot of funny memories... over the years i 'rescued' SO MANY items from my (late) husband's workshop and from 'stock' for our vintage store + show booths! i was pretty good at being sneaky! until we moved. then he would see something coming out of my studio and look at me with 'that look'. he knew, and i knew he knew. ouch!!!! LOL

  4. Love your new tool box.....and the RED one, delicious.

    1. thank you, Miss Rita! that red one is still in the shop, you know ;) if you want it. just let me know and i'll be happy to pull it for you!