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Repurpose vintage items

By on June 3, 2011

Vintage items can be repurposed in your home. Old wooden highchairs, ladders or ironing boards can hold books. Old double kitchen sinks can become raised beds in your garden. Collectible tumblers and vases can hold a variety of items such as tooth, hair or paintbrushes, combs or pens. Vintage long and low ceramic planters can hold sponges, soaps, teas, washcloths, loose change or keys, too. The first three reader tips share ideas for repurposing more vintage items.



Today I was truly inspired. At Goodwill, I found a brand new enamelware coffeepot that holds about a quart. I had decided I wanted a second sprouter for mung beans so was on the hunt for something suitable, and it occurred to me the coffee pot should be perfect. Not only will it work as a sprouter, and the spout will be handy for rinsing and draining, but it matches the new color scheme of our kitchen (blue) and also the glass soap dispenser that looks like a little blue enamelware coffee pot. — Rae, Minnesota


I bought an antique colander, black speckled granite, that was missing the feet for a quarter. I use it to hold my onions on my microwave cart. They get plenty of air circulation plus it looks cute! I used a large enamel pan to hold my potatoes (about 10 lbs will fit in it). It is red/white swirl granite so it looks cute in the kitchen too. — SueAnne, e-mail
Note from Sara: A vintage coffee or teapot or colander (hanging or tabletop) can be used as an indoor or outdoor planter, too.


On my vanity top, I have a makeup mirror, an apothecary jar for cotton rounds and q-tips, and a vase with glass beads to hold up my makeup brushes. — F.D., Iowa


Before placing the potting soil in the container (and after the container has been washed and bleached with a 5 percent bleach solution to kill any lingering fungus, virus or bacteria) line the container’s interior with bubble pack. This helps shield the plants’ roots from the summer heat. How? The bubble pack provides an extra layer of insulation that keeps the soil from absorbing the heat from the container’s walls. In our Oklahoma heat, that is very important! It also helps to mix into your potting soil a measure of granulated, slow-release fertilizer as well as composted manure to add nitrogen to the container’s soil. Doing this now will help cut down on the amount of fertilizer you will need to apply all summer long to keep your plants healthy. Finally, to save money on potting soil: If you have a large container, say 18-inches tall or more, and want to cut down on the amount of potting soil it takes to fill the container, first put a layer or two of empty plastic water bottles with lids on in the bottom of the container. This takes up space, won’t deteriorate, and is easy to separate from the depleted potting soil at the end of your growing season. –Carey, Oklahoma


I made some Swiffer wet jet pads out of and old cloth quilted mattress cover. Then I just throw them in washer. It has saved quite a bit by not buying the pads. I also had some fleece that I had cut off a no sew throw that was big enough to go on the Swiffer and I use that for dry Swiffer pads. — Piney, email

photo by hairfish

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