Using Vintage Suitcases


Every once in awhile you can still find vintage suitcases at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. They aren’t as plentiful as they were years ago, but they are out there, so it’s something I always keep in mind when I’m “thrifting.”

Why suitcases? Because although we don’t use theses hard-sided vintage cases for traveling anymore, it’s easy to transform them into storage containers.

Okay, maybe we just use them and don’t actually transform them. But work with me here, alright?

What I find even better than their storage potential is that they look good, so they can be out in the open – under a bench or table – and look like cool decoration, all while their REAL reason for being there is wonderfully hidden.

Here are just a few of the ways we’ve used old suitcases as storage:
  • for out-of-season clothing under beds and benches
  • to hold dolls and doll clothes and accessories
  • to hold all the pieces of a fabric project (cut squares for a quilt waiting to be assembled)
  • for yarn storage
  • for photos and albums


To be able to stack the suitcases (and use as side tables, too), you need to look for squared-off sides (as opposed to sides that slope from the bottom up to the handle).

I’ve collected this stack of three suitcases over the years, adding to this odd empty space under our rescued china cabinet (yes, most of our furniture has it’s own story…) as I found them.

At first they were simply decoration, but then I started crafting with paper and little odds-and-ends – first making scrapbooks for the kids and then for homemade cards.

Which I usually make while sitting at the dining table.

*Light bulb moment*


When I began using them for paper crafting, I couldn’t believe how perfect the suitcases were with their pockets and easy open tops – not only for storing all the paraphenalia, but also for being able to access it fairly quickly. You can read more details of how I use this for card-making here.

Plus – get this – it’s portable!

Wanna get together with friends for a craft night (or day, weekend, whatever)? Just place all the coordinating paper and things in the suitcase and take it with you – all your implements are ready to go.

Seriously, don’t you love it when something that isn’t used anymore for it’s original purpose finds a new life doing something else – and doing it better than many other options?

Okay – so we’re all going be on the look out for old suitcases, right?

Have you found old suitcases? What do you use them for?

31-days-thrift-store-transformationsThis is day 6 in our series (you can click on the button to see all the posts in the category). If you’re wondering what’s up, you can read the introduction to 31 Days of Thrift Store Transformations here. I’m taking a little liberty and using the term “thrift store” to stand for anything you buy used (and cheap!), be it from a store, garage/estate sale, flea market…whatever. It all just wouldn’t fit on the button…


  1. says

    Hello I am visiting via the Nester’s 31 days series. Your series is so inspirational and full of great tips!

    I too am participating in the series. My topic is “Decor To Adore~ finding your style”. I would like to invite you to stop by anytime.

    Have a beautiful day and a wonderful fall season.

    • Jami says

      Finally got a chance to visit, Laura – what a beautiful blog! I’m signing up to follow your 31 days series – looks good. :)

  2. says

    Great idea! I have never thought of using these to store craft items together (such as your paper crafting). That would make it so handy to pull out and have all your supplies at your fingertips.

  3. says

    What a fabulous idea for storing card-making or craft supplies. Now you’ve got me thinking. Instead of all these plastic bins, we could use these wonderful suitcases which are also decorative. Okay, now I’ve got to start looking as I need one for storing my husband’s hat collection, wrapping paper supplies, books for our bookswap membership and so many other things. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. says

    I think this is a super idea. I’ve recently begun scrapbooking again after a three year hiatus, and this is such a good idea I’m on the prowl for a clean, usable suitcase right now! Thanks!

    • Jami says

      So glad, Mary Ann! It really was so great when I had regular craft nights (sniff..though we don’t anymore) to be able to just grab the case and go. :)

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