Monday, December 08, 2008

Toy storage

We found this steamer trunk at an antique store for $40. It's in really good shape, except the leather straps are a bit old and brittle. It's perfect for storing Zari's toys. The living room is also her playroom, and it was getting really messy with all of her toys scattered around and nowhere to put them. We thought about using it as a coffee table, but it was a little bit too high. So now it's against the far wall in our living room.

I like finding new uses for old items that are inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing. Yes, it would have been cheaper to buy a plastic Rubbermaid bin--but I wanted something durable, nice to look at, recyclable (you could burn or compost almost every part of this except the metal hardware and leather straps) and, most importantly, something that didn't add to the amount of stuff in the world. This trunk has been around for 80-100 years and will likely see at least that many more years of use if it is taken care of.


  1. What are the hinges like? My boys have a boat-shaped bunk bed, and I've been looking for a steamer trunk like this to store things in their room. All the ones I've found seem too sharp and snapping-shut-too-quickly for a kids' room. Did you do anything to modify the hinges, or were they fine?

  2. That is AWESOME! I love seeing creative and attractive storage ideas! And really, the metal and leather parts would eventually rust away and decompose so there's nothnig here that would not eventually disappear. Very nice!

  3. The lid does close quickly because it just has normal hinges. It also has a support bracket that keeps it open. I am sure you could add some kind of slow-closing mechanism to this kind of trunk to be kind on little fingers. Your local hardware/home improvement store might be able to suggest something.

  4. I also feel the same way, and with three kids using the family room as a play room, there's lots of toys. We got two wicker trunks which look nice, although not well built (sold by Canadian Tire).
    One tip about your trunk (which looks fabulous, like it should be filled with gold)---you can cut and glue little pieces of wood on the rim in a couple places so it can't close all the way down onto fingers. This would also allow air flow if some child got in and couldn't push the lid back up (heavy? someone sitting on it? you never know, LOL).
    Much nicer than a generic plastic bin!

  5. Used to have something like that until DD got her fingers smashed when closing the lid.

    My DH took the hinges off and removed the lid so now it is used open.


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