Makeover: Vintage Toolbox to School Supplies Box

About three years ago, when my husband was working at a cabinet shop, he brought home this old, ugly green toolbox.  I remember him showing it to me, but after that it was stuck in his shop behind the house and I never really saw it again.  A year and a half ago we moved and things were shuffled around so much that we lost track of many things.  But last month, when going through EVERYTHING for a yardsale, we found it again.  He was going to put it in the yardsale because I had never used it.  Honestly, I had completely forgotten about it!  But once I saw it again, I loved it and thought of many things it could be used for. 

{the "before"}

The other night I began questioning Steven about this box.  Where did it come from?  What was it used for?  Why is it SO heavy? 

 My husband doesn't know who it belonged to or exactly how old it is, but thinks it is possibly around 30-40 years old. (He rescued it from the trash pile!) He told me that years ago, before there were portable plastic toolboxes, wooden boxes like these were a carpenters "portable toolbox."  They kept all their nails, screws, drill bits, small tools, etc. in the little compartments.  See the holes in the top on the picture below?  That would have held different bits for screw drivers or a drill. 

After learning the history of the toolbox, I loved it even more and wanted it to be used often.  I debated on what it's function would be and then it hit me...a school supply box! 

{the "after"}

Not really liking the puky green color, I bought a little Valspar paint sample of "Exotic Sea" ($3 from Lowe's) and painted it.  Now I really love it!  (Don't know if my love of all things turquoise will ever fade!)

I'm already loving that all the supplies are in one location. Last year, Lydia and Caleb each had a separate pencil box with their supplies, we had a little bucket for the chalk, and I had another little box that held the sharpeners and other miscellaneous things. But almost everyday there would be shouts of:
"Mom, where's my pencil box?? I thought I put it on the table!"
or "Where's the chalk bucket?"
or" That crayon came out of MY pencil box!!"

Um, yeah. Not cool. That got old real quick!  So very happy for a solution!!

Right now, this is what the box contains:

This is totally dorky (is that even a word anymore?), but I thought these little pencil sharpeners that were given to our kids are so cute. They have a flip up lid plus the container to hold the shavings. My kids think they are the neatest inventions ever, lol.  It's the little stuff in life, right? =)

Have you seen these post-it tabs??  I love these!  I use them for marking my children's workbooks.  Instead of having to tell them "Do this page to this page" and then getting asked again and again about how many pages they are supposed to do, I use these.  I put a green tab on their "starting page" and a red tab on their "stopping page."  You know, green means go...red means stop?  Works like a charm!  I also use them to mark where we are in their read-a-louds, etc.  They really are VERY durable and stay sticky for a long time.  Some of ours even lasted the entire school year!!

I love how happy my table looks with this vintage turquoise box on it, filled with all of the colorful school supplies!

So, how do you corral all of the supplies at your house?  Does each child have a box or do you put them in a central location?  Any organizing tips to share?  I'm all ears!

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  1. Oh Laine your new blog look is beautiful! Love it and LOVE this post! I've been slowly getting into trying to repurpose things too and this gives such great inspiration!

    Hope all is well at your home.

  2. Just to be clear, I don't know what a "drill bit head" is. Laine is a lot of things. Amazing wife, wonderful mother, outstanding cook, genius of a school teacher, pastor's wife par excellent, but a tool aficionado she is not.
    Actual conversation:
    Me: "Sweetheart, can you get me a phillips screwdriver?"
    Her: "Uhm, is that the plus sign or the minus sign?"
    Me: "The plus sign, darlin..."

    -Laine's Husband-

  3. I love this, Laine. And I love the color too. I am really hung up on this color right now. I love repurposing old things like this. Have fun, and by the way I think they are called "drill bits". Haha. MHooks

  4. I fixed it. Are you happy now Honey?? =) And by the way, the screwdriver conversation happened 9 1/2 years ago when we were first married, thank you very much. =P Hey, at least I knew there was a difference!

  5. Wow, I LOVE your turquoise supply box!!!! Looks so good with all the colorful supplies organized inside! {I guess I'm a dork too!}
    And what a great idea too with the red/green tabs! I do use them to keep my spot in my teacher books and love them!

  6. That tool box/school supplies caddy is AWESOME!!! I love the central location idea. I use clear plastic shoeboxes that are labeled and stacked up on a shelf for all the kids art/craft supply do-dads.

  7. I love this idea and wanted to let you know that I am featuring it on Monday! Thanks!

  8. Looooove it! I love turquoise too. We have always had joint supplies, but this year we started using pencil boxes. We all love them, and they have a special spot on a shelf behind the table. We do still have some shared supplies, but our table is narrow and long, and it was hard for everyone to reach without also overwhelming the center of the table. Now we each keep a pencil box of supplies at a time, but we're known to plop down somewhere else or plunk the shared special art supplies in the middle of the table...because we just like to share. I love your set up!

  9. Oh I love this! It's such a fabulous organizer - and I love the colour!

  10. So, so cute! I'd love to find a piece like this!


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