Vintage Milk Crate Love

recycled metal milk crate, wine rack

I recently came across this fantastic vintage metal milk crate.  When I say came across, you probably envision me in this cute little antique store, eyeing all the vintage goodies, just deciding which treasure I should take home.

No, I found this in a dump.

recycled metal milk crate, wine rack

Years ago, there were no public landfills as we know them today, if you lived on a farm and had trash you dumped it somewhere on your property or somewhat nearby. I don’t know what happened to your trash if you lived in the city.  

Anyway, there is a barn not too far from me, at least I assume it was a barn, now it’s a pancake.  I’ve been poking around it for years now and never noticed it’s dumping grounds several hundred yards away.

recycled metal milk crate, wine rack

It must have been because the leaves were off the trees, or because it was a beautiful day that I strayed a bit farther than I normally do away from my pancake barn.

recycled metal milk crate, wine rack

That’s when I spied something white thru the trees. It wasn’t anything in particular, it was just something  in the distance that looked a little out of the ordinary.

recycled metal milk crate, towel holder

I had to explore.  If I waited another month the leaves and the thorny bushes would be back. Not to mention the ticks.

recycled metal milk crate, towel holder

As I got closer, I noticed it was indeed my dump.  I had searched near my barn before, but never quite so far away.

recycled metal milk crate, towel holder

The white object I had spied from a distance was an old refrigerator, probably from the 50’s.  If that refrigerator had been sitting in someones barn all those years it may have been worth something, this one, not so much.  Even for my scavenging eye it was rather disgusting and rusted through.

recycled metal milk crate, towel holder

What caught my eye was this great milk crate, half buried in the dirt. I didn’t expect it to have it’s bottom but when I pulled it out I was pleasantly surprised to find it intact.

It could be argued that this rusty thing probably should have remained in the dump, they might have a point but I happily returned to my car with my beautiful wine rack, or was it a towel rack?

Milk crate light.672478294_f524

Don’t need a wine rack or towel storage?  This milk crate was made into a light and sold on Etsy.



This cute stool was made by Angie over at Knick of Time. She stenciled the lettering on top.  Love.

Even if you don’t have a pancake barn nearby you may be able to find one of these metal milk crates around in the corner of your favorite antique store. Happy hunting.

Shared at Inspire me Tuesday, Trash 2 Treasure,

Be Inspired Tuesday, Wow us Wednesdays,

Talk of the Town, Thoughts of Home on Thursday,

Handmade Hangout Party, Funky Junk DIY Salvage,

Share it One More Time, DIY Sunday Showcase,

Silver Pennies Sundays, Dishing it and Digging it,

Amaze me Monday


  • Debbie B says:

    I have an old wire crate except mine doesn’t have the middle dividers. I attached little casters to the corners and it’s used as a catch-all under my entry hall bench for hats, mittens, etc. I absolutely love it!

  • Pam says:

    How did you clean it up so you could put the towels in it? Very cute!!

    • Joan says:

      Actually I didn’t do anything, it’s still in its natural rusty state. I plan to use it as the wine rack instead of the towel holder. If I change my mind, I’ll have to seal it with a spray varnish. Surprisingly none of the rust came off on my towels when I was doing my testing.

  • Wow – I love it as a wine rack or towel holder! Super cute! Pinning for later. 🙂

  • Laura says:

    So fun! I love turning trash to treasure.
    Oh, that reminds me: I meant to go back around the block after I dropped my boy at school to grab a dresser on the curb.
    I better go see if it’s still there!

  • Nikki Gwin says:

    ahhhh you brought warm feelings to my heart with the talk of trash dump salvage. My daddy would find the neatest things when he carried the garbage to the local dump. I love your find.

  • Too think this fabulous light fixture may have remained a buried milk crate had it not been for that old fridge. Love this story and how you repurposed your find, Joan!

  • Stacey says:

    There are so many things you could do with that! Putting the towels in there has my mind spinning. Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought of the towels on my own. Smart girl!

    Thanks so much for sharing this with Thoughts of Home on Thursday. One of the bonuses of a linky like this is expanding our minds. 🙂

  • So many ideas, WOW!! Love the them all.

  • Jemma says:

    Good Morning,
    I enjoyed reading the background of how farmers disposed of their miscellaneous trash. I did grow up on a farm and that is exactly what we did.
    Hauled all of the junk and such way up to the edge of the farthest field.
    I am so glad that you rescued this milk crate, it has such a rich history!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at TOHOT!

  • I found a few of these in my basement (I call it my treasure trove) . I used one as a stool and one I repurposed into a table. But your idea of a light fixture is really outside of the box thinking. Joan, mine are unbelievably heavy. I’d be afraid they would fall on my head. lol. But they are sturdy and will survive anything as you pointed out.

  • Christine says:

    Loving this post, I need to go pull one I have out and use it again! I think the last time I used it, was in a tablescape. Now after seeing this? WHo knows where it will end up. lol

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