SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Monday, January 28, 2013

Vintage Tins: Refrigerator Door Organizers | Family Economics

By Cathe Holden


I am quite attracted to using contrasting textures, styles and surfaces when it comes to home furnishings, décor and accessorizing. For example, I love the look of an old farm table with modern, clean chairs, or a fresh contemporary sofa adorned with a vintage crocheted throw. So when it came to organizing pens, rulers and other items in my kitchen, the industrial stainless steel door of our refrigerator was the perfect canvas for a few grungy metal containers from my vintage tin collection.

Metal tins turned into pencil cups and small supply organizers can be added to almost any flat, metal surface. Refrigerator doors, file cabinets or magnetic dry-erase boards are ideal to use as you can simply hot glue a strong magnetic disc to the back of the tins, or use small neodymium super magnets that will attach without glue. The number of magnets needed for each container will depend on its weight and the items being stored in them. 

refrigerator door organizers

My organizers include a large mint tin that holds index cards, an empty fruit sours can for pens, pencils and small scissors, an automotive material tin to house my collection of 6-inch rulers, and a medicine tin filled with binder clips, perfect for sealing chip bags. I also use a tiny fishing sinker tin as a decorative magnet. I may sneak a secret note in there for the curious to find. 

vintage tins 


•    Always use caution with neodymium magnets by placing them out of the reach of children.

•    Be careful not to drag any magnet across your stainless steel refrigerator door surface as it may cause scratches.

•    Place a round of felt or craft foam in the bottom of pencil cups to minimize damage to items’ tips.

•    Consider the surface you are using to determine which tin to use its contents as a heavy door that easily slams could jar items loose.

How do you use vintage décor in your home?

Photos courtesy of Cathe Holden.

4 Comments so far

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On Monday, February 10, 2014, Vanita from Texas wrote

I've used vintage tins for cotton balls, pencil/pen holders, unique and old buttons that I've collected but I need to display them in something clear that they can be seen in, pencil led and erasers for mechanical pencils, pictures....But, I love your idea of putting magnets on the back and displaying them like that....Thank you so much....

On Sunday, February 17, 2013, Julia from KY wrote

These tins are beautiful! Like you I really enjoy the look of vintage paired with the more modern stainless!

On Sunday, February 10, 2013, Jen B wrote

Now I need to find some vintage tins!

On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, Julia D. wrote

Great idea and vintage tins you used are wonderful! Thanks Cathe...........


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