Fruit crates.

You know how you always see cool projects all over the place that involve re-purposing old fruit crates? Or old shipping pallets? And then you start getting obsessed with looking for these old fruit crates and old shipping pallets everywhere you go. Where is everyone finding this stuff? It’s like there must be some pile of magical old wood out there somewhere, just waiting for you to take it home and make it into something lovely. Except you never actually find that magical pile of wood—not in a location where it’s up for the taking. At least I don’t.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, fruit crates. I found some! A whole bunch, actually. They’re all piled up in the parking lot of a store that’s gone out of business on the outskirts of Newburgh. We’ve liberated three of them so far, and I think we’ll go back and get some more this weekend. I want to use them for basement storage bins. If I can get my hands on a bigger, sturdier crate, I want to put casters on it and use it for stashing magazines in the living room. Like so:

(via emmas designblogg)

  1. elisabethAug 20, 201010:34 am

    I know there are no children in your house, but, you might want to go to Ikea website re: enje shade recall.


    Jesse /

    I want one crate to use as a toy box for my dog. Any ideas where I can find one?

  2. AdamAug 20, 201010:38 am

    You just gave me a great idea! I’m so tired of my current magazine stand, I never would have thought of using a fruit crate!


  3. AliceAug 20, 201010:40 am

    Jealous! I’ve been looking for crates myself. Great idea for the magazines, too!


  4. Anna at D16Aug 20, 201010:43 am

    @elisabeth: Thanks — I’m not too worried about Evan and I strangling ourselves, though! ;)


  5. BekkaAug 20, 201010:49 am

    You are right about never being able to find cool stuff. I’m envious of your finds! My stepmom has a house full of cool old things and I still have no idea where she gets it all.


  6. CherryAug 20, 201010:50 am

    Nice reuse. I see a lot of people reusing old wine boxes. I pass by a wine store that has tons of them outside after they get a shipment.


  7. annieAug 20, 201010:55 am

    I have tons of shipping pallets sitting in my storage on Mott street… you can always have them.
    I don’t know what to do with them.


    PaulaCanz /

    I am looking for palets to create a table for the garden, where can i get that??

    Anna @ D16 /

    You could ask at a loading dock, I guess, but I’d make sure they don’t have any weird preservatives in the wood before using them to make a table.

  8. ItRainedonaFridayAug 20, 201011:04 am

    I’m with you – there must be a fairyland of sorts where good fairies get access to fun things meant for repurposing. So what’s a girl gotta do to get her fairy wings?? I’ve been searching high and low for vintage metal letters (I only need two more!!), and wooden crates to put on casters to store floor cushions. I keep telling myself…one day…one day…


  9. StephanieAug 20, 201011:05 am

    You kill me. I was just thinking about this the other day. I’m even worse off. I live in the suburbs of Orange County. No cool city alleys in my hood. I eventually caved & just bought a crate from a craft store, stained it and stenciled my own made-up fruit company. Haha. I’m such a poser.

    Can’t wait to see what you do with them! I think it’s perfect for basement storage.


  10. Kay*Aug 20, 201011:14 am

    Ah I LOVE this idea and actually…this might be the perfect storage solution for my place while in India. And inexpensive too. Sweet. I’m sure I’ll be able to find all sorts of interesting fruit crates…might be worth it for me to bring along a few pairs of castors though…thanks for the idea!


  11. Kim at Yellow Brick HomeAug 20, 201011:16 am

    I always think it’s so nutty when I see another home blogger write about a project on my to-do list!

    We actually have a crate, casters, and paint in our office ready to go. Due to an overwhelming 9-5 workload, I’ve tentatively “scheduled” my project to take place this September. We plan to use the crate to house our board games.

    Thank you for the photo inspiration!


  12. TownersonAug 20, 201011:24 am

    YES! I got some of THESE for my dining room last month, and scored some whitewashed crates like yours on Craigslist for my new roommate’s clothing storage. Even better when they’re free, though.


  13. DanAug 20, 201012:09 pm

    I once made a table out of a shipping pallet for a high school theater production. It was supposed to look crappy and thrown together, which was a good thing because it was SO HARD to take apart. So much broken and splintered wood, I don’t know how people make such nice stuff out of them.

    Good find, though! I totally know what you mean about not understanding where in the world people just happen to find this stuff.


  14. elissaAug 20, 201012:34 pm

    I think I have the opposite problem. I have a to do list of enough future projects to last me several lifetimes yet I am constantly finding new “cool things” that have potential. I usually pass them by with the knowledge that I’ll never get around to doing anything with them, but occasionally I pick them up and they sit in my garage indefinitely. Too bad I can’t figure out a way to make a living getting them to people who are looking for them.


  15. emily@thirtyeight20Aug 20, 201012:40 pm

    We have a whole wall full of apple crate shelves in our living room, and we love them. We paid between $3-$5 each for them at a local orchard — way cheaper and more interesting than any store-bought shelving system.

    We also have an old dynamite crate on casters (which my dad gave me for my last birthday!) full of magazines. This isn’t the greatest photo ever, but you can check it out here:

    It seems we’re on the same wavelength today!


  16. PhillyLassAug 20, 201012:41 pm

    Oooh, I just love those orange casters.


  17. elisabethAug 20, 20101:26 pm

    !!! but watch out for the critters!!


  18. Design FixationAug 20, 20101:54 pm

    I have a similar obsession with crates, and I was recently able to get my hands on a whole slew of wine crates. I’ve been using them mostly for storage:


  19. Bunny @86n' ItAug 20, 20102:08 pm

    That is terrific. I love the casters. I’m putting this in my idea box. Thanks!


  20. Vicki @ Piccolo Takes AllAug 20, 20102:08 pm

    Did anyone catch this scene from the most recent episode of Mad Men??? If you want crates, you might check Washington Market… Oh yeah, in fictional January of ’65. ;)


  21. Funnelcloud RachelAug 20, 20102:18 pm

    That first paragraph could’ve been written by me – where do people find all these supposedly FREE treasures? I was obsessed with wine crates for a while (want to make one into a dog feeder), but haven’t found any free ones – in fact, they can be quite pricey on ebay. I’m still looking for that magical pile of free wood!

    Congrats on your stash though – can’t wait to see what you do with them!


  22. AlanaAug 20, 20103:16 pm

    Haha… this post cracked me up because I’ve been looking for both crates and shipping pallets for so long… I even have that exact same picture (with the orange casters) in my inspiration file along with this one.
    When I asked my dad (who is a builder by trade) where I might find these and why I wanted them he thought I was nuts but oh well.


  23. MichelleAug 20, 20104:32 pm

    this is so funny- I totally know what you mean and you just made me feel not so bat crazy. It’s like an itch you can’t shake when you have this idea in your head and you know it’s out there but you can’t find it. I had the same problem when I went on an obsession with planting succulents in wine crates, but for some reason nobody would give me their empty fancy crates.


  24. CindyAug 20, 20104:51 pm

    In 1996 I was taking out the trash and there was a PILE of old fruit crates (all pears, but lots of different labels) sitting next to the dumpsters. I brought a couple in, and then I just kept going out and grabbing more. I’m still finding new uses for them. “Tipsy Bee” is my favorite label.


  25. FionaAug 20, 20105:30 pm

    Casters. There’s a thought. I’ve got three wooden boxes from some old pharmacy company. The mixed copperplate typography is cool and proudly advertises the medicine as ‘Practically Tasteless’.


  26. Lissa@AfterAdornmentAug 20, 20105:49 pm

    What a lucky find!! I can never happen upon anything cool like that either….maybe I am looking in the wrong places?
    I love the idea to put them on casters. That would work great in my office to roll samples around!
    Have a great weekend!


  27. Lindsay JewellAug 20, 20108:33 pm

    Yea, I’ve been looking around for some fruit crates myself. Nice find. :)


  28. donnaAug 20, 201010:47 pm

    Funny, I was in an antique shop in Toronto today where they were selling old wine crates for $95 each. Crazy huh?


  29. KarenAug 20, 201011:20 pm

    Ha! This reminds me of a night in college a looooooooong time ago, when a friend of mine told me where I could score some of these fruit crates and wooden milk crates. So after many cocktails, some girlfriends and I dressed all in black and got a guy with a truck to drive us out to the warehouse, where we climbed over the fence and got us a big pile of boxes, all while giggling and singing the Mission Impossible theme song. Very stealthy. We thought we were the cat’s PJs until about a week later when we drove by the warehouse again and they were all piled up out front with a big FREE sign on them. I still have some of them and I think they are still as cool as they were 35 years ago when I first brought them home (and now they are genuine vintage!) I hadn’t thought of the casters though, that’s genius and I will definitely be giving that a try!


  30. ElisabetAug 21, 20103:57 am

    I put casters on an old wooden crate for sugar (quite usual here in Sweden) keep my daughters cloth diapers in it. I want more! But now they are starting to get ridiculously expensive, and I regret I did not by one this summer on our vacation in the countryside that I thought was too expensive then, should have known how expensive they are at home. Hoping that my mother in law will give me one she has in the basement.


  31. SammiAug 21, 20108:43 am


    My boss had this idea, that in his new store (that he is currently building) he would put things in fruit crates on shelves in the shop, and I thought this perfect for a village farm produce shop in the middle of the countryside… until they arrived. And I had to clean them…

    And they were FULL of maggots, and worms and God knows what kind of other bugs you don’t want anywhere near you.

    Now those things *terrify* me.


  32. BeckyAug 21, 20109:45 am

    Lovely! Those orange wheels are killing me – so beautiful!


  33. StaceyAug 21, 201010:03 am

    Yeah baby! I love this! Great way for me to store baby Zion’s toys. I love the orange wheels too-stylin':-)


  34. Avant-GardenistAug 21, 201010:40 am

    yeah well don’t be surprised when you catch Fritz and Bruno having Indy 500s whilst you’re out…


  35. Cait @Hernando HouseAug 21, 201011:13 am

    I love old fruit crates! If i could find one somewhere it would immediately go on casters in my library to hold magazines.


  36. Kellie DobbieAug 21, 201011:06 pm

    Great idea! But I question the quality of wood used in these crates. Proper wood treatment is essential for these transformed-from-crate innovations to serve its purpose much longer.


  37. LisaAug 22, 20109:08 am

    It was once that many things being shipped out of Russia and the former CCCP block were packed in dovetailed wooden crates. It may be something you would have access to in a city with neighborhoods and usiness importing directly from their home countries. My father does electronics testing (has for 20+) years and the products from USSR came in these amazing crates. Maybe all the world uses UPS and shrink wrap, but maybe not. I toted those crates to college and still have them…..somewhere. LOL


  38. AmyAug 22, 20109:54 am

    Love your blog. Thanks a lot for sharing all your wonderful ideas with us. I’ve used so much of your inspiring ideas when renovating my own place.
    A tip for where to find nice orange castors: have a look at


  39. chrispitoAug 22, 20102:08 pm

    ha ha–my friend was soooo happy to hear that shade was being recalled, her cat has basically killed it.

    I hear you on the magical fruit crate pile…there are often some where I live but it rains a lot here and they always seem to be very scruffy and sad by the time I find them.


  40. julia -rockthathorseAug 22, 20105:46 pm

    Just came across this artist’s photo:
    in case you need more crates, hehe


  41. SusanAug 23, 20109:32 am

    Too funny, I feel that way about shipping pallet furniture, too. And then I wonder about the chemicals in the pallet wood and how are people finding safe pallets?

    Check your local liquor stores for wine boxes, too. Fewer wine bottles are packed in them these days and sometimes the stores don’t know what to do to get rid of them, so they’ll just give them away if you ask. I have a wine box that I put casters on recently and it holds wooden blocks. One day when the my kids are bigger I’ll use it for something that won’t get turned into a go-cart on a daily basis.


  42. dew iAug 23, 201010:45 am

    Pottery Barn is selling off their “props” we have some nice looking vintage soda crates if you need an easy place to locate some shallow crates, and it’s free shipping!

    A good source for colored casters.


  43. BCOMEAug 24, 20101:09 am

    In case you wanna add some green to your balcony it is also always nice to put the plant into such fruit crates … than you don’t have to see the ugly planters and can move the plants also easily when you wanna clean the space.


  44. SarahAug 24, 201012:41 pm

    I love it. Just love it. What a great way to stylishly reuse old material! And @Bcome – great idea with the plants in the fruit crates. Thanks for the post!


  45. ednaAug 24, 20107:38 pm

    one day I was walking and suddenly I saw 3 old condensed milk boxes. pure wood joy. magic happens. just keep looking.


  46. EricAug 26, 20101:19 am

    Where do you get those rad orange casters?


  47. CharlotteAug 26, 20103:22 am

    Great ! Avesnes les aubert is near my place in the north of france ! I love it


  48. European ChicAug 27, 20105:58 pm

    I use wine crates for everything. I am afraid the wine merchant around the corner here in Paris knows me too well and kindly saves the crates for me.


  49. chelseaAug 27, 201011:05 pm

    Its so true! You do start obsessing over where to find these random things that others found so “randomly” and then the hunt is on and they are no longer so random afterall. Sigh.

    I like to peruse le craigslist for anything random. And I have my hawkeye always fixated whenever we are walking anywhere for treasures!

    your boxes are divine and I’m totally smitten with that rolling crate idea!


Your comment


Door Sixteen is a hate-free, drama-free, spam-free zone.
Wanna be startin' somethin'? Beat it.

Want a little picture to show up next to your comments? Go get a Gravatar!