Collecting & Repurposing Vintage Ice Chests

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I bought an old ice chest at a garage sale for a couple bucks a while back. I liked it’s lines and I envisioned creating a graphic for the top of it. Something country… or french.. and of course it was one of those things I never quite got around to as the ice chest was being used.

This is also country life and it’s not like I have people driving by that can see what I have on the porch. I’m not trying to impress anyone, just trying to use up, make do and recycle things as often as possible. I ended up using this ice chest as an end table on the porch. You know, someplace to set down your glass of sweet tea, and perhaps hold a flower pot.

As things happen, items in this household end up serving more than one purpose. I was gifted an old display barrel from a Hickory Farms that shut down in the mall and decided that the barrel would make a ‘cute’ side table for the porch and the ice chest became a container to keep dry cat food on the porch. Think about it. No bugs or mice can get into the cat food and it’s handy as it was kept near where the cat was fed. It was the perfect container!

old metal Ice chest
old metal Ice chest

I’m presently ‘catless’ for the first time in ages (This was my last kitty….)

Country kitty
Country kitty
and this old metal ice chest now has been moved into the house where I’m using it for storage. Storage that stays dust-free, bug free and mouse-free. (I like to store things safety JUST IN CASE there’s a mouse…)

I’ve gotten so much use of that ‘first’ ice chest that I’m always on the lookout for another.

Case in point. Here are two more of my old metal ice chests that I use to store important paperwork and photographs (and the like). (Dust and all… these have held up to kids, dogs, and one flood from the flood of the century and who know what life they had before I found them!)

vintage ice chests
vintage ice chests

These ice chests are perfect for storage! And ‘most of the time’ they’re stackable! You could even store these in the barn or other outbuilding without worrying about critters getting into them!

Recently I found another one!

old metal ice chest
old metal ice chest
This one is presently being used as a backup ice chest for grocery shopping in the summertime. (It’s hard to get home without the milk getting warm without an ice chest….aw the perils of country life!)

You know what they say. Two are usable. Three (or more) means you’re a collector…. It happens. I guess I am officially an ice chest collector.

These kind of portable ice chests (aka coolers) were introduced in the 30’s and were a staple of family road trips in the 50’s & 60’s. (See the USA in a Chevrolet…) They’re metal and sturdy although a lot of them didn’t last more than a few summers (probably due to salt corrosion) so finding one today is a real treat!

What vintage item do you use for safe storage? Have you found an item, like these old coolers, that you’ve repurposed into an essential part of your homesteading lifestyle?