Little Wooden Tool Tote – Business in a Box!

business in a box wooden tool caddy tote

I think I may have whined about this once (or a hundred) times before, but as much as I love having my online Etsy shop, I detest shipping the things I sell.   Yeah, I know detest is a pretty strong word, but I pretty strongly dislike the whole process.  Several years ago, I had lofty plans to really make my packaging look “branded” and special.  I wanted that “brown paper packages, tied up in strings kind of look, so that when my package arrived, the recipient would break out singing like Julie Andrews, from the sheer quaintness of the package.

I ordered special stamps bearing my signature clock image, I designed and ordered pretty business cards, and I stockpiled shipping tape like I was running some mega shipping warehouse.

My thoughts of charming paper packages disappeared as quickly as my favorite pair of scissors seems to, whenever I need it.  Disorganization took over.

My boxes full of tape were stored in one room, my cotton twine was in another room with craft supplies, and my business cards were sitting on my piano desk, looking quite cute, but not exactly convenient.  I had no idea where my scissors were most of the time.  These days, I’m happy to just get the packages out the door in a timely manner – quaint and charming or not, and I rarely even remember to stick a business card inside.  Great “branding” huh?

Enter…this wooden tool tote!  Could it be the solution to all my shipping woes?

wooden tool tote

My youngest son made it a few years ago at our church’s summer day camp.  He brought it home,  but never wanted to use it.  I tried encouraging him to paint it or something, but he just wasn’t interested – where did that kid come from?  Unbeknownst to me, it somehow ended up in the basement, and anyone who has ever lived in an old house in the Midwest, knows that basements leak.  Some leak a lot.  I have always referred to our basement as, “A River Runs Through It“.  You know – that steamy movie with Brad Pitt?  Yeah, our basement is steamy, but that’s just the humidity coming from the “river” that literally goes right across the middle of the room.

Anyway, someone put this poor, unloved little tool box on the floor…in the path of the flowing water.  I discovered it last week, when scrounging in the basement for a can of paint.  Like a little old woman who loves mangy-looking cats, I love things that are banged up, rusted, or stained, so I overlooked its condition, and lovingly carried it upstairs.  As soon as youngest son spotted it, he asked if I was going to sell it, and if I was going to share the profit.  Ha!

a.  I wasn’t going to sell it, and

b.  If I was, I sure wouldn’t pay him for abandoning it in a river.  I had big plans for this little tote.

It would become my portable business in a box!

wood handled tool tote

I rounded up a random assortment of stuff that I thought I might use – chalkboard paint, some tin cans, old book pages, and a few random metal things that came in my auction haul last week.

repurposed tin cans and book pages

First, I gave it a coat of paint – water stains be gone!

painted wooden tool tote


I thought about decoupaging a few of my vintage stamps and shipping label images to it, so I grouped them together on one page and printed them out, but in the end I decided not to use them.

vintage postage stamps and shipping labels

Instead, I decided to give it a similar style as my tin can wall organizer, so I decoupaged some reproduction Sears catalog pages onto the cans and attached one to each side of the tote.  I added a an old metal funnel to one side, to work as a dispenser for my cotton shipping twine.

wooden tool tote business box

On the other side, I attached a wonky little cup hook to hold my tape measure, which I used to measure the size of each package.

tin can pencil holder

Now…what could I do with those little metal thingies?   They were the perfect size to hold a pair of scissors, and my business cards!

business card holder

Several rolls of tape, along with my “branded” stampers fit inside the tote.  Now there’s a place for everything, and everything is in its place.  Let’s just hope it stays that way.

business in a box shipping tape tote

I still have about 15 more empty tin cans in my stash, so I may just do an entire wall of tin can organizers!

repurposed tin cans stool tote

If you lean in very close to the little wooden tool tote, I think you’ll hear Julie Andrews singing!

“Brown paper packages, tied up in string…these are a few of my favorite things…”

wooden tool caddy tote


If you like this project, you may also like these!  Click HERE to see them all!

Repurposed Books Projects

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  1. Love it! That is exactly what I need. Now to just find a cool tote! BTW what is the tote sitting on? Also love the tin can organizer. I am very good at collecting the items to make the projects – but I never get around to making them!

    As always you inspire to try and get to my projects.

    • Thanks Helen! The tote is sitting on a little side table that has an enamelware top. It’s one of the very first pieces I bought at a yard sale when I first got married.

  2. Hi Angie, It’s great that you rescued the poor little tool box. It looks very pretty in black and makes a wonderful packing supply holder.

  3. Hi Angie, Love the tote and the cans as well. You give me great ideas for my very unorganized workbench.

  4. Great idea and so cute, too. I don’t have a desk and had all my markers, pens, papers, scissors and envelopes laying on the snack bar counter and often couldn’t find what I wanted in the mess. I had bought a bigger lidded tall box on ebay and one day put all the stuff in there using plastic glasses to hold the markers and pens and scissors and the envelopes fit perfectly behind them. Now all I have to do is open and close the lid to find what I want. I will also use your idea after I move. Blessings

  5. Mary Pat Lambden says

    I love this….and although I don’t have your creative genes, I think I can be a copycat! I have the tote, the cans, and horse piks. I’m going to create one for my project table in my barn

  6. So cute! You have a knack for turning old stuff into WOW. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  7. I love your toolbox and your creative twist on it!

  8. That is brilliant! I love the chalk paint on the tool box and the tin cans wrapped in catalog pages! Girl, I think you just solved my table mess! I have wanted something to corral all the bottles my husband thinks he has to have on the table. A tool box is the perfect answer. Thank you for inspiration!

  9. Great post! I love your toolbox organizer and the funnel for string is genius!

  10. Absolutely adorable! Love it. Nothing like an organized area …. but yours is over the top – bonus points in the shipping dept! Thanks for sharing!

  11. So funny, Angie…I call our “antique” basement “a River runs through it” also! Oh, the love/hate relationship I have with old houses; presently I’m starring in another blockbuster, “Lord of the Flies”!

  12. Angie,
    I stumbled upon your blog a short while ago and have fallen in love with it (or perhaps it’s YOU!). I live your little toolbox/shipping station. It reminds me very much of the ones found on FunkyJunkInteriors. She has been creating very similar ones for similar purposes, and yes, she hates the shipping aspect as much you do. She put together one to hold her twine and other ‘goodies’ too. I’m so glad to know that there are others out there that enjoy the same joy in creating beautiful things for their homes.

    Thank-you for sharing your ideas with us. We all benefit from them.


    • Thanks so much for dropping in to visit, Jan! Yes, I know Donna well – she’s one of my favorite bloggers, and we’ve teamed up for a few “junk”-inspired events on our blogs. I hope you’ll visit (and comment) often – I love hearing from my readers.

  13. How cute and great to have everything in one place. I usually throw all my stuff in a drawer and then can’t remember which drawer its in…I need this in my life!

  14. I love the look you gave this! And that your son made it….aahhh.

  15. Handy piece here! This might even get ME organized. All the clever side tools are fun!

  16. Oh my goodness I love it! My mom has in her basement, an old wooden toolbox my dad made, very similar to yours. Each time I see it I drool over it and ask who’s it is. She usually says one of the boys may want it. Hmph. What would my brothers do with it, I think?

    And I have to tell you, every time I throw a tin can in the recycle, I think about you and wonder if I should keep it just in case. 🙂 Your projects inspire me and make me smile!

    Hope you have a great week!


  17. I love your stuff, and this is just one more fantastic re-purposing of stuff most folks would just throw out. Not only did you save it, you made it better AND attractive! And by the way, those “metal thingies?” The top half of muffler clamps that hold an exhaust system to a vehicle’s undercarriage. They’re very strong and last almost forever. Nice.

    • I knew someone would know what those metal thingies were called – thank you Mary! I actually have the remaining part of the clamps, and someday hope I’ll figure out a repurpose for them too!

  18. Cute–great idea! I love totes of any sort.

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