11 Uses for Repurposed Library Card Catalogs

Apr 6, 2010 by

If you find a library card catalog for sale, there are a plethora of ways you can repurpose these literary treasures.  I’ve blogged about a DIY card catalog coffee table and my library card catalog turned bookcase previously, and here are 11 more ways to use card catalogs in your home.   Tomorrow I look forward to sharing a new and fresh way I’ve repurposed one of my card catalogs — and I don’t think card catalogs have been used this way just yet!

I first used my library card catalog as a buffet in my dining room, holding my linens and silverware.  Tanna Clark uses hers for a similar purpose, organizing silverware in her kitchen.

This is one of my favorite uses for a library card catalog!  As a kitchen island topped with a butcher block, the small drawers and labels are perfect for holding and organizing your spices, as seen via DIY Ideas .

For holidays, fill your card catalog with flowers and plants, as seen in a wedding via josevillablog.

If you are like me and have a huge collection of vintage scarves, organize them by color or style in your card catalog, as seen via MadeWell.

Small card catalogs are perfect for storing makeup and cosmetics, as seen via lifeandlim.

Cultivate the naturalist within yourself and use your library card catalog to protect your delicate findings, as seen via Each Little World.

I guess I wasn’t the only one who saw the usefulness of the card catalog as a buffet, as seen via design*sponge.

Indeed, the card catalog makes an ever-so-useful organizer, as seen via Small Notebook.

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles sisters support themselves by creating beautiful religious works of art, and they store their sewing and embroidery supplies by color in repurposed library card catalogs, via Hooked on Needles.

Could there be a more intelligent way to indulge in your favorite alcoholic beverages?  As seen via Apartment Therapy.

While this may not find a place in your home, reusing card catalogs as a station for the computer-assisted Dewey Decimal system is both ingenious and hilarious, as seen via Library By Design.

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53 Comments

  1. Such creativity here! I think the scarf drawers and wine storage are my favorites!

  2. I love these!

    Others have realized their stylishness as card catalogs have become quite pricy! But they are so worth it. I love the look of them.

    thanks for sharing this.

  3. jen

    seriously, you’re killing me! where do i find one of these!?

  4. wow! love the idea of using it as a kitchen island!

  5. i like each one better than the next. i had no idea!

  6. Hello Dear Grace ~

    As usual, such creative ideas you inspire us with!

    Ciao bella,
    Suzanne

  7. I don’t have one (would love one though), but it would be great for storing rubber stamps and other art supplies.

  8. What a great way to use these card catalogs. I work in a library and we have converted to computers, but I don’t know what happened to our cabinets…guess I will have to inquire!!
    Smiles and Blessings,
    Nancy C

  9. Judith Siess

    I use mine as a workbench. The drawers are perfect to hold nails, screws, duct tape, etc. For the first time I can find stuff!

  10. INTPLibrarian

    I have a HUGE card catalog in my bedroom at home. It’s taller than I am and longer than my wingspan. It’s not small enough to be used for most of the examples here, but it’s found its purpose — housing my collection of tights. Cataloged according to color, pattern, and texture.

    Plus the rod that can be pulled out of the drawers makes for a perfect place to hang my clothes for the next day. :-)

  11. Kelley

    Found your blog – love it! But was sad to see only partial feeds are available via subscription. Awww…

  12. Leslie

    I “inherited” one of our libraries smaller card catalogs (about 36 drawers) when we stopped using them and I’ve used it for over a decade to store my smaller fabric pieces for quilting. Great for sorting by color and approximate size.

  13. lilylibrarian

    I use my small one for supplies, etc. like the Small Notebook one in the article. I had to steal mine from work (shhhh….don’t tell anyone)

  14. this is beautiful. I had a library themed wedding and we used these for decor.

  15. helen

    wow.

    beautiful and brilliant

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  17. I think that is an interesting point, it made me think a bit. Thanks for sparking my thinking cap. Sometimes I get so much in a rut that I just feel like a record.

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