Courtney wrote in wondering about fun ways to store her daughter's beach treasures: We're heading to the beach with our almost three year-old, Eliza. We'd love to get some suggestions for containers to start a shell or beach glass or rock collection in. When I was a kid we used the containers for 35mm film, but I think it'd be great to have something a little more fun to use. Any ideas?
To our thinking, there are actually two questions here: how to carry your collection while you're collecting, and then how to store and display your collection at home. We have a few ideas. Read on, and feel free to add your own suggestions below the jump.
We love vintage items, so our suggestions lean heavily in that direction:
A small vintage tackle box, toolbox, or lunch box is a fun way to cart rocks, beach glass, shells, and other collectibles around. Because it's self-contained, this is handy if you're on a trip and want to keep sand, barnacles, and other crunchy bits out of the rest of your luggage. The compartments in the tackle box or toolbox will let your young collector practice her sorting and taxonomy skills, too. (The one pictured at the top of this post is, at the time of writing, going for $0.99 on eBay.)
When you're back home, there are so many nifty, non-permanent options for displaying treasures. We've used really old muffin baking tins to great effect. Similarly, you can also find old-fashioned metal ice cube trays, such as these ones at Ruby Lane ($12 each).
If you want to splash out a bit (and give your daughter's collections the feel of an old Victorian gentleman's study), an old typesetters' tray like this one offers dozens of cubbies for different-sized items. We got one from eBay for around $20 a few months ago, and since then we've noticed them in vintage shops for about the same price.
If you're feeling handy, we also like the DIY small storage solution in the photo above. The instructions are available here.
Or if you just want everything neatly tucked away where you can still see and enjoy it, these acrylic candy jars ($12 each) from Pottery Barn Kids might do the trick.
And now we'll hand the question over to our ever-resourceful readers: What fun/easy/creative approaches have you taken to storing your kids' collections?