A vintage canister set provides stylish and creative storage, no matter what the old labeling reads. 

My job appraising art, antiques and collectibles at big public events, online and in private homes in large numbers offers me many opportunities to learn about and share new and fascinating ideas about storage, display and repurposing of antique and vintage objects.

I learn a lot from my audiences and my clients, and I like to spread around what is a wealth of information about how others are enjoying their collectibles.

Here are some of my favorites:

— A client for whom I conducted an in-home appraisal had been a long-time pet parent. Devastated when a pet member of her family passed, she started to host their cremated remains in her collection of antique lidded tobacco jars.

The jars were made of pewter or silver plate, paired with a photo of each pet and displayed on her fireplace mantel. The pets’ owner lined up the jars in the order that she purchased or received each jar, placing her oldest pet’s remains in the first jar she ever collected and continuing the tradition down the line for other pets. Her idea made for an attractive and heartfelt display.

— Twin sisters shared their late mother’s china service for 12. Each sister got half of the service, an eight-piece place setting for six people.

One holiday, when one of the sisters was hosting the entire family for dinner, she wanted to use their mother’s full set of china. Her twin packed up her own share of the set for transport to her sister’s home using a handy trick: She wrapped it securely in disposable diapers. The diapers’ sticky tabs made wrapping easy. Once wrapped, the sister packed the china tightly in a carry-on roller suitcase for the drive to her sister’s home.

The diapers’ padding and the easily portable suitcase kept the china protected in transport.

— Antique and vintage canister sets with lids are perfect for storing and holding toiletries on the bathroom counter or in the linen closet. For instance, use the large flour or sugar containers for small washcloths, toothpaste tubes, soap bars or extra toothbrushes. The smaller coffee and tea canisters are good for pocket-size tissues, travel-size shampoo bottles, makeup remover pads and cotton balls.

The canisters offer a nostalgic look displayed on the countertop and, in the linen closet, these vintage canisters can keep the chaos of toiletries tidy.

There are many more bright ideas concerning putting your antiques and collectibles into everyday use. Share yours on my social media page at Twitter — @drloriv — or

  • Dr. Lori Verderame is an author and antiques appraiser on History channel. With a Ph.D. from Penn State University and vast experience appraising art, antiques and artifacts worldwide for museums and collectors, Verderame is the director of, a resource for identifying art and artifacts. Visit, or call 888-431-1010.