Vintage Goodness : 10 Tips for buying vintage suitcases

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Do you ever look at catalogs or websites and think, "I could do that!" I don't know about you but I sure do! In fact I've got a bookmark list a mile long with "I'm gonna do that someday" inspirations.  Every once in a while I actually follow through on those "gonna do" threats.

Two weeks ago I was at the thrift store when I spotted the loveliest, in excellent condition RED vintage suitcase. I almost walked away. Actually I was at the end of the isle and I just had to turn around and go back for it. You see I've seen some super awesome upcycled suitcase projects floating around the internet.

This week I tackled the suitcase before it was eaten by the procrastination monster. This is how the lovely vintage American Tourister cleaned up:

This one will be available in the shop (here) sold but trust me, I will not have any issues in keeping this beauty!

Vintage suitcases, especially the smaller hard back ones, are useful for carrying around  sewing projects, camera or music equipment, laptops, and of course make super cute carry on luggage. Here are 10 tips to help you in choosing vintage suitcases.

1) Check the outside for cracks and gouges (hard side) or tears (soft side.)

2)Avoid pieces with lots of scuffs. Big black scuffs are hard to get out. White pieces are especially hard to clean!

3) Inspect the latches to make sure they are in proper working order. Open and close them a few times.
4) Check to see that the suitcase closes properly all the way around.
5) Search for keys or combination codes. If you can't open the suitcase at the store, chances are you won't be able to open it once you get home.

6)Examine the "feet," often times these are broken, cracked, or have one or two missing.
 7) Look over the outside to see if there are spots where the color has faded. Light fading is common but don't buy one that has prominent fade spots.

8) Open it up and inspect out the interior condition. Make sure zippers work, check for rips, and make sure the lining is still securely attached to the case.
  9)If you can smell it before you even open it don't buy it! Be prepared to get a good whiff once you open the suitcase. Some pieces smell really gross, like cigarettes or who knows what! Most pieces have a slight smell of being cooped up. These can be aired out with an afternoon in the sun and some Febreeze.

10) Check the lining for stains. Light stains can be removed with a soapy rag, a spot carpet cleaner, or try a Tide To Go pen. Large dark stains are going to be nearly impossible to remove unless you're planning on gutting the whole lining, and that is a whole 'nother subject!

So what's on your "I'm gonna do that someday" list?



corrie said...

I LOVE that case. to check out your shop.
Maybe this lovely will have a new home soon.
You may visit as often as you like.

Carole Ann said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm crazy about vintage suitcases right now - I've been keeping my eye out for a great set for my craft display, and also for a train case as my "crafty toolkit" of sorts. Great to have some tips for the search!

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