Dining Room Organizing

Organizing the Card Catalog

Organizing House Projects

For months and months, I’ve tried to decide what to store in our vintage card catalog (more on that beauty here). With 60 perfect little drawers, it’s the organizer’s dream, but I really had no idea what we could store in it that would suit our needs. It wasn’t until we recently sold our dining room buffet that it dawned on me: this would be the perfect solution for storing and organizing our serving utensils, napkins and other small dining room paraphernalia.

Organizing the Card Catalog / 7thhouseontheleft.com

After taking a quick inventory of our belongings, I decided to designate the top six drawers to silverware, the next two rows to napkins and the next two rows for things like napkin rings and place card holders. The bottom section is designated for backup office supplies – but I’ll get back to that in a minute.

What to Store in a Vintage Card Catalog / 7thhouseontheleft.com

For the top six drawers that would be holding the serving utensils, I wanted the inside of the drawers to have some sort of lining to protect the utensils and prevent scratches. I bought six thick sheets of black felt from AC Moore for 99Β’ a piece. I measured the interior of the drawer, marked my cut line using a piece of chalk, cut the felt to size and simply placed it in the drawer. Since the felt fit in the drawers perfectly, I didn’t have to attach the felt to the drawer at all because it stayed in place really well.

What to Store in a Vintage Card Catalog / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Because of the weight of the utensils (these babies are really heavy – in a good way) along with how smoothly the drawers move in and out, the utensils don’t really slide around much when you open and close the drawers – which is a really nice and unexpected feature. As a side note, I’ve learned that the best way to clean felt is with a lint roller. It works really well and makes removing any annoying tiny pieces of lint so easy.

What to Store in a Vintage Card Catalog / 7thhouseontheleft.com

I was head over heels in love with how well the napkins fit in each drawer, as well. Six napkins fit in each drawer, folded exactly how I would normally fold them anyway. I was able to fit my entire napkin collection in two rows of drawers, with a few drawers left empty for future purchases.

What to Store in a Vintage Card Catalog / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Since we don’t have a bajillion pieces of silverware or fifty napkin designs, we’re using the bottom section of drawers for office supply backups like Sharpies, craft brushes, tape, scissors, etc. The cabinet is literally six inches from my office, so it makes perfect sense for us.

Organizing the Card Catalog / 7thhouseontheleft.com

I wrapped up this organizing project by adding labels to each drawer. I decided to keep it casual and go with a regular handwritten label rather than breaking out the label maker or computer.

The inner organization freak inside of me feels so much more at ease now that the card catalog is filled, organized and orderly. Even while it was empty, it was our favorite piece of furniture in the house and now that it’s organized and useful, I don’t know what to do with myself!

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Allison
    February 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I always wondered what you would put in that hutch with all the little drawers! Great idea!!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    February 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I love this! I could make some serious use out of 60 small compartments. But using it for silverware, brilliant idea!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    February 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Ashley – I’m ridiculously envious of this card catalog! Brilliant idea to use it as a “buffet” – and those napkins! Oh my goodness!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 19, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I love it! Now I want a card catalog too–all those little drawers!

  • Reply
    sarah m. dorsey
    February 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Love this!! Fingers crossed I come across a card catalog too!!

  • Reply
    Lori H
    February 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Green with envy!! The napkins in the drawers almost made me come undone πŸ™‚
    I have had my eye out for one of the card catalogs for a while. I can’t remember – did you find it here around Richmond?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      No, it’s actually from the library of my and Greg’s alma mater in Tennessee. A friend of my great aunt gave it to her and she gave it to us. We were (and still are!) thrilled to have it!

  • Reply
    caroline [the diy nurse]
    February 19, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I love that you used the felt with the silverware. And what a gorgeous piece!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 19, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Oh, no, never ever! : )

  • Reply
    Tishey
    February 19, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    This is awesome. I’ve been looking for a card catalog forever. I love your idea to use it for office and dining room things. I always thought it would be great for recipes.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    February 20, 2014 at 8:21 am

    It’s beautiful! I liked the way you organized it — the only thing I don’t understand, is why you need to put “extra office supplies” in it? Why wouldn’t you have those in your office?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 20, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Thanks! Well, I have a lot of storage space in my office, but I’m in the process of moving things around to make room for more packaging material for Brown & Barkley. It just makes sense for me to keep the extras/back ups in here, out of the way, since I only need to access them every once in a while. These little drawers are the perfect size for this sort of thing!

  • Reply
    Jacquelynn
    February 20, 2014 at 9:08 am

    It’s a great piece of furniture that is absolutely beautiful! I love the way you organized it! I also, like the idea of using it for recipe cards:-) Thanks for taking the time & effort you put into your blogs to inspire me!

  • Reply
    Kati @ This Wandering Life
    February 20, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Oh my word, that is a gorgeous piece. A friend of mine has one that is probably a third the size and uses hers for jewelry in her bedroom. I would love to figure out some beautiful storage solutions for our new apartment and our $250 makeover project… all we need is someone to gift us one of these puppies! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    February 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I would love to find an old card catalog. I’d use a couple of those drawers for recipes. I’ve been considering using one of my kitchen drawers for that purpose, as it looks like I could easily fit 2 rows of regular size index cards across the width of the drawer….if I ever get a drawer cleaned out.

  • Reply
    Jessica @ Decor Adventures
    February 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Love this! What an amazing piece you found. We got this large chest at an estate sale last fall. It’s not exactly a card catalog, but I might try to make it into one and I was just thinking of how I’d love to put it in the dining room.

    Yours looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Sarah Kyle
    February 20, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Love this! What a perfect solution! And it’s such a beautiful way to store your pretty entertaining pieces! I am so envious;) Good thinking!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    February 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I envy your great card catalog. I have been searching for one for years. I work in a library and you just don’t run across them much any more. Anyway my idea would be to have a cabinet maker take the drawer faces off and put them on a door. then have shelves put in the cabinet to make it useful. A good cabinet maker could do it so it doesn’t look any different.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      I’ve seen some like that on Pinterest – such a neat idea!

  • Reply
    jeannine: waddleeahchaa
    February 20, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    What a gorgeous piece of furniture. And the organization is the cherry on top.

  • Reply
    Amarins
    February 21, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Wauw that is such a great idea!

  • Reply
    Mara K
    February 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I am green with envy over this card catalog! Kelly green, olive green, asparagus green, lime green, teal green. What an incredible piece and what an awesome use of the piece!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 21, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Hahahahaha, thanks! : )

  • Reply
    Trish
    February 21, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    A trick I learned from my mom, store some chalk with your silver and it keeps it from tarnishing. Now, back to drooling over that lovely card catalog!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      I’ve never heard that tip! So interesting! Thanks for passing it along : )

  • Reply
    Jill
    February 25, 2014 at 7:26 am

    I’m completely inspired by your piece. I too have a card catalog, but mine is sitting in storage. How did you deal with the rod that runs the length of each drawer? Did you just add the felt over it?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      February 25, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Yep, just added it right over the rod (I need to update the post to include that). I think the really thick felt is the key in making that work. Go get that thing out of storage!!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Sarah's Daybook
    March 14, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Ashley! Oh my goodness, it’s sooo gorge. In the beginning you said “more on that beauty here” but there’s no link. πŸ™‚ Obsessed with that look!!

    Sarah

    http://www.sarahsdaybook.wordpress.com

    • Reply
      Ashley
      March 14, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Oops! All fixed : )

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