Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

Collecting vintage and antique baskets to use and enjoy is one of my favorite things to do! I am always on the lookout at flea markets and estate sales. I can’t wait to share with you all the fun things to know about loving and using old baskets.

Are vintage baskets worth anything?

In terms of monetary value, there are several antique baskets from the late 19th century or early 20th century that would be worth big dollars. However, these are not the type that you and I would be thinking to use in our home decor.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

An old basket is valuable to me if it has vintage appeal, a desirable patina, and is still in shape to use! Finding something old in good condition, that still has function, and brings you joy is a big win.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

It will also add personal style to your space, bringing in added texture to your decor. When looking for older baskets, whatever your criteria is (whether decorative or functional) if you love it, it is worth everything.

Why everyone loves old baskets

Vintage baskets add such great style to any room and match many different decorating styles. Many are works of art. But the biggest reason why we all love them is that they are useful!

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

When collecting vintage treasures, it is really great to have items that can be USED, not just looked at. Baskets are one of my favorite collections I have had for over 3 decades!

You can never have too many. And using them just adds to the patina. After years of use, they actually look better! I wish I could say the same for me.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

Different basket styles and materials

Baskets are made from a variety of materials. When you begin to identify what they are, you will find your favorites, and be off on your collecting journey. Here are a few that will be easy for you to identify once you know them:

  • reed or rattan – reed comes in a variety of sizes and types. It can be flat, oval-shaped or half-rounded.
  • vines and twigs – this is abundant in all parts of the world (even your backyard possibly) and has been a favorite basketweaving material for centuries.
  • natural grasses – grasses can be woven together to create intricate designs and are commonly seen in a decorative basket.
  • willow or bamboo – these materials are fast-growing and most popular to what you will find in newer baskets.
  • metal – whether the entire basket is metal or just has iron handles, metal adds a new dimension and texture to baskets.
Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

How do I know if my woven basket is valuable?

If you are wondering if your basket is old and carries any value for its age, here are a few things to look for:

  • If the basket has nails, do they appear old? Is there a darkened ring around where the nail heads are placed? This patina discoloration is from the metal in the nail and takes many decades to develop.
  • Is the basket signed by the artist and/or dated on the bottom of the basket? Is there a logo stamp or detailed images of any kind on the bottom?
  • Does the basket have any old chippy, original paint? Is it a dull finish or does it appear more shiny like it was painted with a latex paint?
  • Does the patina of the material appear to be authentic? Does the basket show any other signs of age or wear?
  • Is the basket in its original condition or has it been altered in some way (painted, handle repaired, a metal patch, etc.)?
Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

Remember, if the basket is good looking and useful to you, then it is valuable. If you are only looking for old baskets to resell in a vintage market or booth, look for shapes and styles that are trending to capture your maximum dollar amount when selling. 

Finding vintage and antique baskets

Wherever you go and look for antiques, you can find vintage baskets. My favorite places are flea markets, antique malls, and estate sales.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

Many times when shopping for antiques, dealers will use baskets to display another item. As long as they are for sale as well, don’t forget to look at those baskets that are holding other items.

You can also search thrift shops, garage sales, barn sales, and online. Just remember to look at the price of shipping, if the basket you are interested in is large.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

Different types of old baskets

There are so many great types of old baskets. In the interest of time, I will narrow the list to the ones that I love and find super helpful in still being able to use in a modern day home.

  • laundry baskets – I will admit, I have a big problem with this category. I love them all soooo much and have many. They are fun to stack and useful to store toys, shoes, blankets, pillows, and (of course) use for laundry.
  • garden basket – these tend to have a wider bottom and shorter sides to layout goodies from the garden. My favorite shape is the garden trug. I bought mine decades ago, and still love it so much. They are pricier to find reproductions now, but this style can be used in many ways, not just in the garden.
  • picnic baskets – who doesn’t love a good picnic on a gorgeous summer day? Picnic baskets are not just for picnicking either. Stack them up and use to store items. Look for a variety of shapes and sizes to stack. The pie basket usually is square, and a bit shallow or may have a shelf insert to stack two. These are great finds if found with the insert.
  • willow baskets – these come in a million sizes and shapes but I love the ones that are the size of a small trashcan. They can be used in a variety of ways for display.
  • basket trays – this type is so useful and can be used in food display. If large enough, it can become a beautiful antique tray on the coffee table to hold other found objects.
  • container baskets – vintage ones were often used to house sewing supplies. These usually have lids and some decorative feature.
  • wall baskets – these are the best! They are flat on one side to hang on the wall or a door. They look great holding plants and flowers.
  • basket trunks – you will find a million different sizes and storage uses for these. I have these all over my house, and they greatly increase storage in any room.

How to use them

There are so many uses within your home and garden that it will take you no time to discover the right place to use and love some. 

First, think of the times that you are carrying something and your hands are full. Obviously, if you have chickens, then having some wicker egg baskets to bring your stash back to the house would make sense.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

What about getting the mail? Trotting out to the mailbox with a handwoven wicker basket can make that small chore seem pleasurable. Laundry? You can use a pretty vintage basket just as easy as a boring plastic one. Storing extra toilet paper in the bathroom? Sounds like the perfect chore for a basket.

I love my large metal basket I use to store TP. The cage-like style is perfect for my coastal-inspired primary bath. Pretty much any room of the house can benefit from the use of baskets for storing, carrying, and housing different items.  

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

How do you clean vintage baskets?

The best way to clean antique and vintage baskets is carefully using a clean, dry paint brush. Simply brush the crevices clean. A vacuum with a nozzle works well for deep cleaning the dust of older baskets.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

If vintage baskets are heavily soiled, you can clean them in a tub. Place under running water or briefly soak and scrub with a soft brush. Never try to power wash an old basket. The pressure will weaken the material and could break the weave.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

How do you clean wicker baskets from a thrift store?

If there is an old smell to your basket that is unpleasant, or you simply want to provide a bit more disinfecting for your basket, use the tub method listed above. Use a soap like Dawn dish soap or a Simple Green product, and lightly brush all areas to remove and dirt, grime, or small bugs that could be hiding in your basket. Yes, I said bugs. Learned this the hard way, ew.

Unique ways to display baskets

I have this large French dough bowl that sits in the middle of my dining room table. During the year, I style it different ways, and sometimes leave it empty. But I was trying to think of what fantastic accessory I might fill it with. What do I possibly have enough of for its size? Then it hit me…baskets!

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

What a fun way to fill this wooden vessel with items that have just as much patina, but with texture. A wood bowl and an old basket are always a great pairing, as the warm patina of both just screams VINTAGE! But since I have so many styles, sizes, and shapes, this was a fun way to pull some of them out and display all at once.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

Old bike baskets are amazing to use as a wall basket because they have that flat back to them. Add those to your “things to search for” list. But check out this amazing reproduction that you can just press a few buttons and buy. It’s gorgeous!

Use baskets everywhere in your home. You can hang, stack, place on the floor, and use in just about any room. Look around your home and see where you can utilize your next vintage basket find.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

It’s time to start a collection!

If you can see how useful baskets are, and admire the beauty of an old basket, then it’s time to start a collection. Whether you choose to choose a specific type consistently, or just buy what you love, using them will bring much joy.

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy

A tisket, a tasket, bring me all the baskets!

And if you love the feel of wicker in a room, you just might like one of my other favorite collections, wicker demijohns! You can read more about them in this post.

Follow me on Pinterest. There are some great ideas for baskets and display on some of my boards.

Pinterest | Amazon | Facebook | Instagram | LTK

Tell me in the comments, do you have a favorite basket that you have found? I’d love to hear all about it!

Collecting Vintage and Antique Baskets to Use and Enjoy


  1. You answered my question! I have bought a few used baskets in the past, but I am always a little freaked out by the need to disinfect them!

    Your collection has given me some new ideas!😀

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