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Creative ways to use a wooden crate

Written by Karen

Urban gardenThe saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” rings true for some of the great items you’ll find on the streets of Barcelona. It’s a city where people are always on the move, whether it be the influx of international students each year around September, the arrival of long-term travellers lured by the city’s vibrancy for their next extended break, or it could simply be the city’s long-term residents making the shift from one apartment to the next.

All of these comings and goings mean most weekends in Barcelona you’ll find pre-loved furniture sitting patiently by the curbside waiting for its next owner. And one of these items you shouldn’t dismiss is the humble wooden crate. If you happen to see one or two the next time you’re out in your neighborhood, then you should consider it a score. This simple wooden box has a multitude of uses both in and outside of the home – much more than just a nightstand or a coffee table.

Create your own urban garden

In Barcelona, where apartment living is the norm, it’s nearly impossible to have your own pocket of green space. And while the city makes up for it with its abundance of parks and green spaces, there’s one way you can create your own little green oasis by using a crate. Simply line the crate with thick plastic (both at the bottom and at the sides), fill it with soil and then pop in a selection of your favorite plants. Multi-colored flowers always look festive as well as brighten up a room. You could even try vegetables that grow well in a small space, such as tomatoes or herbs. Once complete, simply place the crate in a sunny spot near a window or on your balcony and voila, you have your own urban garden in Barcelona.

Related article: Urban cultivations in Barcelona: What to grow?

Pack a picnic and head to the park

If your urban garden has you hanging for a more open green space, then fill a crate with food and drinks for a picnic in one of Barcelona’s parks. Some of the best outdoor areas for a leisurely Sunday afternoon eating olives and sipping vermouth while lazing on a checkered blanket include Parc de la Ciutadella, Mont Juic and Collserola. But before you leave your home, line the crate with your picnic blanket to prevent breakage of plates or glasses as well as to stop any of your lovely delicatessen purchases from sneaking out the sides.

Construct a library book wagon

Recreate scenes from your childhood by making your own version of a little red wagon – but using a crate. Visit your local hardware store, known in Spain as a ferreteria, to purchase some wheels, castors and rope. Simply attach the wheels and castors to the bottom of your crate and loop the rope through its side to be able to pull it along. Just these few simple steps and you’ve created a cute wagon that will be the envy of the kids in your neighborhood. The next step is to fill it with books. With the ease and convenience of e-books, e-zines and the like, we can sometimes feel nostalgic at the thought of reading a paper book. So why not enjoy a stroll down Carrer Urgell on a Sunday with your custom made wagon and pick up a selection of reading material at the Sunday Market of Sant Antoni for second-hand books.

About the author


Karen is a writer with a love for music, travel and vermouth on Sundays, who lives and works in Barcelona.

1 Comment

  • Wow, these are some pretty awesome ideas, in particular, the whole idea of using an old crate to make a wagon is very unique. I do have to agree with what you’ve said about books though because there is nothing quite as nostalgic as the smell of an old paper book while you’re reading it. I’ll definitely have to give the wagon project a try as well, my wife has a ton of books that she needs some extra space for and this could be a really cute way to give her what she needs.

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