A couple of months ago I was driving home from the store and stopped at a garage sale at the home of an elderly couple and a very obese dachshund. The items left late in the day when I stopped included mostly old tools and garage items. I spied a galvanized storage unit that had a lovely patina but had definitely seen better days. I told the man I would take it for the $5 price he had written on it with a permanent marker. He was beyond thrilled and told me he thought that it would be one of the first things they sold rather than one of the last. He went on to list all the ways I could use it (mostly in manly garage sort of ways). I think he would be shocked to see it now.
I sanded off most of the rust that was loose (and the $5.00 price written on top) and then used clear matte spray varnish to coat the whole thing. Once it dried for a few days and the smell from the varnish weakened I slapped felt pads on the bottom and set it on the buffet.
Now rather than housing cotter pins and nails it displays those little items that look like clutter when they are left by themselves. It has a tiny baby picture of my mom, bowls from Japan, a little painted shoe from Amsterdam, and many other things. As you can see I have room for future trinkets looking for a home.