Create an efficient and low cost kitchen by taking advantage of price breaks found by secondhand shopping at thrift shops and yard sales.
Whether we’re starting out in our first apartment or expanding our cooking skills, we need to stock our kitchen with the essential equipment. In some cases that equipment can be expensive investments that lifetime. In many cases, however; secondhand shopping can provide many of the basics at a fraction of the cost of new. Build a low cost kitchen by taking advantage of deals found at thrift shops and yard sales.
Mixing spoons, wooden spoons, soup ladles, and more can be found for a deal at the thrift store. Look for items that are heavy and stainless steel whenever possible. Avoid plastics that tend to be in terrible shape by the time they get to the thrift store. Rather look for quality secondhand items that will last for a long time. Choose wooden spoons and utensils that are free of cracks and nicks. Give those wooden items a little sanding and treatment with homemade wooden spoon oil to make them last longer.
Choose dinner flatware that is heavy and free from bends, knicks, or dents. Don’t worry about matching sets instead focus on heavy pieces that look like they’ll last the test of time.
Good quality knives are likely to be a rare find but do bring them home if found. Sharpen them well at home. Knives are something to save money towards. Good quality knives tend to be expensive but are worthwhile investments over the long haul.
Mixing & Serving Bowls
Bowls of every shape and size are likely just waiting to be found. Look for ceramic or glass bowls free from nicks, scratches, or chips. If you can find stainless steel bowls make sure they’re free of dents and grab them up. A variety of small bowls is handy for having ingredients measured out for involved recipes and cooking processes. Find large bowls for raising bread, serving popcorn, and making up large batches of cookie dough.
Many canning supplies can be found for a deal at thrift shops and yard sales. Look for canning jars, always inspect for chips or cracks. Jar lifters and funnels too can often be found cheaply.
Water bath canners abound, check for rust and holes before purchasing. If you luck out and find a pressure canner, be sure to read a few Appliance Reviewer articles about that brand and to have the gauge tested at a local extension service and check the gasket and replace when necessary.
Pots & Pans
Good cookware should be an investment that will last a long time but until the funds are available, look for medium quality items used. Find soup pots and skillets that are heavy. Avoid items heavily scratched or dented. Cast iron cookware can sometimes be found – look for items that are not pitted or too rusty. While cast iron can be seasoned, if it’s too rusty it must be sandblasted and that ruins any frugal gains.
Glass cake pans, pie plates, ramekins, and bread pans can often be scored. Avoid items with chips, scratches, or cracks. Vintage pieces are often beautiful and functional at a fraction of the price of new. Gather these in the variety of sizes for everything from cake to casserole.
Look for jars and bottles in a variety of shapes and sizes. Jars to store dried herbs and spices. Larger containers for storing dried beans and grains. Bottles for storing homemade drinks, cordials, and medicines.
Make sure glass containers are free from cracks and chips. If the jars have lids, make sure they fit tight and well. Rubber gaskets can be replaced so don’t skip a nice jar if the gasket is bad. Corks for glass bottles can be purchased in a variety of sizes at hardware stores.
Look for colanders, mesh strainers, measuring cups, measuring spoons, graters from this buying guide etc. Having a variety of these around are always handy but what is the point if you don’t have any counter space to use them on?
Again, don’t worry so much about matching sets as about having what is needed to make life in the kitchen easier and more efficient.
Bringing Used Items Home
When the items get home, give everything a good washing with soap and water. Be sure to clean everything well and store them for long-term usage just like any new item.
The great thing about using thrifty items is that an eclectic kitchen can often be made. A kitchen full of artistic and beautiful pieces that reflect your general style and approach to DIY living. Hit that thrift store and take your time walking through the kitchen section for a frugal and functional kitchen.
What’s your best-thrifted kitchen find?