Five Reasons to Buy SecondHand Dishes

It’s not that I don’t have store-bought dishes. In fact, I have a brand new set of white dinnerware, complete with mugs, bowls, and salad plates. But increasingly I seem to be buying dishes secondhand from thrift stores. Almost all my glasses come from there, as well as my teacups, mugs, liqueur glasses, dutch oven, mixing bowls, and even some utensils like salad tongs and a potato masher.
When buying from a thrift store, look for things that are clean, barely used, and that will fit in with your existing dishes. Even though it’s kind of gross to look through all those used kitchen supplies, you will be amazed what you can find. Here’s five reasons to start buying dishes secondhand:
1. It’s Cheaper–Buying dishes secondhand costs anywhere between a nickel and $5. Compare to store prices, the savings are astronomical. For example, I recently needed teacups to match my two Bee House Teapots, which are red and blue, respectively. I kept shopping around until I found four red-and-blue cups that match both teapots. I like them a lot better than the matching cups Bee House offers, and they cost $.10 each, or $.40 total. A Bee House teacup costs $8, or $32 for four. I saved $31.60 by shopping at the thrift store.
2. If You Break It, It Doesn’t Matter—The other day, I broke a “brand new” glass that I just got home from the store. But because it cost $.10, I didn’t care at all. The same goes for if you get tired of something. There’s very little guilt in giving away a dish you paid a nickel for.
3. Your Dishes Will Be Unique—After a couple of years of buying secondhand, my dishes are brightly colored and full of character. No one is going to have the same set, that’s for sure. I get lots of compliments on various dishes and people are always impressed when you say you got them at a thrift store. What can I say; it’s good for the ego.
4. It’s Better For The Environment—Buying something used is extending its life, which in turn means that fewer things are produced and fewer things end up in landfills. This is a nice thing to think about when you’re drinking out of a coffee mug that’s older than you are.
5. Once In Awhile, Something Is Valuable—My vintage dishes collection is becoming quite a portfolio. I’ve seen bowls that I purchased for $2 selling in antique stores for $35. I’ve seen frying pans that I picked up on a whim going on eBay for $35. One mixing bowl I bought for $3 is selling for $60 on a vintage dishes site. If you’ve got a good eye, you might be surprised by how much some things are worth. Of course, that’s not the reason you’re buying them—at least, that’s not my reason—but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

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7 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Buy SecondHand Dishes”

  1. I am going to see what I can find! I would like a double boiler and a mandolin. Yay! Also, my mom got me a dessert fondue pot from a thrift store for $6.99. It’s like brand new in the box! Now I have a fondue pot for cheese and one for chocolate or caramel or vanilla sauce… mmmmm

  2. I’ve never understood why someone wouldn’t want to buy dishes or cookware second hand. Just wash it and viola. It’s great fun hunting for vintage finds. I’ll buy anything pretty much! lol

  3. Brigitte, I agree. It is amazing what you can find in terms of used dishes. I am getting to the point where the thrift store is the first place I will look if I need something.

  4. This where my fiance and I got all of our dishes, LOL. I’m really rough on my stuff – clumsy, basically – so it was the perfect solution. Whenever we run low on something, we troll the church thrift store we frequent (garage sale prices rather than Goodwill or Salvation Army prices) for replacements. I actually just got a new teapot that way.
    I don’t have the patience or sense of style to try to put together patterns, so I just buy all plain white. It can be geometric, floral, whatever, as long as it’s solid white. It makes for an interesting shabby-chic feel to my table settings, and white goes with any occasion’s color scheme.


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