After quitting my job, I wanted to do something different. One of my ideas was to create new food ideas and cater them, or sell them to local stores. The state of Florida's food industry laws quickly shut most of those ideas down due to cost, so instead I decided to blog about my creations and will be creating video content for them with how-to's and lots of tasty food glamour shots.
In preparation for this, I needed to outfit my kitchen with some new tools. Of course without a job, it's hard to buy new stuff. So, how does one go about doing so? Second hand, of course!
This will be a running series. I will write new articles on as I find new and interesting items to upgrade my life via thrifting.
This first haul was pretty decent. I was just looking for new kitchen gadgets to try new things out and ended up finding a few other cool items as well.
We are lucky and live in an area with over a dozen Goodwill stores. We even live between two of them, each 2-3 minutes away! I love thrift shopping. It's almost as if you're walking into an entire unboxing video, except you're the star, and you're also trapped inside the unopened box.
I like to go early before all of the pickers get there. YouTube and other sources are making thrifting really popular right now, especially for the retail arbitrage market. This causes competition among pickers. Being that I want this stuff for myself, and not for resale, it's even more important that I get an early start.
I first head straight to the electronics and appliances aisle, then loop around to kitchen wares, then to the games, then the other general stuff.
Here's what I found on this haul:
Magic Chef 310
I had always wanted to try out a bread maker. I was just beginning to learn about dough and bread and the crazy science involved with that. I thought, why not give this gadget a try? Thrift stores are always flooded with bread makers. Good intentions that nobody ever ended up using.
It's first loaf was excellent, I just made a basic white bread out of it. I was completely amazed at the automation vs. making bread by hand. It does take up a lot of space, so it sits out in the garage now on a shelf dedicated to other small kitchen appliances. Since buying this bread maker, I've made 3-4 loaves in it, even showing my wife how to use it. She was proud of the custom, seasoned loaf she made, and was blown away at how easy and inexpensive it was to make bread. It's only a few simply ingredients that cost less than a quarter of what a typical cheap loaf of bread cost.
Will I keep using this? I will most likely use it occasionally. Worst case, I take it back to the thrift store. The few loaves of bread I've made with it have paid recouped the cost, twice over.
It appears MagicChef is a WalMart licensed product. This model is a much older unit that has long been discontinued. While I could not find this model's price anywhere, similar models were going for about $60 new.
Power Chopper XL
Ok, I know what you are all thinking, "Why did you buy this? You aren't a real chef!" I totally agree. But it was cheap, and I always wanted to try one so I can form my own opinions on "useless" kitchen gadgets. The thrift stores are usually loaded with these gadgets. And for good reason.They are pretty useless.
Unless you have issues with your hands (pain, motor control, etc.), or you just have terrible knife skills, then do not buy one of these things. I tried chopping half an onion with this. It did a terrible job! I had to slap the plunger with more effort and for a longer period of time to get a good rough chop. It left a lot of long pieces. It also crushed and mangled some of it as well. It wasn't pretty. In comparison, I can rough chop an entire onion in a few seconds with a good chef's knife, and further mince it with only an added few seconds.
On top of that, you then have to clean this thing. It has a lot of nooks and crannies in it, making washing it a pain. And then you have to store it. This is most likely going back to the thrift store. The only reason it is still around is that I am trying to find some creative use for it that is just way outside of the box. Unfortunately, any idea I have is quickly crushed by the fact that a chef's knife can do it better and faster.
Rival Personal Blender
I have been wanting a small bullet blender for a while now. I often want to blend something small, but don't want to get the full size blender out, clean it, etc.
Thankfully this came with all its pieces, it worked when tested in the store, and the gasket seal was still good.
This has turned out to be a very heavily-used kitchen gadget in our house. We've made shakes and salsa, crushed nuts, blended spices and pureed meat with it. This has quickly become one of my favorite cooking gadgets.
Now, there's some things it won't do well, but that's based on the blade and power of such a small motor. I've been shopping around for a new blender system (I'm looking at you, Ninja) that includes not only a full-sized blender, but also one of these bullet blenders, and a food processor (I hate my old food processor).
Getting this personal blender really opened my eyes up to what a small, easy-to-use gadget can do for you. It made me realize that I want to invest in a nicer blender system when money allows. We really use this little appliance quite a bit, usually several times a week.
This was an excellent buy. I see these now and then in the various thrift stores I've visited, so I would definitely pick one up if you have any interest in these. Well worth the thrift price.
Followup Late 2019: I liked this so much that I made sure my new Ninja kitchen system had a more heavy duty version of this, which I am now constantly using. I ended up giving this little Rival blender away with good memories.
Clear Food Storage Bins
Have you ever wanted that Pintrest look in your fridge and pantry? Well, you have to pay to play. These bins are very expensive for some reason. It's just plastic. They are trendy, they are handy, they look good. You can't afford them.
The good news is that these often turn up in the thrift stores, priced alongside the cheap Sterilite bins and other storage items.
These will appear in various orders throughout this series. I forget where and when I bought the bins, so I will just generalize in this article based on the prices I logged in my thrift haul spreadsheet. (Yes, I keep a spreadsheet of all of these bargains! I'm a stats nerd. I want to save the most! I will out save you all MUHAHA!)
As stated before, these bins are not cheap. Celebrities hire professional organizers to put these in their fridge and pantries so that they can blog about it and show them drinking an expensive milkshake their personal chef made for their breakfast while they stand in front of their fridge and pantry full of these beautiful clear plastic storage bins. Who doesn't want to have that look?
mDesign is one of the brands I like to look for, or those similar. Checking Amazon, the larger bin in the fridge photo goes for roughly $7-$10 per bin. The narrower bins are in the $8 range. While that doesn't sound terribly expensive, keep in mind you need a lot of these bins. In the photo of my fridge above, I've only been able add a few bins of bling so far, and those would have totaled $38. In the pantry photo, you can see I have only been able to find 3 bins so far, and those are worth another $26.
That's $64 in storage bins. They just hold things. That's a lot of money to just hold things. But they look so good holding my things! I must have more! I must have all the bins!
Technics Record Player SL-D20
I found this laying sideways in the big "to be shelved" bins in the Goodwill store. I quickly rescued it, plugged it in and checked for as much function as I could. The needle was still good and everything moved freely and the automatic functions seemed to work properly. The only thing missing was the dust hood.
I took this gem home and realized it must be either plugged into the phono input on my receiver or I would need some kind of signal converter to put it in my office where I wanted to keep it. I have a rather nice sound system on my computer desk, and this is where I spend most of my time, so I wanted to keep it here. I ended up grabbing a cheap Pyle PP444 Phono PreAmp for under $20. I can now use my turntable anywhere.
I needed to test this first for tracking and make sure it wasn't going to destroy my good records, so I took my beat up copy of Van Halen's "1984" album and spun it up. Everything worked. Tracking and all was spot on. I read up on the interwebs how to adjust the balance weight and check for all the various things turntable snobs say to check for. Everything checked out!
I then moved on to play the rest of my nice records the rest of the day.
This is one of my most favorite finds, as I have been wanting a nice turn table for many years, but couldn't afford to shell out the money for a decent cheap one (taking advice from the turntable snobs on the interwebs to not buy cheap or it will ruin your records). I was so proud of my find that I am keeping the ugly price sticker right on the top just to flaunt my thriftiness as I play my hipster music device.
While I did need to spend an additional $15ish for the pre-amp, and it's missing the hood, which is a $30+ replacement cost, I am only counting the turntable itself in this price since it doesn't technically need the other items to function perfectly. I keep a microfiber cloth covering it when not in use.
I hope you enjoyed my first thrift haul post. If you want to see more, please comment or send me an email for thing you might like to see me find. I love a good challenge. I will keep this series going as this is a huge part of what my wife and I enjoy doing.
I want to share the joys of thrifting with those that may not typically look at a thrift store, such as Goodwill, as a place they want to shop at. It's a great place to try new gadgets out without spending a lot of money, or finding something you've always wanted to try but just aren't sure how well you'll like it.
I will be showing my totals for each trip, how much was saved, and what the total "real" retail street pricing was at the time. By "real" street pricing, I am referring to what I would pay at Walmart or Amazon, or eBay if it's something not currently sold anymore. These will not be MSRP prices. These will be prices that people actually pay in real life. This first haul, since I included talking about some of the storage bins I got on various trips, will have a different price reflection than everything talked about above. The missing costs will show up in future haul articles.
Totals for this trip