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How to find self sufficient products locally in a store near you.

Updated on October 5, 2012
Some of the old glass butter churns are still very functional.  This one has been marked down due to the poor economy and needed sales.
Some of the old glass butter churns are still very functional. This one has been marked down due to the poor economy and needed sales.
Most all the old aluminum pots and pans are still ready to serve another generation.
Most all the old aluminum pots and pans are still ready to serve another generation.
Hard to find cutters and food processing equipment can still be used.  This is a rolling dough cutter that is still like new.
Hard to find cutters and food processing equipment can still be used. This is a rolling dough cutter that is still like new.
Solid oak furniture is ready to take home.  This one was priced at only $175.
Solid oak furniture is ready to take home. This one was priced at only $175.
Some of the older dishes can be priced high, but look for bargains spread out on tables and shelves.
Some of the older dishes can be priced high, but look for bargains spread out on tables and shelves.
These displays full of old kitchen gadgets will likely contain functional kitchen tools priced lower than a new one in a store.
These displays full of old kitchen gadgets will likely contain functional kitchen tools priced lower than a new one in a store.

Some of the best Self-Sufficient products may be those just waiting for a new owner in a local antique store.

Before rushing online or driving miles to a sustainable living store for back-to-basics self sufficient products, take a walk through some of your local antique stores. They make a fun Saturday outing close to home. They also have very functional items made in the 1800s and 1900s before electricity was widely available, when people lived totally self-sufficient.

These are the same products that many are seeking new, fearing some type of disruption in the power grid either caused by economical issues, devastating weather, terrorist or storms in our solar system.

Antique store owners and dealers have faced the same downturn in sales with the rest of the retail businesses, perhaps even worse since they are generally where people go to spend money on collectables and home decor. Many see this as a luxury they can’t afford right now and have not been stopping in to shop for antiques as often.

Consequently many stores and dealers have slashed prices and are trying anything they can to bring in business. This leaves opportunities for consumers looking for self-sufficient products to find some real bargains to recycle back into use, now that is also living very green as well.

Some dealers may be even willing to discount the price more just for the asking. Generally antique stores are filled with many different vendors who rent space. The person running the store will not own the items for sale, and will have to call the dealer to ask if they would consider a lower price. This means you might not be able to buy and take it home that day, if they can’t reach the dealer right away. But if you have your eyes on a kitchen table and chairs, the chances are the dealer maybe willing to take another 10%-20% off the price if it looks like it has been sitting around for awhile.

Obviously kitchen products that have chips, cracks, and have been allowed to rust past restoration will not ever be functional again. As well as the old electrical, pressure and steam producing items won’t be safe to fire back up.

Many antique stores have usable oil lamps, kitchen wares, tools, home goods, sewing, and gardening items. Cast iron kettles, porcelain roasters, water bath canners, meat grinders, colanders, and much more are just sitting ready for a new sustainable home.

Some of the furniture is also real bargains. Yes some of the European pieces can be pricy, but solid oak dressers, kitchen tables and chairs, desk and other oak furniture can be purchased in useable condition for $175 to $375. Compared to new pieces these prices are very much a savings, and have no comparison in the quality.

You see they just don’t sell this quality of oak furniture at your local furniture stores any longer. Most all of the furniture will be twice the price and will be made of veneer over particle board. One drop on a corner and the piece may not even be repairable. One drop on a corner of a solid oak antique piece will only add more character.

Most of the furniture up front will be finished or maintained to take home and put right into service. If you are a DIY person and enjoy refinishing ask if the store has a bargain room for furniture that needs repair and refinishing.

A word of caution some of the old white or other painted items used some very tough paint, likely containing lead, thus sanding is a problem. It is also very difficult to remove with paint removers and will end up taking much more labor than you really want to put into it. When you do get it stripped you may find it was made of popular hardwood selected to be painted and may not be very pretty stained and varnished.

Unless you plan to paint or finish with some coating it’s probably best to just stay clear of painted furniture. Also look closely for veneered furniture that has chips or missing veneer. Veneer is very hard for the regular DIY person to repair on their own. Caution also needs to be taken in stripping veneered furniture as too much stripper may loosen the veneer glues.

If you are not able to find what you are looking for in an antique store then consider an online store that specializes in self-sufficient & sustainable products. You can still find these old time products online at the sustainable living back-to-basics general store at Cottage Craft Works http://www.cottagecraftworks.com

Cottage Craft Works has a large selection of products from home goods, farm & garden, kitchen , hunting gear, and sustainable building products. These are products duplicated from those made in the 1800s-1900s or are still being made by third generation families.

Many of the Cottage Craft Works products are being made and actually are still being used in the day to day lives of the Amish sustainable living culture.

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    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 

      6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      I really like the ideas presented here not only for their practicality, but further they keep our dollars at home and support local economies. Further still, they are "green" in that less fuel is used since they were not shipped from across the globe and they don't wind up in a landfill. I'm giving this hub two thumbs up!

    • Rachel Richmond profile image

      Rachel Richmond 

      6 years ago from California

      Great hub...I love to shop at the antique stores and thrift stores. I just got a strainer the other day (less than $1) with the org. tag still on it. Lovely! Woo hoo! Again thanks :)

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