How a Used Tea Kettle Rekindled my Marriage

by Katy on August 2, 2016 · 56 comments

If there are two things you need to know about me, it’s this:

  1. I drink a lot of tea.
  2. I try to only buy used.

So when I received this text from my husband, I was far from pleased. Some might say that I overreacted, but those people are wrong, wrong, wrong-ity, wrong!

Tea kettle confession

Yes, the tea kettle could still boil water, but without a handle it became a dangerous and ill advised mission when it came to the act of pouring water.

Look at that unhappy woman. She appears to have lost all joy in her life.

handle-less tea kettle

And so began an epic thrift store hunt. Ideally I wanted a similar tea kettle, but nothing was grabbing me. Instead, a found lot of narrowly specific savings banks.

retirement fund

Seriously, they’re in every thrift shop!

iPod money

But yesterday I finally found the holy grail at Goodwill. A $5 Kitchenaid two-quart tea kettle in red. Which was exactly what I was looking for!

thrift store kettle

It prompted this exchange between myself and my poor maligned husband:

New tea kettle

So I guess our romance is back on track.

What’s my point here? Although buying used instead of new can be a pain in the tuchus, it’s an entirely do-able goal. Yes, it took probably eight thrift store excursions before I found The One, but those were trips I was taking anyway.

And paying $5 instead of $50? Yes, please! I ran across at least 30 different tea kettles before pulling the trigger. I was picky, which lengthened the process, but buying used instead of new is an entirely reachable goal. There is a glut of over-manufactured consumer goods in this day and age, which results in our thrift stores being crammed with perfectly good stuff.

I challenge you to buy used before new.

You never know, it might rekindle the romance in your relationship.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol in CT August 2, 2016 at 7:44 am

Yes, I learned years ago to maje a list of needs and to just be patient. What I need tends to come my way, at a price point I am willing to pay.


Jennifer N. August 2, 2016 at 7:46 am

My husband will probably never admit it, but I think he loves it that I’m willing to “curate” his wardrobe with thrift store finds (on my own time) rather than drag him to the mall and spend a small fortune. I’ve actually had decent luck with him, given his 6’2″ broad-shouldered frame.

Also, your poor husband :-). I bet he felt pretty bad about that tea kettle.


MW August 2, 2016 at 11:52 am

Can I “upvote” the husband bit? Now that mine has started a casual office job, he has ASKED me to pick up shirts for him when I’m out thrifting.


Sharon August 2, 2016 at 7:59 am

Karl Marx said that the great virtue of the capitalist system was that it had overcome the problem of scarcity of consumer goods.

And how.


Trish August 2, 2016 at 10:05 am

I quote Karl Marx a lot. Pls don’t misunderstand – I condone none of the regimes he inspired, which were in fact dictatorships, NOT communism. But I feel that he was an incredible thinker for his time.


Tammy August 2, 2016 at 8:05 am

We just bought a house (it’s used! LOL) and the owners took the washer and dryer (all the other appliances stayed though, which is nice). We left our washer and dryer (almost 10 years old) in our house we sold so we need a washer and dryer. I’m not above buying used at all BUT I’m so nervous to spend cash on such a large purchase and have it be a waste of money. How do you really know the washer and dryer are working??? or you’re just getting robbed blind?


Katy August 2, 2016 at 8:08 am

Try putting the word out that you’re looking to buy a washer and dryer through your group of friends. People are always upgrading, and likely someone in your circle can steer you in the right direction. Post this on your social media. You never know if someone’s parent is going into a nursing home or your neighbor wants red appliances instead of white.


Tammy August 2, 2016 at 8:12 am

We moved to another state, so don’t have too many friends yet in this area. But that is a good idea.


Is it a need or a want August 2, 2016 at 11:42 am

There are a couple of charities in my city who have appliance and furniture thrift stores. They even have volunteers to look over the and make sure they are not a lemon.
A friend of mine owns an appliance store, years ago he told me a dryer is just a big metal box with a fan and an element. Yes some have thermostats, but a kitchen timer also works great for shortening loads/not overheating your clothes.


Jennifer August 2, 2016 at 12:19 pm

I suggest try checking your plain old local newspaper. I found mine through an elderly couple and realized that a lot of elderly don’t use the Internet but don’t mind running paper ads. Lots of good quality stuff there because it seems that a lot of not most people look on Facebook instead. I have purchased used washer/dryer the past 2 times I have needed them and they have more than paid for themselves. Even with a small repair on the washer it was so much better than buying new. I’m just not a fan of most newer washers. My friends that have them say they stink and you have to buy special detergent for some. I would try to talk to a washer repairman. Find out which washers he recommends and which washers have the least expensive, readily available parts and buy that kind if possible.


Jennifer August 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm

A lot of, if not most- grrrr autocorrect!


Chrissy August 2, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Look around your new area for refurbished appliance stores. There are two in our city. We replaced our set (we had repaired it numerous times, not to mention learned a bunch of tricks to sort of get them to work) when the cost of the repairs was more than twice as much as the cost of a refurbished set. I hate pitching stuff but at some point you just give up fixing junky stuff. That broken set was only 10 years old. Our previous set was 30 years old WHEN WE GOT IT for free. It lasted another 5 and may still be going strong, we left it at the previous house. Our mismatched refurbished set was $358, including delivery and hauling the old set away.


Tammy August 4, 2016 at 3:43 am

So I found a set on a local FB group! Went to look at them last night and the couple has them in their house and they’re using them till they sell. So that’s a good sign. 🙂 Also good for us is that when I went to message her about them, Facebook kindly told me that we have a mutual friend, who happens to be my cousin! This set is one with a lot more features than we would have bought new, so we’re getting a much nicer set than we would have. 🙂


Katy August 4, 2016 at 9:08 am

Great to hear!


JD August 2, 2016 at 8:12 am

My husband is getting used to my “Hey, look what I found for you!” when I go thrift store shopping. I’ve had a few misses, but I’ve found some stuff he really needed sometimes, like the shop vac I picked up at a yard sale and many of his shirts and pullovers (not so much luck on the pants — he’s too thin for most of what I find) from Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I won’t say it’s rekindled our marriage, but it has made things easier for us since I’ve managed to save enough money to pay off our mortgage early and eliminate most of our debt. So, less financial tension, happier home; buying used rocks.


crowded_house August 2, 2016 at 9:09 am

Did you try googling a replacement handle? If the rest of the tea kettle was still working, it seems a shame to recycle it if a replacement handle can be found, even if it costs more than $5. Just a thought. I may be crowded_house right now, but I’m workin’ on it!


Katy August 2, 2016 at 9:21 am

Wow, I never even thought of that!


Katy August 2, 2016 at 9:33 am

Okay, I just looked. And replacement handles aren’t available to buy on the Kitchenaid website.


crowded_house August 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Sometimes there are websites dedicated to replacement or new old stock that are not affiliated with the manufacturer. It’s a crap shoot.


Bettypants August 2, 2016 at 10:32 am

“You are dead to me.” made me laugh.

Our burr coffee grinder had two holes in the plastic receptacle that catches the grounds. It was still useable – I had to put my hand just right with my thumb and finger covering the holes when I pushed the grind button. A couple months ago someone posted a Cuisinart burr grinder for $15 and I jumped on it. A better grind than the one I had, better controls, AND I don’t have to keep my hand on it. Making do with the crappy one makes me appreciate this one all the more.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary August 3, 2016 at 6:09 am

That made me laugh too. I’m going to have to remember it for a future text conversation. 🙂


Katy August 3, 2016 at 9:22 am

Apologies to your husband in advance for my bad influence.


TJ August 2, 2016 at 10:33 am


I don’t have a marriage anymore, but still thrift, as I am recovering from the debt I was saddled with from the ex. (Long story, you don’t want to know). Anyway, I rent a condo right now, sharing with my grown daughter. I walk to work, and in 3 years will retire, guess where, to OR. Recently someone in the next building over moved out. I did not know them, or I would have asked for their old stuff, which they instead threw in the dumpster!!! I was so mad at them. They also threw out a bunch of household stuff, which I promptly rescued and am giving to my church thrift shop to sell, so they can help the poor. I have to admit though, I did keep one thing, the black Coach tote bag. Looked it up by it’s serial number, and yep, it’s real. IN. THE. DUMPSTER. I do not get this frame of mind, but hey, free bag for me.


Gina in KY August 3, 2016 at 9:22 am

TJ: We are on similar frugal paths. I acquired a good portion of my debt the same hard way. 😉 Good luck to you and things will get much better!! {{HUGS}}


TJ August 3, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Gina in KY,

Thank you so very much for your kindness. I am not giving up, we are strong women!


Susie's Daughter August 2, 2016 at 11:19 am

I am celebrating used before new today as I got to peruse a (new to me) consignment shop in a nearby small city (using the term loosely 🙂 ). I found two long sleeve shirts for DS for those too cool for short sleeves, but it hasn’t snowed yet days in late fall. One was Hanna Anderson – would have been $24. new. Instead I happily paid $5!


Krystal August 2, 2016 at 11:30 am

Completely fair response.

I also make lists for items I am looking for second hand, but don’t need so when I do Goodwill trips, I have it available. Case in point, a potato ricer. It took me 2 years! It wasn’t a need, it was a want, but gnocchi is probably my favorite food and all that packaging that goes into the containers, blergh. Not sure it’s even recyclable! I do tend to avoid single task items, but if I use them frequently, I will allow for it. And since I only keep what I need, I have space for it. Potato ricer (for making gnocchi, $30-40 to buy new) and cherry pitter (we have a HUGE cherry tree, and we like to freeze and dry so none goes to waste) fit the bill.


Jennifer August 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm

I truly know nothing about gnocchi and I am sure making it at home is the freshest best tasting there is. My friend loves gnocchi and she gets it at Dollar tree for anyone interested and wanted to give it a try. Freshly homemade I’m sure doesn’t compare but thought I would mention.


Krystal August 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Another one of those Dollar Tree food deals! I have never considered shopping there until I saw Katy’s post a few weeks ago. This is a good idea for my little brother too, who is disabled and on a fixed income. I might take him there next time for some groceries when I am in town.

I love to make anything from scratch (except mayo, I am so bad at this), I am going to make a huge batch and try freezing individually on a cookie sheet, then storing in jars. I do this with berries and cherries so I can avoid the waste, and of course, save the $$! Also, it can get messy so might as well do as large of a batch as possible.


Julie C August 3, 2016 at 8:09 am

I haven’t tried the gnocchi from the Dollar Tree, but my kids really like Aldi’s gnocchi


Is it a need or a want August 2, 2016 at 11:47 am

Have children moving/moved out.
The last few years I have been on the look out for kitchen/house items for them.
Thrift stores run by volunteers and non profit group garage sales have the best finds and prices. Just amazing when you give yourself enough time what you will come up with for pennies on the dollar.


Hydra August 2, 2016 at 1:44 pm

The tea kettle is gorgeous. Great find – good to see what patience will get you.

I’m currently trying to patiently find 2 end tables and a lamp for each.


Denise August 2, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Out of interest, why isn’t it just “a kettle”, which is what we call them in the UK? I have never seen any electric kettles in the US – they are far more economical to boil water in, every bit as manoeuvrable as a stove-top kettle (they lift off the electric base completely for filling with water) and are safer too, as they have auto switch-off when the water is at boiling point:


Joanne August 2, 2016 at 2:12 pm

I’ve seen some in the US…in fact we had one at my old job, and my mother has one. I don’t have one at home because it’s just one more thing on the counter when we have a perfectly good stove already. And
I tend to only make hot drinks at home on the weekends ( but every day during the winter). But really not enough for us to have another countertop thing.


Mairsydoats August 2, 2016 at 2:39 pm

I have one!! And LOVE it!


Krystal August 2, 2016 at 3:21 pm

I always think of a kettle as one of those cast iron pots with lids used above an open fire (like for camping) and without a spout, and a tea kettle as Katy has, with a spout. I have no clue if that’s a UK/US thing, or even a regional US thing, since there are a lot of different names for things across the US.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary August 3, 2016 at 6:13 am

I have an electric kettle (called a “koom-koom” in my house, from the Hebrew word for it) as do many of my friends. I think you tend to find them in homes where tea is made. A lot of Americans drink mostly coffee, so they don’t have enough need for an electric kettle to make it worth the extra appliance on the counter.


Heather G. August 4, 2016 at 6:01 am

I have one also and use it daily..whether to make hot tea, sweet tea, ramen for the kiddos when they have that crazy craving for some.. Not everyday but occasionally. For homemade “instant oatmeal”, it’s just the cheap big old canisters of regular oatmeal that I pulse in the blender.. The list goes on and on..instant soup, hot chocolate. The kiddos can help themselves, the stove doesn’t run and heat up the house. Mine I got from lowes on has an automatic shutoff, and the cord stores inside it. The kettle goes inside my cupboard when not in use so I don’t have to worry about the prime real estate on the countertop.


Katy August 4, 2016 at 9:07 am

People keep mentioning “prime real estate” for their kitchens, so I thought I’d share a tip which may be obvious to most. I have a double sink, and recently realized that our dish drain fits exactly into one of the sinks. This opened up a huge chunk of counter space. I didn’t fill it, but the look is so much more spacious. Add in that I replaced my ancient dish drain with a pretty one from a free pile and it was a great kitchen upgrade!


April August 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm

For god’s sake woman, charge your phone! A battery that low makes me nervous.


Katy August 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Good eye! My family has “C.P.C.C.S.” which is “cell phone charger conflict syndrome,” with everyone constantly taking one another’s chargers. I joke that we could solve 99% of our problems by buying a couple more iPhone chargers.


LisaC August 3, 2016 at 1:35 am

I guarantee you that many hotels have extra chargers that guests have left behind. I’ve often thought of going to the nearest and asking at the front desk.


Susanne g August 3, 2016 at 9:25 am

I was told, and it seems to pan out, that turning down the brightness saves a lot of battery energy.


kathleen August 3, 2016 at 10:12 am

My husband was successful acquiring one from a hotel desk…then found his old one. So he now has a spare.


Rosa August 3, 2016 at 5:27 pm

i keep finding iphone charging cords laying in the street, now that I have a newer (5) one with a normal-sized cord, instead of my old 4. I assume they fall out of pockets?


Amanda August 3, 2016 at 4:28 am

We don’t watch tv in our weekend house, but we decided a tv and DVD player would be great to watch movies from the library now that the kids are getting older. I knew if I was patient I could find them second hand. Low and behold back in June I found a flat screen tv at the goodwill for $25. We thought about just buying a new DVD player because they are so cheap, but where’s the fun in that? Then yesterday I found exactly the DVD player I wanted (a very small, slim model) for $5! Now off to the library for our first dvd! Thank you for the inspiration to stick it out.


CJ August 3, 2016 at 4:45 am

Congrats on the new-ish tea kettle. But what I noticed was that your phone was below 15% power! Dang! Plug that baby in.


Vickie August 3, 2016 at 6:41 am

Nice find!
I’ve never seen a tea kettle that nice in our area thrift stores and red to boot. I’m impressed!


Mrs. Picky Pincher August 3, 2016 at 7:08 am

I love this! I need to be better about buying used items instead of new ones. We’re always paying for convenience when we buy something new at the store. For example, last night I spent $8 on a brand new balance ball. If I had gone to the thrift store, I probably could have found something used for the same price or cheaper.


Jane F August 3, 2016 at 7:38 am


How did you survive weeks without your Red Rose tea??!
Or, did you risk life an limb using the broken kettle?!


Sue August 3, 2016 at 8:06 am

I am going to take a guess here, I bet you can boil water in a pan on the stove, with the lid to make tea!


Gina in KY August 3, 2016 at 9:06 am

Score on all accounts!! <3


Dannielle September 3, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Wouldn’t it be more frugal to use a pot and more Minimalist not to buy a kettle?


Katy September 3, 2016 at 11:43 pm

Ahh . . . but I never claimed to be a minimalist.


Amy K. September 23, 2016 at 12:33 pm

I had to stop and comment because that is the most beautiful teakettle I’ve ever seen. What an amazing find!


Katy September 26, 2016 at 11:00 am

Yes, she is a beaut!


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