I am a frugal shopper from way back. As a kid, I tagged along with my dad to many a yard sale on Saturday mornings. As adults, my sister and I break out in a sweat when we find a good deal on something and text each other with the giddiness of kids on Christmas morning. Buying something not on sale or without a coupon goes against our very grain. You get the picture. So, recently I had to resign one of my very favorite pots to the donation bin. It was a coated pot and the coating was beginning to break away and not safe for cooking in any longer. I began pecking around online looking for a replacement. It just so happened that I was meeting my mom at the Goodwill that very afternoon to pick up some fresh vegetables from her garden. (You can read here what yummy things I have made from those fresh garden veggies!) I went in the store to find her and what did I come across but a pot the perfect size and the perfect heavy weight I like. It was actually an old piece of Revere Ware and bonus points – it had the lid with it! The price was … wait for it … $2.95! The sweating began. The only problem was it had several burn marks on the inside. I thought to myself, I’ll invest $2.95 to see if I can get it clean. Here’s the good news! I was successful using every day household items – white vinegar, water, baking soda and a scouring pad. Here’s the steps I took:

  1. Bring an equal amount of white vinegar and water to a boil in the pot. This pot is about a 6-cup pot and the burn marks were just a bit above the middle. It took 3 cups of water and vinegar to cover the burn marks.
  2. Boil for one minute then pour the mixture down the drain.
  3. Put 1 tablespoon of baking soda in the empty pan and scrub with scouring pad
  4. Rinse and do the happy dance!

Before!

After

Step 1: Boil vinegar and water in pot.

Step 2: Measure 1 tablespoon of baking soda.

Step 3: Scrub with scouring pad.

There are times when buying new is the best way to go, but being willing to consider something that is used but still has plenty of life in it is one of the best strategies for a self-sustainable home. The money I was going to spend on a brand new pot can now be put towards something else that we need and I have a replacement pot at a very low cost that I am perfectly happy with as well. Score 1 for the DCI home! Do you have a success story on finding somebody else’s trash that has become your treasure? Share it with us and we’ll do the happy dance with you!

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