Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sourcing Jam Jars - The Thrifty Way

A few months ago when I had the thought to try making my own preserves I came up against what I thought was a little roadblock.  I only had one jar that I had saved in the cupboard.  How was I going to make a batch of Jam or Marmalade without enough jars?  So the idea went on the back burner until we had eaten our way through a couple of jars of bought jam and relish.  At the time I had thought that maybe by the end of the year I might have enough, and I could always ask around for some from friends.

A few weeks back on our way up to Grandma's to get the boys, DH had to stop in a small town along the way to fix a coffee machine.  I decided to go for a walk along the main street and came across a Salvation Army Op-Shop.  Oh no I couldn't go in.  Ever since I was a teenager I had had a thing against op-shops, its the smell of them and also the fact that some of our clothes came from them when I was growing up and to be honest it wasn't entirely was my thing - sorry Mum.  As I got older I made a pact with myself that I would only buy new things and I swore off second hand shops.  Haha, therein lies the start of my consumerism lifestyle!

Anyway as I stood outside the op-shop I cast my mind back to Rhonda's blog at Down To Earth and her thrifting posts and thought, she would never feel like this.  So I told myself to get over it! In I went and well what treasures I could find! I only had $5 of my pocket money left and I knew we were stopping for coffee along the way so I didn't buy anything although there was an old toasted sandwhich maker like we used to have growing up that you stuck straight into a fire.  I really wanted that.  But I held off, although now I wish I had gotten it.

But the biggest treasure I came across was a box of Jam Jars for 50cents each! Wow I was so excited at this find, and so I made a mental note to myself to go investigate the op-shops back home on my next shopping day.

There are a few of them here in our town but only one of them has jam jars.  In this particular shop it's fantastic! there are jars and bottles of all sizes.  When I found them I was in jam jar heaven lol.  I stood for ages picking each one up checking it over thinking about the size and what its use would be.  They must have thought I was nuts!

I got this selection of jars, 1 of the jars I picked to be the one for my Ginger Beer plant as it has a nice wide mouth and the 3 bottles, which I have used 2 as my Lemon Cordial concentrate bottles and the smaller one as my Maple Syrup bottle for only $1.70 for the lot!! I gave them $2.00 to add a little donation.  They also threw in this wine holder bag which is perfect for holding 6 jars. 

I am now over my little complex and love going to the thrift shops.  On one of my trips into the op-shops I found a book which I am currently absorbed in called Living the Good Life, by Linda Cockburn for only $3.00.  It is a great read so far, its a diary of an ordinary family in Australia who live in a suburban block, although their property is slightly larger than a normal section, who decided to plunge themselves into 6 months of no-spending at all, and living on only what they could provide for themselves and they have solar power and heating etc.  So far its a good read and it is right up our alley in terms of ideas for our developing simple and frugal lifestyle.

So if you need to find a few things like some material to make an apron, an old pair of jeans to make patches out of or you want to build up a store of jam jars, next time your at the shops pop into your local op-shop/thrift shop and see what they  have.  You never know what treasures you might find :)  Just make sure you check the jars over thoroughly for any chips and cracks and that the lids have no rust on them.  When you get them home give them a nice hot soapy wash and they'll be as good as new!


  1. What a GREAT find at a GREAT price! Welcome to Thrift shopping!

  2. Thanks Becky, I never thought I would see myself going thrift shopping but I've caught the bug :) I might try and pop back into a few of them today before heading to the supermarket to see if I can find some helpful treasures with my pocket money :)

  3. Another interesting post, Ruth.

    I buy almost all our crockery and glasses at the Red Cross Shop now and always have a look through their household linens, I've had vintage UK linen tea-towels for $3 each, a King Size Quilt Cover, new in package for $12, handmade patchwork cushion covers and beautifully hand embroidered pillow cases for a dollar or two.
    Trick is to pop in often as the stock changes so quickly.

  4. Thanks Sue :) Yes I have quickly cottoned on to going in regularly. I like to just have a browse through now, which is a huge change for me lol. What great finds you've had! I will keep mine peeled for bargains like that! I am keeping my eye out on the materials in the op-shops here, I don't really sew much and only do it by hand when I do, but I'd like to extend myself and make an apron.


Hiya, thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I can't wait to read your comments and to share ideas, I am a busy mummy with 2 boys to run around after so I will try and get to comments as quickly as I can...if there is a delay in seeing them published this is why, not because I don't care, I'm just taking some time to smell the roses :)

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