Sunday, November 20, 2011

Modern Homesteading Mercantile a.k.a. 2nd Hand Store

Yesterday Woodsrunner & I headed out to rural Genesee County for a few errands. While there we stopped off in Indian Falls @ an awesome modern day homesteading mercantile. As the sign reads Your 2nd Hand Store.
For an urban homesteader, a fugal homesteader like myself it's like going to the mall with a pocket full of coupons and some change in my pocket. While this isn't a true mercantile in that I didn't see any food for sale for the average fugalista or treasure hunter it's a gold mine; cloth & sewing supplies vintage patterns, sick room equipment, dishes, pots and pans, furniture, appliances (more on that later).

There is the usual "antiques" which to a homesteader really translates into lifestyle tools. This hand cranked wringer would require both elbow grease to use & restore. The wood is solid on this model, surface rust only but the rollers would need to be replaced. I've often wondered if something like a rubber inner tube could be slid over each roller, a sleeve. Just something I've been playing with in my head. The hack would have to be of clean laundry quality of course.  

A lamp to read by - there were no Aladdin Lamps but plenty of good usable complete oil lamps, as well as parts to be had. Sconces & candle holders, wick snuffers too.

See anything you need?
 For a mercantile like this you should dress accordingly. Clothes that you can crawl around in. I also like to have a fanny pack or a nail apron (think waitress apron two big pockets), that I keep camera, note pad & pen, tape measure, baby wipes for hand washing.  If I'm shopping for a specific item like a lid for a fry pan I have those measurements.

Medical prepps

Good things come to those who search - hemo stats, cuticle scissors, tweezers. To the right was bar supplies like ice strainers & shot tumblers.

Sausage making - Breakfast, Italian, Polish, and yes even Blood. 
Manual meat grinders and a few that did more. The large one might be a cherry pitter. To the left is a container full of poultry trivets, cooling racks & toaster oven shelves. * Note to self bring camp oven to fit for extra shelves !

Valuable tool come Apple harvesting time.
Some homesteading tools are in mint condition minus the box. Notice the aluminum colored press? I didn't when I snapped this pic. Might be something I haven't realized I can't live without.

Stop, look, touch, consider with an open mind. 
Sometimes a homesteader's tools are hiding in plain sight. On this shelf was a Squeezeo style food strainer (center tool with wooden handle), four red bottle cappers, more manual grinders, and some shop tools.

I saw a few non-wire bail canning jars, huge selection of funnels & tongs along with water bath canners or pots that would work. No pressure canners but quite a few pressure cookers.

Next Saturday is shop small local biz day an add marketing campaign sponsored by American Express - FYI bring cash. We have always found everything here reasonably price so I've never attempted negotiating.
If your in the area stop by 48 A to Z. Please give Ginger the owner a shout out from me.

Do you have a favorite junk store full of hidden treasures ?

~~ pelenaka ~~


  1. That looks like a store I'd enjoy visiting. I get much more pleasure from looking through a store like that than going to a mall.

    I love your idea of a fanny pack to hold pen, pencil etc.

  2. I would love to find a squeezo type juicer at one of the thrift shops I visit. I did find King Kutter food processor with all the blades for $10. That was a delightful find. This place looks perfect for the homestead minded.

  3. Amy, it is! I only gave but a glimpse. More pics to follow.

    Granny, ty but I got the fanny pack tip from Martha. My mom however always kept a list & cloth tape measure in her purse.

    Leigh, I still need to go back with my camp oven to fit shelves I'll take a better look @ the strainers & snap a few pics. I doubt if any were more than $20. Better than $70 @ the restaurant supply store this Summer.

  4. Pelenaka,

    I don't need any such trips to the thrift store, most all of that stuff can be found in my cupboards, hahaha.

    And most all of it gets used pretty regularly, too.

    I've been non-electric for many more years than I have had PV power. Been doing the homestead stuff going on 50 years now.


  5. We have an awesome indoor flea market that looks a lot like the store you show in your pictures. It has its share of plain junk, but if one is willing to take some time and really look, there are a lot of treasures for the frugal suburban homesteader.

    I find a lot of treasures in our local Goodwill store, too :).

    Patience, knowing what one is looking for, and avoiding impulsive buys are the keys to surviving both places, though ;).

  6. Well said Wendy, it just takes effort as does our life style. If it was that easy then everyone could order out of a catalog ... wait they do. I suppose then when they attempt to live this way it must come as a real shock.


Thanks, good to know there are other's with this interest