Self-Sufficiency Series

Saturday, October 27, 2012

SCORE!!!!

I was low on canning jars. And I mean really low. I was actually reduced to buying new jars (unheard of!), but I have been doing lots of canning lately and, well, I was low on jars.

I've scoured every thrift store I could find, but Fall is not the best time to search thrift stores for canning jars -- they're usually sold out.

I tried searching Craig's List and the Nickel's Worth and similar sources, but I found more people looking for jars than were selling them. Besides, our region is so widespread and far-flung that any available jars were likely to be a two or three hour drive (one way) distant.

New jars range anywhere from $9 to $14/dozen, so buying new jars is impractical for someone who cans on the scale I do. But what else could I do? I needed jars.

My youngest brother, bless his heart, sent me $50 for my 50th birthday. I kept the money in the card and earmarked it for canning jars, figuring I could buy about five dozen pint jars (with a bit of change left over) for this amount.


But then I had an idea. Putting a "wanted" ad in any regional ad source was counterproductive. But what about putting an ad in our local once-a-week newspaper? Duh, why didn't I think of that sooner?

So I did.


My hope is I'd find an older woman who was past her canning years who might be willing to give up her jars for an affordable price.

Well, it worked. BIG TIME.

I got a call from a woman named Barbara who lives in the next town over, who said she had "lots" of jars in her basement. I tentatively asked how much she was willing to sell them for, figuring my top price would be $6/dozen (any higher, and I might as well buy them new). But when she hesitantly said, "$2 a dozen?" (as if that was too much to ask!), it was all I could do from gasping. SCORE!!

Barbara said she was glad to get rid of them, and she would pull all the jars out of her basement and stack them on the front porch for me. I combined a trip into town with Older Daughter's evening Venture Scouts meeting. It was a little hard to find Barbara's place on a dark rainy evening, but I finally did. And look what I saw!


Barbara showed me her tally: twenty dozen jars. For $2/dozen. SCORE!!

I even got change for my $50 bill. Hmmm, what shall I do with this money?


I loaded the car to groaning and rattled my way home. I brought them into the house the next morning and spread everything out to see what I had (and let me tell you, I felt like a kid at Christmas). From the bits of old newspapers used to line some of the boxes, I gather these jars haven't been used since about 1998. No wonder she was anxious to get rid of them.


It took me a couple of hours to re-box everything into old empty canning-jar boxes I had stored away, which also gave me a chance to more accurately inventory and/or label everything.


Final tally: eight dozen quarts, nine dozen pints...


...and three dozen miscellaneous smaller (i.e. jelly) jars. SCORE!!


Rather miraculously, I managed to squeeze ALL the boxes of empty jars into my canning closet.



Twenty dozen new jars. That should last me awhile, don'cha think? I have to thank the Barbara's of the world for passing on their treasures to a younger generation. Maybe someday, when I'm a lot older, I'll do the same.

Altogether now: SCORE!!!!!!!

24 comments:

  1. Canning jars are like old photos...hard to part with but well worth the sharing!!! Enjoy your additions to your stash!!! I am sure "if canning jars could talk......" they would have a life time of memories to tell you about!
    Kathy W

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    1. That's something that I often wonder about too Kathy - if the jars could talk, what could they tell us about where they've been and what they've held.

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  2. Seek and ye shall find! How wonderful!!

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  3. Wow..that's like winning the lottery only better..no taxes : ) That is really great. Canning jars and food grade buckets. The things we treasure.

    SF

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  4. Wow, that was a gift multi times over! Receiving, celebrating, deciding, finding, scoring then drooling!

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  5. Amazing find! You will put them to great use.

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  6. Amazing find! You will put them to great use!

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  7. That is so awesome! An elderly man I know has been giving me old jars from his cellar and I make him homemade bread. I don't do nearly as much canning as you do but I have been so blessed with some wonderful sizes you can't buy anymore.

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  8. Oh, I know how thrilling that must have been. We have a Recycle Center here, and the money raised goes to charity. I recently scored 3 dozen jars for $4.00, and then a week later, 4 dozen jars for $4.00 (different lady setting prices). I was positively giddy. I even found a package of unused wide mouth lids for 25c. Needless to say, hubby just rolled his eyes and asked where we were going to put them all.

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  9. Patrice,

    I love it!!! Not having to pay full price for canning jars (there expensive). Congratulations Patrice, you surely did score on the ad you placed with your local weekly newspaper.

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  10. That is an awesome deal. I lucked out and got around 250 quart jars and 30 2-quart jars for free last year from a family that was clearing out a relative's house who had passed away. They were full of food from the 80s and 90s, but I was happy to dump out the contents and clean the jars in order to get them for free. I snap up every quart and pint jar I see at a local thrift store that sells them for $0.25 a jar, but in the summer and fall they are far and few between. I have found that visiting the local senior center and talking to folks there often can result in getting canning jars too, a lot of seniors have loads of jars just collecting dust that they are happy to give away or sell cheap and are excited to see younger folks taking up canning. Now I just have to save up some money and buy another big lot of tattler lids!

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  11. Patrice, this summer my husband stopped at a garage sale. Bless his heart.... he got me 187 pint jars plus 2 dozen white plastic "refridgerator" lids ( still in their boxes unused) plus 3 full boxes of rings with lids.... the price for it all ? $5 ! It was like Christmas going through the boxes.

    TinaH

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  12. patrice...i hope that you kept that ladies address and phone number and that you have every intention of giving her a few quarts of chicken soup or something just as tasty...she really gave you a humdinger of a bargain and you did'nt have to dig around her basement.

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  13. Happy for you, Patrice! Will you put the remaining $10 toward your next order of Tattler lids? Or late-season pumpkins at clearance prices? Hmmmm. Thank you so very much for sharing your adventures with us!
    Christy

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  14. Wow! I'm vicariously enjoying your riches!

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  15. I put an add on craigslist and keep renewing it that says canning jars needed. So far I have picked up over 12 dozen free jars in just 3 weeks and paid $6 for almost 6 dozen jars. My husband always goes with me to pick the jars up so I am being safe. The first person who gave me jars kept my name and will call me again when he gets a bunch collected. He goes to at least 5 auctions a week and he only keeps a certain design of jar and the rest he said I could have, he said he was happy to find someone who would use them. I share them with my daughters and took a bunch down to an Amish community by our house. Used canning jars are addictive, If I see them $2 a dozen or cheaper I get them.

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  16. Sweet! How exciting, I love finding scores like that. It's been a while since a relative or friend has come across a screamin' deal for me though, maybe next year.

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  17. I sent my husband to pick me up some canning lids and he brought me some gem lids. I just learned why the size difference today and was curious what you do with those odd size jars that are not wide or regular mouth.

    Also was wondering if you ever used those glass and rubber lids before. I havent seen them around since the 80's.

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    1. Most odd-size jars still fit standard lids. If they don't, I usually recycle them.

      Jars that have glass and rubber lids are wonderful for dry storage (I have quite a few), but do NOT try to use them for canning. They're no longer considered safe.

      - Patrice

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  18. A dear friend, my daughter calls her grandma, is retiring in 2013 and moving to Idaho. As she comes across her canning jars she is giving them to me. I get a smile every time she finds even one or two. Sounds like you hit a big score, great birthday present!

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  19. What a blessing. God is good, isn't He?

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  20. Twenty dozen ... let's see, at the rate you can, they'll last what, 2 weeks tops :)

    Seriously, though, great score!

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  21. Congratulations! That was a smart idea.

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  22. I know I am behind the times on this post, but I placed an ad in two local "want ad" papers that go out free to people in our county. I have gotten over 30 dozen quarts and about 10 dozen pints, some for free, but most for $4/dozen. I am still getting calls, and thankfully my DH is supporting my efforts and says to buy all that come along. My mom wants a few, and I have a dear friend who will buy what I don't want. I am finding it is all older ladies who no longer can. Just today I got a call from a lady who said, "I was just wondering what I was gonna do with all those canning jars."

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