I love food. And cooking. And baking. There…I said it.

For years, I’ve loved to cook, bake, and eat the food I make while gathered around the table with friends and family. But I’ve felt weird saying that I love it. You see, I’m not exactly the smallest woman in the world, and I’ve been afraid that admitting I love all things kitchen-related would cause others to think things along the line of, “You may want to avoid that scrumptious muffin you just baked, and opt for an apple instead.” 😉

But you know what? Life is short. Way too short to worry about whether or not I should enjoy a muffin or an apple. (As a side note, I do care about my health, and I do try to keep things in check. But really, who doesn’t love a homemade goodie?!)

I sorta kinda love my kitchen. It’s my domain, and I feel most at home when I’m working away in there. I love to drool over Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table catalogs, and dream of what my kitchen could look like. But then I wake up from that dreamland and realize that unless I win the lottery (which would also mean I’d have to actually purchase a ticket!), I’ll never afford the items in those catalogs.

I was re-arranging some items in my kitchen yesterday, and it occurred to me how thankful I am for stores/venues on the opposite spectrum of the fancy kitchen stores. Goodwill, Salvation Army, garage sales, and SOR (side-of-road)…they’ve proven extremely helpful in outfitting my kitchen. It was fun to do a mental run-through of the items in my kitchen, and how many of them came from unexpected places.

I thought I’d share some photos today of some of my favorite parts of our kitchen. All of these areas were made possible by extremely cheap thrifting and a little creativity. I hope the photos inspire you to look beyond what most people would consider “normal” (catalog/big-box store shopping), and think outside of the box a bit. You may be surprised by what you can come up with!

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All of these “goodies” sit atop my refrigerator. I used two old wooden crates (compliments of SOR) to create a fun way to display some vintage kitchen items (from Goodwill) and to hold some of the spices I use on a regular basis. The glass jar on the right holds the protein powder I use in our smoothies, and looks so much more fun than the big plastic bag that it comes in.

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There are a handful of spices that I use every.single.day. Because I use them so often, I like to have them on the counter. I found these vintage canning jars at a garage sale last summer for 50 cents each! I washed them well, filled them with spices, and placed them in this adorable blue enameled dish I also scored at a garage sale. They sit right next to the cooking oils I use most every day, and I love that it looks fun while at the same time being extremely useful.

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This is hands-down my favorite part of my kitchen. I found this unique solid-wood shelf on the side of the road a few months back, and it works perfectly to house my cookbooks. I have a bit of an obsession with collecting cookbooks! I love that this little corner of the kitchen holds things so near and dear to my heart…the aprons hanging on the door were made by a dear friend from my late-grandfather’s shirts. The wall hanging above the shelf contains my great-grandmother’s handwritten recipes, and the shelf holds some really OLD cookbooks I’ve gathered at antique stores and garage sales.

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Coffee….a definite staple in the Archer household. This little cupboard above the coffee-maker holds my favorite coffee mugs/saucers that I eyed at a local consignment shop for MONTHS until they were finally marked down to 70 cents per set. There’s another one of those little canning jars from the garage sale, and it holds the brown sugar I like to sprinkle in my latte in the morning. The honey jar to the left was a gift to me for hosting a party, and I use it every single morning and think of how fun that party was! The little wooden box behind the brown sugar holds some coffee flavorings, and was found in a pile of wood headed toward the garbage. It’s a super old shipping box for a pencil sharpener. It’s adorable, and I love it! Total cost of this cupboard…probably less than $5.

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A couple years ago, we ripped the doors off of our pantry and created an open-pantry. I loved the idea of being able to see the pretty things in our kitchen, and hide all of the other not-so-pretty things inside of the closed cupboards. I prefer to use white dishes, and every single white dish you see in this pantry came from a thrift store. They don’t all match, but that’s part of the beauty of it. It took several trips to various thrift stores to complete my dish collection, but for probably less than $20, I have a whole host of white dishes to use for every-day use as well as larger get-togethers.

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This little jar sits on that cookbook shelf that I love so much. It’s filled with tiny spools of baker’s twine (I use the twine for tying together fresh herbs in sauces, or for adding pretty little touches to the baked goods I wrap up). The jar was 50 cents at a garage sale, and the baker’s twine came from Dollar Tree. I don’t know why, but I just love this cute little addition to my kitchen!

I hope you enjoyed that little walk-through my thrifted kitchen. 🙂 While someday I really would love to be able to purchase something from one of those beautiful kitchen stores, I’m pretty content with my little thrifted kitchen. Maybe someday I’ll happen upon some items from Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table…you never know what you’ll find when you’re on the hunt! 🙂

Blessings to you today, friends! Enjoy your weekend!

Oh, and stay tuned for a “first” on my blog…Tanner and I have been working on a video story about our new dining room. He’s doing a fantastic job editing this video, and I hope it will explain my heart a little bit more as to why I love to cook, bake, and open our home to anyone who wants to join us around our table. It might be a while yet before it’s finished, but I can’t wait to share it with you!

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