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What do you do with "good" cookware you do not need?

I think that everyone who is a cookware enthusiastic (addict?) ends up with a lot of good quality “stuff” they do not need … Some was bought in an excess of enthusiasm, some was an unnecessary part of a set, some were an uninspired present, some were a mistake… Among my never used cookware I have a 10in nonstick A/C pan, a 3 cup Zojirushi Micom, a mini KA food processor, some Nomex puppet baking mitts, etc. The barely used list is even longer.

For average quality “stuff” I simply donate it to Goodwill. But I very much doubt that Goodwill knows what to do with a new AC pan – they probably will sell it for the same $5 as any other pan they sell. Ideally, I would donate these things to some charity that can deal with good cookware, maybe one associated with a cooking school but never found anything appropriate. I guess I could sell l them on e-bay or Craiglist but I really do not have the time.

What do you do with the good stuff you do not need? Thanks, -- CF

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  1. I think your idea of donation is the right one. Have you considered something like a battered women's shelter or a halfway house. They may not appreciate AC when you give it to them but the first time they use it they'll know it's something special.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Aabacus

      I run an agency with a women's shelter and you might be surprised by how many women are accustomed to good cooking and good cookware - domestic violence and abuse know no social or economic bounds! So, do donate - it will be greatly appreciated.

        1. re: janeh

          My apologies. You are of course correct. I didn't mean to insinuate otherwise. It was more along the lines of 95% of all folks don't appreciate good cookware...not specific to that group.

          1. re: janeh

            Thanks. I give everything I don't use and that friends don't want to Le Chaînon, a centre for women in crisis here (battered, homeless, otherwise needing a safe place for a while). Some goods go to clothe the women at the centre and help them transition to independent housing, others to fund the undertaking.

        2. I give it to friends.

          Arrange all your unneeded stuff on a table, take a picture to show people so they can see what's available, and invite them over to take whatever they want.

          You can also do a bit of friendly arm-twisting if necessary -- "If you want the rice cooker, you have to take the tea kettle too!"

          5 Replies
          1. re: tanuki soup

            I do too. Never had a hard time finding a friend who could use a nice piece of cookware. Especially knives and knife accessories. Around here I'm like the Johnny Appleseed of kitchen cutlery. My friends are a pretty sharp bunch these days.

            1. re: tanuki soup

              Maybe your friends have stuff they don't need, too. How about having an "exchange" party where people bring what they don't need and take what they do. You might even be able to build some good "sharing" situations -- "I'll keep the 3 gallon pot if you keep the big chinois and we'll share".

              1. re: travelerjjm

                i've always wanted to do this with my cookbooks… but i was always afraid i wouldn't want what my friends had to give!!!

                I'd donate it: i've found wonderful things at our local hospice thrift store and I APPRECIATE COOKWARE!!!

                1. re: rmarisco

                  You're not required to take anything at a swap -- you take what you want or need, and whatever's left over at the end of the evening goes to the charity shop.

            2. If you no longer need it and you give it to Goodwill, it doesn't matter whether or not someone appreciates it for what it is...someone who needs a decent pan gets a decent pan for a price they can afford.

              And yes, there are Hounds who haunt charity shops just hoping to find your cast-off "good" stuff.

              4 Replies
              1. re: sunshine842

                Ah, my most recent Le Creuset purchase was at the Goodwill. I am enjoying someone's kind donation!

                1. re: janeh

                  and everyone in the chain is happy...the donor is rid of something they don't use...Goodwill has some cash with which to help those who need it (which is getting harder to find when times are tough) ... you saved some money and found something you wanted and/or needed.

                  Nobody should have to prove themselves "good enough" to deserve what you no longer want/need, and as janeh said above...it just might be going to someone who knows exactly what it is and what it's worth, but had to leave her home in the middle of the night with her children and only the clothes on their backs to avoid being beaten to death.

                2. re: sunshine842

                  Goodwill prices items on the item, never name. All of the dresses are 7-10$, including Cavalli (got 2 of them, it was my day).

                  A local thrift shop here became private after Amvets dropped them. We were happy that they remained a thrift shop and kept all of the employees. Rumor was that the owners were keeping too much of the money. Well, whoever prices everything must be at a computer because they charge far more for anything that's even slightly name brand. I suppose I see their point but considering the rumor and the fact that they are selling high prices items at high price that were donated (may as well goto nordstrom rack)... we stopped shopping there.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Why not? Also remember that there are Hounds who don't have a lot of money.

                  2. I recently sold a too-large Le Creuset French oven on eBay. Mailing it was the only PITA part. If I hadn't wanted to spend the time doing that, I would probably have given it to a friend. I had thought of giving it as a wedding gift (I'd never used it), but my friend is an All-Clad fan.

                    Nowadays, Goodwill is very aware of the value of things, and puts its best stuff up for sale on eBay.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jay F

                      Goodwill sells on eBay? Wow, didn't know that. I wonder if the other large charities (Salvation Army, Vietnam Vets) do so as well.

                      I usually end up wanting to give away electrics that were in the "It seemed like a great idea at the time" category -- usually specialty items (like the infamous crepe maker) that nobody we know has any interest in. So they get put aside for the next Vietnam Vets collection drive.

                      Last time we moved, I also got rid of all but 3 pieces of LC (too darn heavy). None of the relatives wanted them -- for the exact same reason, LOL -- and I didn't want the hassle of the shipping charges on eBay, so ended up giving those away also.

                      With eBay's new policy of applying the Final Value Fee to the shipping AS WELL AS the actual price the item sells for, that's a clear dis-incentive for individuals to sell any of the heavy stuff on there anymore, IMHO.

                      I recently listed a Calphalon pan there, and it sold, but for only 1/3 of what I paid for it (not counting the shipping, which was $13 for a 5 lb 8 oz package via the cheapest method). Only one bid on it too, despite the fact that it had been used no more than 3 times. Had I initially priced it higher, it probably would not have sold at all.

                      1. re: skyline

                        skyline: "Goodwill sells on eBay? Wow, didn't know that. I wonder if the other large charities (Salvation Army, Vietnam Vets) do so as well."

                        I don't know about the other charities. What I mainly see are used CDs and books on Amazon Marketplace or eBay being sold by local Goodwill stores here and there around the country. I've bought a couple of classical CDs from the Goodwill in Portland OR, usually on AM.

                    2. I donate it to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and to the women's shelter.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ellabee

                        I definitely recommend the ReStore. Smaller volume of donations means you can talk to the people who will be pricing it for sale and give them an idea of value, although they do research. Merchandise is a step up from the SA and Goodwill.

                        (Full disclosure - my mother is a long-time volunteer and I've spent time helping out.)

                      2. I saved a lot of stuff I never used for most of my daughter's life til she moved out. I freecycled some of the rest.

                        1. I would assume that the good pan is "skimmed" before it reaches the Goodwill floor.

                          I have given good stuff to my children as they set up first households after school graduations. I occasionally give one child who likes to cook, a useful piece. I've got my stuff down to the things I need now.

                          However you do it, I'd pass them on.

                          You can also list things on Craigslist.

                          15 Replies
                          1. re: sueatmo

                            Amen - I have never seen so much as a lid at the Goodwill thrift shop in my city. Given that the other charity stores - Salvation Army, AmVets, Rescue mission ALWAYS have cookware all the time, it is utterly improbable that this one NEVER gets anything...

                            So that being said, I only donate cookware to the shops I find cookware.

                            1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                              I have found some good pieces of cookware at Goodwill. I found a Tramontina tri-ply 5 quart saute pan with the lid for $20. I also found two 8" Calphalon tri-ply skillets for $5 each (not at the same time). I have pretty much stopped the hunt for cookware at thrift stores however. The good finds became too rare to warrent my time spent looking.

                              1. re: John E.

                                I hear of people making scores of cookware at the GW, but I never have. I found very little of any sort at my former city's GWs, but there is a lot of stuff (awful stuff, really) in my present's city's GW. It doesn't matter about the numbers of items though if they are all junky.

                                I have noticed a few vintage small electrics here though. And I might spring for a waffle iron if I see one that looks good.

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  Long ago I decided never to pay retail for most small kitchen appliances. We a complete set of Wustof Classic knives that I bought from thrift stores. Actually, I found more than a complete set, plus other high quality knives. However, those finds mostly stopped happening a couple of years ago.

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    a sign of the economy -- less good stuff being donated, more demand for what's there...

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      I think it's more of an indication that thrift stores are an 'in' thing right now. I don't need to shop at thrift stores because of the economy. I did it because I'm cheap. ; )

                                      1. re: John E.


                                        why pay full price? if i'm not in a rush for something, i enjoy the hunt as much as anything else! I waited a long time to find just the right cast iron pan - found it at the flea market, cleaned by electrolysis, nicest dealer in the world.. we were both very happy to give the pan a new home!

                                        1. re: rmarisco

                                          I have purchased two 12" cast iron skillets for about $6 each at flea markets. I also got a square Griswold at a thrift store. I used to enjoy the 'hunt' more than I do now. I just stopped finding the good stuff in the last year or so.

                                          I have probably $800 worth of Wusthof knives (full retail price) but I don't see them anymore. I have several pieces of tri-ply SS pans from Tramontina, Calphalon, and Cuisinart as well.

                                          We just recently put a new kitchen in our northern Minnesota cabin, so a bunch of our leftover yet 'good' cookware is going up there. I'll have to teach my brother how to use the SS cookware. I think he's a mostly non-stick cook right now.

                                  2. re: sueatmo

                                    it swings wildly by location -- there are a few GW stores in my area, and they've got reputations in my community -- this one's in a retirement community, so there's lots of vintage stuff -- that one's close to a department-store distribution center, so there's lots of closeouts and clearance.

                                    I've found decent kitchen stuff in both of them (not necessarily stuff I've bought -- just that oh, that's a good price for that...), though, as it's not what people visit those stores for.

                                  3. re: John E.

                                    I want to be clear that I was not speaking about Goodwill as a whole. Again, I was talking about a particular GW in my city... That I found a 3qt Revere Ware saucepan in a few days ago. (Rolling my own eyes at myself)

                                    And I do agree that in our economy the thrift shops are more popular... Two organic in my city of 140K have gone so far as to open secondary boutique locations. One routinely has and sells fur coats!

                                    1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                      Both my long leather coat and my short shearling coat were secondhand finds.

                                      1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                        There is a Goodwill store in the Twin Cites that specializes in art and other high end goods such as fur coats.

                                        I don't frequent Goodwill or other thrift stores too often anymore, it's been more miss than hit for a while now.

                                        I have never bought clothing at Goodwill. They arrange the clothing by color and not by size. There are racks of green t-shirts next to racks of black t-shirts, orange, etc. The rest of the clothing, at least the men's clothing is done the same way. I won't search through a rack of clothes mixed up like that.

                                        I just took a lemon pie out of the oven.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          that's messed up. Every Goodwill and Salvation Army I've ever been in sorts by size, and they'll make a good guess if something doesn't have a tag.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            The goodwill in my city organizes the house wear items on shelves along the back wall in ROY G BIV color order. Black roasting pan next to black telephone, white corningware next to volleyball!

                                            1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                              housewares are still strange, but okay.

                                              But to chuck all the clothes by color, regardless of size or gender, is defeating the purpose -- why make it so hard to find clothing?

                                2. Another option for giving things away (vs. donation to a charity) is http://www.freecycle.org/

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                    Freecycle is a great idea! There are people out there who are too broke to afford SA or Goodwill, but who would appreciate good cookware. As with battered women's shelters, there are people from all walks of life who have had their lives turned upside down and need to restart. Freecycle helps them to do that.

                                    Habitat for Humanity is also wonderful, for the same reason. People getting a new shot at life could use some nice stuff, too!

                                  2. I have the same issues. I don't trust ebay any longer as there is so much fraud and Ebay seems to be on the side of the buyer. There are stories about people returning things and putting a brick in the box, and as long as they can show the tracking that it was returned to the seller, and it's about the right weight, Ebay will reimburse the buyer and take your funds.

                                    I've tried cash and carry on Craigslist but it's mostly 'bottom feeders' that don't want to pay any where near a fair price. Trying to sell a 6 quart deep saute in stainless there for $100, new in the box and first quality from WS and no interest at all, even though it just sold on Ebay for $150 and $199 for the brushed finish. If I didn't say firm I would get offers from $50-$75 on it, which I won't sell for.

                                    1. You can: Donate to a local charity such as Goodwill, Vietnam Veterans, HFH ReStore, or various church thrift stores; Donate to a Church for their (usually Spring) Rummage Sales; Sell in a Yard Sale or Community Yard Sale; Give to Friends and Relatives (who are foodies) free or as gifts; or look for a local vintage kitchenware store who offers buy, sell, trade options (e.g., Cookin' and Pot and Pantry if you are in San Francisco).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Theredpantry

                                        If you are in SF, call ahead to deal with Cookin' - she works by appointment ONLY and will not look at anything otherwise...

                                        ...but be forewarned, that means you'll have to deal with the owner who is likely NEVER going to be a candidate for "pleasant business owner of the year"...

                                      2. Mine migrates to my camping gear and grilling gear. So, for instance, as I switched over to induction a bunch of pretty good Calphalon cookware was moved to the camping cook kit. Something like your Nomex mitts would go straight into the grilling kit. Next stop, for something like the food processor, would be my sister. Then either donate, or if I really didn't want to take the time to find it a home it could always go out on the sidewalk and be gone in 15 minutes to a happy home or pawnshop.

                                        1. This situation came up when my wife and I moved in together some years ago. We both had good collections of cookware, and except for certain items (knives are very personal things!) had no need to keep two of everything.

                                          Fortunately for her, the 21-year old daughter of a friend of ours was just moving into her first post-college apartment at the time and was able to give our castoffs a good home.

                                          1. In any urban area you can do curbside recycling. Set it out, it will disappear, 'free to a good home'.

                                            1. I have donated things before to a night shelter, in this case for a particular person who was transitioning to housing, but I know they have people transitioning all the time.

                                              And I know just what you mean about 'the good stuff.' I was hanging onto some clothes like that, and finally took them to a clothing exchange.

                                              Once I took a bunch of clothes and shoes to Dress for Success. I took shoe boxes with shoes as well as empty shoe boxes that I thought might be helpful for organizing shoes. The woman 'accepting' my donation told me, 'Don't bring us empty shoe boxes. I have just put them all in the Dumpster.' When I told her that some had shoes in them--'No, they didn't.' I immediately left with the balance of my donation still in the car.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: foiegras

                                                I hope you reported her! She deprived women trying to get into the workforce of good shoes for interviews etc. Shame on her!

                                              2. Same as I do with everything else: in a box, on the sidewalk, with a sign that says "Free." If I don't need it, let someone else have it. Doesn't cost me anything.

                                                1. While not as noble as others I give mine to young relatives just starting out. My colleges aged relatives are often not residing in dorms but in house shares. The are interested in CSAs and cooking at home. They are so appreciative of "good" cookware! It's nice to see kids realize that for cost of a take out pizza they can cook a meal at home. It's unfortunate that many don't because they don't have the tools (or skills) to do so.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                    sure, it's just as noble -- you're giving your good stuff to people who need it but can't afford it.

                                                    1. re: Master

                                                      Also night shelters. They are typically always transitioning people into housing, and they are setting up from scratch.