The One Kitchen Item You Should Always Buy Used, According to a Home Stager

published Oct 1, 2021
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If you regularly frequent your local thrift shop or you love perusing neighborhood yard sales, then you already know there are some seriously great finds out there — from pristine vintage furniture to one-of-a-kind home decor, you can score secondhand items for your home that are both affordable and unique.

But the next time you go thrifting, be sure to wander up and down every last aisle and scour every single shelf for the one kitchen item you should always buy secondhand: Pyrex bowls.

Take it from Leah Gomberg, who owns the home staging company Sweet Life by Design in Maplewood, New Jersey. With her eye for interior design, Gomberg specializes in making homes shine to help them sell faster (and for a higher price).

Credit: Renata Katz

Gomberg has never met a Pyrex bowl she didn’t love, starting with the extra yellow and green ones her mom shared from her own collection when Gomberg moved into her first apartment after college. After that, Gomberg started collecting on her own, mostly honing in on red and blue bowls she found at estate sales, garage sales, and her local church’s “turnover sale.”

Now, she uses her beloved (and super durable) Pyrex bowls on a daily basis, for mixing, baking, serving, and other cooking-related tasks. They’re also a key piece of her kitchen’s decor: She keeps a special floral set on display in her glass butler’s pantry. 

“They are able to withstand temperature changes, they don’t discolor, and because they’re glass, they don’t react with ingredients to change the taste of food, like cast iron can, and they don’t retain food smells after washing, like ceramics and earthenware,” she says.

She also uses Pyrex bowls whenever she can when she’s staging homes for sale. It helps add a bright, whimsical, homey touch to the space.

“When I come across a set of colorful Pyrex in a client’s house, I often display it in glass cabinetry or even on a corner shelf — what could be more fun and playful than a familiar pop of retro color?” she says.

If you’re looking to start your own vintage Pyrex collection, Gomberg suggests you start by asking any family members if they have any pieces they’d be willing to part with. From there, head to flea markets, secondhand stores, garage sales, antique shops, and anywhere else in your neighborhood that sells gently used items.

Serious collectors also sell some of their prized Pyrex possessions on sites like eBay and Etsy, but expect to pay a pretty penny for these. And remember that when it comes to collecting, most of the fun comes from the thrill you feel when you stumble upon a piece to add to your stash — it’s a bit like finding buried treasure.

“The cost of these bowls can vary depending on the vibrancy of the bowls’ colors and condition,” says Gomberg. “If you’re lucky, you might find single bowls for a couple of dollars at a garage sale. If you like a challenge, I’d strongly recommend starting a collection and keeping your eyes peeled for these classic pieces. Collect them one piece at a time or all at once if you hit the jackpot and find a set!”