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Beginners Guide to Buying Used Kitchen Cabinets

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 2

Buying used kitchen cabinets is a great way to go if you are handy, don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a kitchen or maybe you simply want to update your cottage or other rustic vacation spot.

Used Kitchen Cabinets

Cottage kitchen – If you have that little cabin in the woods, or other rustic vacation spot, then spending lots of money on a kitchen upgrade will just not work.  Not only is there a lot of money involved, but depending on the style of your cottage, a new kitchen will look out of place.

But if the kitchen in the cottage is barely there, falling off the wall or simply “non-existent” and you simply pile up coolers on a table when you go, then searching out used kitchen cabinets would be a good idea for this space.

But where do you find these?

Kitchen Installers – Many people love to spend lots of money on their homes, and upgrading kitchens is big business.  Many kitchen installers and cabinet makers are not only asked to design the latest and greatest in modern kitchens with all the bells and whistles, but are also asked to remove the old one.

In many cases, they are not taken off the wall very gently and are basically scrap when they are thrown into the bin, but if you ask an installer or cabinet maker to keep you mind and they find kitchen cabinets worth saving, then they will sell them to you.

This could be your first stop.  If you are not picky about style, and you are simply looking for the boxes and the bases, you could either reface the doors or get new ones at a fraction of the cost of a new kitchen install.

Buying Used Kitchen Cabineta

Garage Sales – I have been to many garage and yard sales where kitchen cabinets have been taken out and are actually sitting in the garage ready to go.  Many people will install old cabinets in their garage, or have the intent to, but before long they are collecting dust outside.  Many homeowners will save money on a brand new kitchen design and install if they take their old cabinets out themselves, but now what to do with them? 

So, check the newspaper listings for garage sales in your area and see if they are selling larger pieces, as well as used kitchen cabinets, they will usually list these.  If you have a truck or access to a truck, then you can offer them a price, barter if needed, and say you can take them right now.  That alone will be worth something to a homeowner itching to get them out of their garage!

Kijiji or other Online Ads – Check online for anyone in your area who may be selling used cabinets.  There are many free online ads in your local area, and if you have acce

Used Kitchen Cabinet
ss to a truck then you can phone them up and simply go and get them. 

I have seen many sets of used cabinets with the online sale ads.  I have also seen some cabinets being listed for “free to good home” simply because they took them out themselves, and didn’t want to pay the builder or installer to remove the old ones, but want them gone.

Re-Use Stores – In Ontario we have builder re-use stores that help fund “habitat for humanity” projects.  Builders simply donate leftover building supplies, and these supplies are then either used in the ongoing projects by the charity or they are listed for sale to homeowners to raise capital.

Many times, not only will you find used kitchen cabinets, but the countertops and many building supplies such as tiles, flooring and more.  You may find a great backsplash idea at stores like these.  It is worth checking out, especially if you have access to a truck or pickup truck.

Used Kitchen Cabinets(90169)

Open Shelves – If you are trying to organize a cottage kitchen for example, and you just can’t find a used kitchen that would work, or the budget is simply too tight, then consider getting book shelves and then installing them on the wall.

If you get them deep enough you can stack dishes, and all your cooking utensils on these book shelves, and then simply have a decent wooden table for working at.  It all depends on how much storage you need, but open shelves will work great in a rustic environment and it gets things off the floor and organized.

You can also try and find an old wooden long dresser, and fix it up with paint and new handles and then install a large piece of wood, butcher block style counter or a purchased countertop and attach it to the dresser top.  This would make a great work space for under those open book shelves.

If you have plumbing, you could get a plumber or yourself if you are handy, to take out the center drawer and cut out for a sink and the plumbing.  Get some high quality varnish and put lots of coats on the remaining wooden top.  This works quite well.  I actually had a setup like this in my own kitchen until we could swing putting in a new kitchen in a new house.  I had a plywood top that I painted to look like marble then put 10 coats of high gloss varnish on it.

It won’t last for ever but as long as you clean up spills right away, it lasted me a long time, and you can always touch up the varnish.

It all depends on the look you are going for.  If you have purchased an older home, maybe you could work with the kitchen already there and search out different door styles.  You can quite often find used kitchen cabinet doors at reuse centers and sometimes thrift stores.  Or simply go for a more open look with open shelves combined with a few closed ones.

If the budget allows, simply add a new countertop and fixtures such as new faucet and sink, and change out the cabinet hardware and it will look good as new for a fraction of the cost.  Purchasing used kitchen cabinets is also a great way to recycle.



Mar 18, 2012 6:41pm
Wonderful suggestions about buying used kitchen cabinets to refresh the kitchen in a cottage or home. I love the pictures. They are really helpful!
Jun 26, 2012 10:44am
Also, check out www.greendemolitions.com for used cabinets, appliances, etc.
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