Garage Saling: Free Electric “Wood” Stove

The garage saling season is drawing to a close here in Wisconsin. We are due to get our first frost this coming weekend, and I am enjoying the final flush of fall garage sales before having to resort to a winter of cruising the thrift shops (which I consider way too expensive for most things).

I found some great bargains: vintage Mother Earth News magazines for 10 cents each, a pristine rotisserie grill for $5, vintage stationary (I have a weakness for fine stationary) 10 cents, insulated flannel shirt jackets for $2 each, hard- and softcover cookbooks for 25 cents each.

But you know, the best things in life are FREE!

I was garage saling in a nearby small town that a lot of people overlook—I always do well there. I had just paid for a miniature, decorative clawfoot ceramic bathtub for the bathroom counter that perfectly matched our newly installed Habitat ReStore sink and a large turkey candle for my growing turkey collection, when I spotted the little stove. It was set off to one side with a “free” sign on it. It was clean and bright and shiny. I love shiny things.

I asked the woman running the sale why it was in the driveway. She said the heating unit no longer worked. I replied that it was okay because I only wanted it for the beauty of its electric flame. (I’ll admit that I can be shallow at times!) I’d seen and coveted one of these pretty space heaters at a friend’s house. She hadn’t been using it to heat at the time, just enjoying the flicker of the “flames. “ I made a mental note to keep my eyes open for one of these little jewels.

I later found out that the heater was probably bought at a local big box home improvement store for about $100. It would have cost its previous owners some hassle (The manufacturer will only sell you a replacement part if you send them a picture of the stove first!) and $40 for a new heating unit and the expense of shipping it from Quebec, Canada.

I plan to put the stove in our guestroom/library space later in the year. We may even decide to fix it so it isn’t just a “pretty face.” Either way, I will get extra enjoyment from knowing that it was FREE! Begonia

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