Saturday, September 15, 2007

Day Seventy-Two - ReStore-ing Faith in Humanity

Donating to and Buying From The Habitat ReStore

Our home is definitely a "DIY" kind of household. Hubby is a PM with a good-sized construction company and I've always had a "well how hard can it be?" attitude when it comes to home improvements. We own every hand and power tool known to man, and have duplicates of most. In fact, we even built a house - literally - in 2001, when we didn't feel like getting "real jobs" and decided start a residential home design/build business. So, needless to say, when it comes to ripping out walls, replacing tiles or installing new flooring, we almost never call a professional.

When we relocated to Richmond two years ago, we were lucky to find an affordable lease on a large house in a newer subdivision. The housing market was ballooning so quickly, though, that we immediately started looking for a house to buy -- before we could no longer afford it. Coming from Upstate New York where your average house costs $125,000, we experienced quite a bit of sticker shock when we found that houses in our neighborhood were selling for over $400,000. There was no way we could afford that kind of a mortgage, so we looked for something smaller, with a much smaller price tag.

Within a few months we had settled on a particular development that we liked. Great schools, walking trails, playgrounds and a small lake. We looked at a number of houses and finally picked one in a great location, but small, and with the strangest floor plan you'd ever see. We bought the house knowing that we would completely gut the interior, move the kitchen, redesign the floor plan, replace all the flooring, and install a second floor sewing room in what had been a two-story living room.

Needless to say, there was quite a bit of demo to be done. Everything from appliances to cabinets, fixtures and doors were being removed. Rather than see it all go into a debris dumpster (and have to pay dumpster fees), we called our local Habitat for Humanity to find our nearest ReStore.

For those of you who've never heard about this, here's a blurb from their site:

Habitat ReStores are retail outlets where quality used and surplus building materials are sold at a fraction of normal prices. Proceeds from ReStores help local affiliates fund the construction of Habitat houses within the community. Many affiliates across the United States and Canada operate successful ReStores—some of which raise enough funds to build an additional 10 or more houses per year.

Materials sold by Habitat ReStores are usually donated from building supply stores, contractors, demolition crews or from individuals who wish to show their support for Habitat. In addition to raising funds, ReStores help the environment by rechanneling good, usable materials into use.

Of course, since it's a donation to a charity, you also get a tax deduction for your donation. Bonus.

You can either take your items to the local ReStore, or, if your donation is large, give them a call and schedule a time for a pickup. It's a great alternative to Freecycling, if you don't feel like listing items and dealing with all the emails. You can also poke around and see if someone else's discarded ceiling fan is just the right size for your place. Often times, you can find unique fixtures, sinks and whatnot there, all at a fraction of the price of retail.

Hubby and now are no longer in the demo phase, (we're currently in the procrastination phase of re-construction) so we're not contributing right at the moment. However, we will continue to re-purpose our salvaged materials while at the same time contributing to a great cause.


Wow, at last count, one fridge, stove, dishwasher, washer, dryer, three doors, kitchen sink, disposal, fixtures, about half a dozen light fixtures and more stuff I probably can't remember. All saved from possible dumpster-death.

Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

I gave this one a "2" only because I am afraid of driving downtown by myself (can you say "wuss"?). However, I am saving our salvaged items in a corner of the garage and hope to work up the courage someday soon to go downtown. I'm dying to visit the Farmer's Market and check out the local food scene anyhow and while I'm down there I could stop by our ReStore to make a donation. Maybe if I just apply my "well how hard can it be?" attitude to inner-city navigation, I'll be ok.

No comments: