A Fixer-Upper Date Night at the Habitat ReStore

Photo: Judy Berna

If you’re like me, you have a running list of house projects that need to be done. Sometimes finding the time to dive in is the problem. But sometimes finding the money can be a bigger project spoiler. That Home Depot credit card only stretches so far and once it’s filled up with light bulb and duct tape purchases, there’s not a lot of room left over for bigger ticket items, like bathroom vanities and new windows.

My husband and I don’t spend our date nights on traditional ventures, like going out to dinner or the movies. We head to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It’s the perfect place to plan the next big house project.

We’re lucky enough to have two in our area, so once we’ve poked around one of them, we head over to the other one. The beauty of this store is that it’s filled with second hand items that have been donated to Habitat for Humanity. If one of their house building projects has left over supplies, it hits the shelves of this store. When local contractors (and plain old do-it-yourselfers) are remodeling and have perfectly good supplies and fixtures that are no longer needed, they end up in this store.

What you end up with is a big warehouse full of everything from light fixtures to windows, and sofas to storage cabinets. One section is devoted to furniture and let me tell you, we’ve seen some great stuff show up there. Here’s a brand new looking outdoor tile table that unfortunately received a ‘sold’ tag before I arrived. I would have willingly paid the fifty dollar asking price on this set.

Photo: Judy Berna

The pile of tiles is one of my favorite areas in the building supplies section. Make sure you know how many you might need for your next job because you never know when you’ll find just the right color and size for that entry way or bathroom project.

Photo: Judy Berna

And don’t get me started on doors and windows. If you’re looking to replace only a few, this place has rows and rows to pick from. On our latest trip we saw two amazing (huge) sliding glass doors that already had sold signs on them. They went for $150 each. That’s significantly better than any deal you might find on a holiday weekend sale at Home Depot.

Photo: Judy Berna

We came home from our last date night with a nifty new shelf for displaying the growing collection of Lego creations that are threatening to take over our youngest son’s room. It’s sturdier than anything I’ve found for a reasonable price at the discount stores, and for a mere eight bucks, I was sold on it. Fortunately hubby was able to quickly disassemble it (with tools borrowed from kindly Habitat store workers) for an easy fit in our minivan.

Photo: Judy Berna

Habitat has a website where you can locate Restores in your local area. If you’re lucky, like we are, you can add it to your list of stops when running errands on a project heavy weekend. All the proceeds from the store go right back to Habitat, and building houses for needy families. So every time you admire your new sink vanity, instead of thinking about a credit card bill you’ll chip away at to pay it off, you can feel good about improving your own life, and the lives of other families too.

Just FYI, if you are into the whole idea of reusing the supplies that have already served some time on our planet, when you’re doing home projects, also do a search in your area for architectural salvage stores. We have one locally that is packed with amazing old windows, doors, clawfoot bathtubs, shutters, and so much more.

Photo: Judy Berna

Most of it was salvaged from historic buildings before demolition. The proceeds don’t necessarily go to charity on this one, but it is rewarding to use supplies that come with a history and would rather find themselves used in your home than in a pile at the landfill. Go ahead, tell me you couldn’t think of a fun way to decorate this holiday season with these whimsical shutters.

Photo: Judy Berna

It was all I could do to leave them behind for the next lucky soul who might come along.  Happy hunting and don’t blame me when you too become addicted to these great bargain stores for everything related to your home.

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