Our MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers have a reputation for completing heavy hands-on projects. From building yurts to constructing their own boats, our readers aren’t afraid to sweat a little. But where do those building materials come from, and where do the leftovers end up? Your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore can help you find recycled materials for your next big project.
ReStores accept donations of building materials, furniture, plumbing materials, cabinets, lighting, doors and even large appliances such as refrigerators. These items are sold to the public, and profits pay for Habitat for Humanity expenses. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that builds homes for families in need.
Michele Johnson, manager of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Lawrence, Kan., has seen hundreds of donations cycle through her store since it opened in 2005. “There are normal building materials, but there are also unique items,” Johnson said. “We have regular customers that come in every few days just to look for them. Everybody comes from all aspects looking for different things, and they always seem to come in looking for one thing and leaving with something else.”
If you’re interested in donating building supplies or even a “unique item,” find your local ReStore (listings for Canada too) and give them a call or stop by. There are hundreds of stores throughout the country, and different ReStores hold different hours — some are open every day, some are only open one or two times a month. You can contact your ReStore and ask them how to donate. Most stores accept donations from individuals as well as businesses. All donations are inspected for quality.
ReStores sell tons of great supplies for household projects. At the one in Lawrence, I spotted some beautiful doors, scrap wood and molding, chandeliers, dishwashers and shelves. Before buying new supplies, consider stopping by a ReStore — you may be able to find similar materials for a much smaller price tag.
Johnson estimates that there are about 700 ReStores throughout the United States, and many of them are only able to run with the generous help of volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, you can call your local store or fill out a volunteer form at the Habitat for Humanity website.