November 11, 2009

The Three "R"s

This past weekend a friend and I visited a local Habitat ReStore to peruse the stock.

The visit was really just out of curiosity since neither of us had been there, but within 5 minutes she had already found a light fixture that could be transformed to fit in her entrance and I was perusing the stock of interior doors, kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures. All the way home I was pondering the possibilities of reuse for several items I found there - an interior french door that could be re-used as a closet door instead of those yucky hanging sliders - kitchen cabinet doors that could replace my current ones - etc....

While we were at Habitat ReStore we learned a little about the operation that deserves sharing. These people live and breath the Three "R"s. The stores are staffed by a combination of volunteer and paid staff. They sell donated used and new items, ususally focused on home improvement (construction materials, furniture, appliances, accessories) to the general public.

Our local Habitat ReStores make enough money from their sales to cover the overhead costs of running the local Habitat for Humanity operations. In fact, they make more than enough from sales, allowing them to donate to the home builds.  This means that every dollar you and I donate to Habitat for Humanity goes directly to the home build - ALL of it! Talk about a win-win situation! And when you add in the environmental gains by reducing the amount of land-fill by over 600 tonnes annually - we're talking win-win-win!!!

Personally, I find I'm thinking more about the Three "R"s - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle lately.  For quite a while I've been applying this in everyday life,
  • using metal cutlery, glass dishes and mugs at work rather than the plastic throw away stuff
  • saying NO to plastic water bottles
  • using fabric bags for groceries (of course I don't remember them until I'm halfway across the parking lot - sigh)
  • reusing plastic grocery bags for garbage and doggie walks
  • doing laundry and running the dishwasher only when I have a full load
  • turning off lights that are not required
  • donating unused clothing and household items to Goodwill
  • etc...
Recently though, I've started another recycling practice - updating previously loved furniture.  Of course this isn't a new practice - people have been doing it for years.  I remember my mother cutting an antique china cabinet in half (gasp), cutting the legs off the matching buffet (cringe) and combining the two to make a buffet/hutch, then painting it (what is she doing???) - with a beautiful re-purposed piece of furniture being the end product.  That was in the 70's - and people are doing more of it today.  Just take a look through blogland - there are sites and link parties dedicated to the refinishing, recycling and repurposing of furniture. 

Perhaps it's my foray into blogland that has lit this new fire within and my recently completed dining room table project  certainly fed the flames.  My very creative sister-in-law has certainly been an inspiration with her many beautiful projects that I wish I had pictures of so I could share with you (ahem - hint hint).

I now find I can't pass by a Salvation Army Thrift Store, Value Village, yard sales and even, yes even garbage day, without keeping the eyes peeled for that perfect piece of furniture that I can work my magic on and re-purpose.  I also spend a good portion of my blog browse time hitting posts with titles that include "DIY", "Thrift" and "Before and After", reading up on how those smart, resourceful and creative fellow bloggers are reusing, reducing and recycling.  Here are a few, that are just the tip of the iceberg...
So, in my quest for new projects, I've picked up this chair at Value Village for $14.99 that I will be painting.

Hubby - trying to outdo me (not that it's a competition), found a similar chair at a yard sale for $3.00 - and hasn't let me forget it since.

That's OK, we'll see who's laughing when I turn his chair into this .... he he he

I'm now scanning Kijiji, craigslist and similar sites for those special items that will become new family treasures!  Make sure you stay tuned for more of my Three "R"s to come!

What are you doing to practice the Three "R"s in your life?


  1. I'm with you, Donna. I'd love to visit the Restore, too, and I'm pretty sure I would walk out of there with something. I know many people have repurposed and reused things for years ~ before it was even the thing to do. I've got a few furniture pieces on my list that I'd like to tackle over the winter involving paint.

  2. That fuzzy pink & black chair is crazy!!!! I dare you to make one just like it ;-)

    ReStore is such a great idea -- it's good for everyone AND the Earth :-)

    I have four chairs and a round pedestal table from Kijiji that are awaiting their transformations. And I have a crazy idea for a dining room sideboard that involves silver spray paint...

    Overall, I know I could be greener. But I'm trying to do things to minimize my footprint. And after writing some articles about water last year, I've stopped pouring water from half-empty glasses down the drain. I either put the glass into the fridge to drink later, pour the water into the dogs' water bowl, or use it to water a plant. Just small things, but I hope they make a difference, even if it's tiny :-)


  3. Great post, Donna!
    I'm like you... I forget my fabric grocery bags in the car all the time!!

    And I'm crazy about the two chairs you and hubby found! They're fantastic, and perfect for a makeover!!

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting on my bathroom post. I'm really excited about the project!! Patti and I were at the tile store picking out the floor and accent tiles - they're great and I can't wait to share! I hope you'll drop by and see my updates (when I post them).

    Looking forward to your chair updates!
    Victoria @ DesignTies

  4. Hi Donna,
    Thanks so much for including my blog on your list.....I'll be re-doing a headboard this weekend so wish me luck.

    I LOVE the ReStore, we've bought a few things there and I always enjoy checking out what's "new". You should also check out the home consignment store on Bank St (near Walkley) I can't think of the name right now, but they have some great things (that's where I got the unloved headboard).

    Have a sgreat day.

  5. Hi Donna! Thanks so much for sharing the DIY Show Off with your readers! :)

    I wish we had a ReStore. I've seen so many great posts about it and it sounds like my kind of place. We're all about the three R's here with our farmhouse renovations.

    I'm new to your blog and a new follower - so I'm off to take a look around! Nice to meet you! :)



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