The Three “R”s

November 11, 2009 | 0 comments

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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?


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