Searching for home items at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore is like going on a treasure hunt. Round a corner in any of the many ReStore facilities across the country, and you might find elaborate wrought iron chandeliers, furniture, double ovens from the 1970s, fancy concrete sinks, and every kind of cabinetry imaginable.
All the items are donated, many are used, but everything has the potential for continued usefulness in people’s homes.
At the ReStore in Sand City, California, “It’s everything from Cro-Magnon to I. Magnin here,” quipped store manager Deanna Daff, who oversees sales of donated materials that range from doors and windows to appliances and fixtures.
Proceeds from the ReStore go to support the efforts of the various chapters of Habitat for Humanity International, which is well known for its efforts in building homes for people in need.
But not so many people are aware of the local ReStores, which in addition to raising funds for the chapters that run them, also save a wide variety of items from going to the landfill, and provide them to customers at reasonable prices. Items recently for sale at the Sand City ReStore included a nearly new Thomasville sofa for $125, a bathroom vanity with a sink and a faucet for $59, and a kitchen island for $85.
The items sold at the ReStore come from a variety of sources – contractors who have gutted a room to make way for new items, retailers who have to make space for updated inventory, as well as suppliers and individuals.
Carol Coates, vice president of Habitat’s Monterey County board of directors, said she’s often amazed at the high quality of the pieces that come in. It’s not unusual to see items that are practically unused, she said, which have been stripped out after a home is sold because the new owners want to put in something different.
“Those lighting fixtures were installed for the purpose of selling a house. They’ve probably been turned on twice,” said Coates, pointing out several modern-looking chandeliers.
Likewise, furniture and décor used for staging homes for sale comes to the ReStore after its duty is done.Donations are tax-deductible, and Habitat can provide pickup of large or heavy items.
Money raised by the ReStore helps with Habitat’s projects, which include building houses for low-income residents and helping them learn how to budget and handle home expenses. Internationally, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 400,000 homes in 87 countries.
Habitat’s homes are built with mostly volunteer labor, donated funds and materials, and then the homes are sold at cost to qualifying families. The family also contributes 300 to 500 hours of volunteer labor to the construction of their own home.
Some of the items that come into the ReStore are small and humble, like screws and door hinges, while others are large and grand, like fireplace surrounds and oversized china cabinets. Daff said many of the items are advertised on the Monterey Bay Craigslist; she recommends finding the listings by searching for “Habitat for Humanity.”
But some buyers simply make a habit of dropping by the ReStore regularly to see what’s new.
“Many people come in once a week to see what we have,” said Canada. “We have a lot of regulars.”
To find a ReStore in your community, see www.habitat.org for information.
Interviews with Carol Coates and Deanna Daff, May 2013