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ReStore Reuse: Wooden Pallets

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Written by Andy Duncan, ReStore Development

Reuse is the raison d’etre of the ReStore. Of the three “R’s” we’re all taught are crucial to environmental responsibility and green living – the “Reduce” part being heavily reliant on personal lifestyle change, and the “Recycle” part typically taken on by infrastructure – the Reuse component falls heavily on charity and thrift shops to make reusable donation available to the public and ReStore does so with categories of items most other thrift stores do not.

As such, we at the ReStore spend a fair amount of time imagining all the possibilities in the donations we get. Sure, most things donated and purchased at the ReStore will find use somewhere close to their intended purpose, but there are still plenty of things at the ReStore that with a little imagination can be utterly repurposed. The last time I posted on the blog, I was turning light fixtures into terrariums. That’s just one example of the myriad projects that can be found at your typical ReStore. Another employs one of the most abundant resources found at any ReStore: wooden pallets.

Being raw wood arrayed in an alternating pattern in two planes a few inches apart, there are a number of things pallets could be readily be used as, such as this one intrepid gardener who turned mostly-intact pallets into a trellis for raspberries. Another intrepid DIY-er used pallets to make a headboard for a king-sized bed.

 

Reclaimed lumber from pallets is most versatile, usable for anything that requires actual wood. But we did just get a large donation of decorative wall panels that are laminate with wood grain pattern finishes over composite wood material (see photo below!). This kind of material is less versatile than real wood, but has more design potential. We’ve been selling them several boxes at a time, and I’m excited to see what the DIY-ers who have been picking these up end up doing with them. The ReStore is the perfect place to find materials and inspiration for a DIY imagination.

A ReStore “Pinterest Unicorn”: Andy

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Written by Andy Duncan, ReStore Development Coordinator

At this year’s Habitat for Humanity Global Conference, I was able to speak with several other ReStore folks from affiliates across the country, and one of the topics that came up several times was the illusive “Pinterest Unicorn.”

For those who don’t know, Pinterest is a social media platform wherein crafty folk from all over can post and assemble pictures demonstrating the results of their hobbies. So the idea of donors and shoppers repurposing materials from the ReStore – turning vents into light fixtures, doors into garden benches, and lamp globes into planters – is an enticing and exciting one for us! At the conference we all mused and dreamed of such donors/customers bringing in picture after picture of their deft feats of re-use.

But in reality, we call them unicorns because, well, they are rare – perhaps even mythical. Not anymore! After myriad discussions with my peers and colleagues, I set off to not only find a Pinterest Unicorn, but to actually become one! I give you my new hobby: turning old light fixtures into terrariums.

It’s rather simple and inexpensive. First, you find the light you want to use – about $10 at one of our three ReStore locations. Next, remove the lighting parts; this is usually just a couple of screws undone with a wrench or two.

Then you needs some rocks (these are free, outside). Put a layer one to two inches deep at the bottom of your light fixtures for drainage. You will need some activated charcoal – this is pretty cheap in the aquarium aisle of your local pet store. Sprinkle a layer of this over your rocks for moisture filtration. Next place some moss – the kind that comes with hanging plant pots these days ($2 at a hardware store) – over this mixture. Then you need some dirt and sand, these can also be free but it’s recommended you get them free of earth-bound creatures who may not appreciate finding themselves trapped in a new glass house. Mix these together and fill a layer two inches on top of the rocks, charcoal, and moss!

Finally, you need some small moisture-loving plants. I’ve done well with ferns and certain types of succulents; ask your local garden center about these. You may need to cover and uncover the terrarium periodically to get the moisture level stabilized, letting water evaporate to lessen moisture level or misting to up the moisture level. And Voila! Do I have a rainbow horn coming out of my forehead yet?

Do you have a DIY project that can be created from ReStore products? Share a photo with us on our ReStore Facebook pages for Indy, Greenfield or Avon!

ReStore and the Giving BackPack: Andy

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At the ReStore, we do more than just raise funds for the Habitat mission and get our customers great deals on home improvement items; we also actively engage with the community. The ReStore is one of the most publically visible parts of our organization. The ReStore is open six days a week and has three locations, one in each county we serve – Marion, Hancock, and Hendricks. We certainly have our share of volunteer help from the community, but the ReStore space itself is more than just retail space, and most folks coming in to donate or shop may not realize this.

For example, the ReStore team is happy to be continuing a relationship we started last year with The Giving BackPack: a non-profit whose mission is to provide school supplies for students who can’t afford them. After qualifying by showing need from financial hardship, for a small restocking fee (about the price of a backpack), a student can get all their school supplies at no cost for the whole school year – up to four refills – through the program. I met with Cecil Collins, the CEO and founder of The Giving BackPack to discuss the partnership with the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

 You started this program in Merrillville; what lead to you bring it to Indianapolis?
“Yes, we started in 2011 in Merrillville, and I moved for my job and wanted to start it again here in my new community.”

 What impact have you seen so far in Indianapolis?         
“We’ve really come to understand there is a lot of need here in Indianapolis. It’s coming in on a school-based level. Currently, we’re serving two schools and it will only grow from there. We’re really going for notoriety now: trying to get our name and the mission out there as much as possible.”

How has the partnership with Habitat been?             
“Excellent. I couldn’t ask for more. Habitat has been open, accommodating, and overly-supportive. It’s easy, that’s it; it’s easy. I don’t have to worry about it, and the space at the ReStore is really perfect for our needs.”

What is the future of The Giving BackPack in 2017?         
“We’re doing a car raffle now; we’ll hopefully raise funds for the school supply pantry by the end of the year and be able to expand into more schools. The partnership between The Giving BackPack and Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity has been huge for families we serve, and being able to join in helping the families Habitat already serves has been an honor.”

We at the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity ReStore are proud to partner with other community-based non-profit organizations that further serve the Habitat mission by providing resources essential to homeownership, like quality education.

Learn more about The Giving BackPack and how you can apply for their program.

For more information about how the ReStore partners with other organizations and aids the habitat mission, “Like” our pages on Facebook and stay tuned to this blog.

 

Cabinet Company Finds Bedder Way

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High-quality, Unfinished Cabinets Available at the ReStore

Like many local companies, Bedder Way Murphy Bed and Cabinet Company has regularly donated cabinets to the ReStore over the past few years. Unlike most corporate donations, these cabinets are specifically made by Bedder Way for the Greater Indy Habitat ReStores to sell. While making their custom cabinets, Bedder Way ends up with excess of cabinet-grade plywood that doesn’t fit the measurement requirements for the company’s usual product. However, these pieces are large enough to make high-quality unfinished cabinets for the ReStore. These cabinets will show up on the sales floor of our ReStores every couple of months for purchase. They will make a beautiful addition to shoppers’ homes.

The ReStore appreciates donations from our many commercial donors. We are grateful for those partners who go out of their way to use their skills, resources, and expertise to give the ReStore, and ultimately Habitat families, a great boost. Discover how your business can partner with the ReStore by contacting Andy Duncan at 317.777.6078.