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Rebates at the ReStore

I promise it will become a bad habit.

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So we can assume that home remodeling plans have taken a dive, along with home purchasing plans and home selling plans. Home downsizing seems to be popular. For those whose dreams of a new home are dashed, there’s really only one thing to do — spruce up the interior of your crappy old one and pretend you moved somewhere else. If your pocketbook is especially light, head to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Tacoma or Olympia. I promise it will become a bad habit.

Habitat ReStores are retail outlets — like the home-improvement version of Ross, only better. The Tacoma ReStore, resting at 505 Puyallup Ave., sells used and surplus building material, furniture, electrical components, lighting, cabinets, paint, etc. It is entirely possible to refinish an entire bathroom for less than $200 with materials bought there. And it’s not crap. I’ve seen amazing hard-wood cabinets, bathroom vanities, solid mahogany doors, brass fixtures and other items that would make even the prissiest bobo (bourgeois-bohemian — you know who you are) click their heels with joy. The Olympia ReStore, 210 Thurston Ave. NE, sports 5,500 sq. ft. of retail space in downtown Olympia, and is stocked with everything you can imagine would find its way to a second-hand spot in the recirculation capital of the world.

“We have everything from nails to windows,” says Tacoma Store Manager Karen Rice. “We even have the kitchen sink.”

The ReStore is a green operation, and we all know how cool it is to be green these days. OK, it’s not really cool. But it’s probably a good idea. Most of what ends up in the ReStore would have ended up in a landfill somewhere.

“We’re not the throw-away generation anymore,” says Rice. “We want to recycle.”

The ReStore’s entire inventory is donated by customers, local demolition and reclamation operations, contractors, and retailers such as Lowes, which ReStore folk call “partners.”

You’re likely to see some nice, never-used floor models and surplus from your favorite home improvement center, only it will run you about half the original price.

Aside from saving money and knowing they’ve helped keep our local landfills from killing people in Graham (or somewhere in Oregon, depending on where its shipped), donators and shoppers can sleep peacefully knowing that they contributed to homes built by parent organization Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for people who are struggling to keep a roof over their head, all over the world.

Purchases at the ReStore go toward dozens of yearly projects in the Tacoma area. That’s right — all the money goes toward building affordable housing right here at home. Local chapters of Habitat for Humanity recently completed 14 houses at Reynolds Park in East Tacoma; partnered with local colleges, schools, and Lakewood's Promise to build homes for the Soriano, Potafiy and Thompson families; and partnered with the Tacoma Housing Authority to bring affordable homeownership opportunities to redevelopment of the Salishan neighborhood, also in East Tacoma. 

Rice and others at the Tacoma store were concerned that the recent implosion of our national economy would lead to a cut in donations. Fortunately for you, the second hand goodness just keeps on coming. And remember, donators get as much as they give.

“People that give get a donation receipt, and a tax deduction,” says Rice. “And all of our donations stay in Pierce County. A lot of people don’t even realize that when they donate, they’ve put a window in somebody’s home.”

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