Do it yourself, don't keep it to yourself! A friendly story about reuse and ReStore

One of the best things about good friends is how well they look out for you. Take the story of Ashley and Alysia.

Ashley and her husband David just bought their first home in the Lents neighborhood in southeast Portland. As the couple set about shopping for furnishings, their focus was on keeping it local, sustainable and affordable. 

Enter Ashley’s good friend Alysia. (Full disclosure: Alysia works for Habitat for Humanity Portland Region.) She told Ashley about the ReStore and shared images of furniture pieces she found there. Wow! The ReStore?

Ashley had never been to a ReStore before, but the idea aligned with her plan to support reuse. So off she went to see what she could see at the ReStore, and, we might add, she had a very specific goal in mind: She was looking for a low-profile dresser. 

“We were looking for something with more drawers, and this had nine drawers,” she explained.
(Tip#1: Donations arrive all day long at all ReStore locations, so stop in frequently and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s in store.)

At the ReStore, Ashley and David found a couple of different dressers that had potential. But after a short debate, they decided on the one that suited them best. It had good bones, it fit their budget and it didn’t hurt that it also fit in their car. 

Things were starting to click!

“That was the most exciting part, it was $99!” Ashley exclaimed with enthusiasm.”We had been seeing dressers for a whole lot more.”

But wait, it gets better. 

At check out, they had another big surprise. Based on the color of the price tag, the dresser they had chosen was now 75 percent off the sticker price, bringing the cost down to under $25. 

(Tip #2: Find color-coded price tag discounted goods throughout every store. What’s the discount amount? Check our discount signs posted at the front of the store and in key areas.)

Ticking off the boxes

“One of the goals that I have during the pandemic is–knowing the hardship that everyone is having–I’m trying to buy local, supporting local craftsman and I felt even better supporting the ReStore instead of getting it new someplace like a big box store” she said.

The ReStore is big into reuse. In spite of the 2020 pandemic, ReStore donors, customers and staff helped to divert 6,133 of reusable goods and materials. We also raised $67,878 from recycling donated metal, clothing, paint and other materials. Funds raised from the sale of donated goods support local Habitat for Humanity Portland Region and Evergreen Habitat for Humanity home-building programs.

Ashley grew up in a 100-year-old house, so she had a few home improvement and craft projects skills in her wheelhouse. She put those skills to work refinishing and customizing her new acquisition. 

First, Ashley and David lightly sanded the whole dresser, then they spray painted it a flat charcoal grey. 

(Tip #3: When using spray paint to refinish furniture, make sure to apply several light coats, letting the item dry completely before reapplying. Check the can instructions for time.)

Saving so much on the purchase of her dresser, Ashley splurged a bit on new knobs. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. The design of her dresser required three different size drawer pulls, 11 in all. To find just the right ones was a bit challenging, but take a look at the amazing end result! 

And Ashley is pretty pleased to have found the ReStore, thanks to her good friend Alysia. 

(Tip #4: Telling your BFF about ReStore will earn you lifelong creds, so go ahead and share!)

“I didn’t realize all this great stuff was [available at the ReStore], I was in a one track-mind to get what we wanted, but I’m definitely going to check it out in the future for other things I’m going to need!”

(Tip #5: Wonder what to look for when considering a furniture makeover?

Look for solid construction, and remember to inspect the back and sides.
Drawers with dovetail joints earn extra points, but check that all drawers also glide smoothly.
Sometimes it only requires a bit of wax or light sanding to get them moving nicely. 
If some drawers appear to be stuck, it may be that they were put in the wrong slot. Move them around to see if another position works better.
If an item needs to be reglued, are you up to the task?
New drawer pulls can completely transform a piece, like Ashley’s dresser. 
Some refinishing and upcycling projects can be a snap, others are more complex- consider your own skill level and available time and space needed to complete the project.
Doing it yourself can be hugely rewarding, so enjoy each step in the process.

Now it’s your turn to make a few discoveries. Whether you’re into eclectic, industrial, traditional or antique, you’ll find something that ticks off all the boxes at ReStores in Portland, Beaverton, Gresham and Vancouver. We’re open for donating and shopping 10-6 Wednesday through Monday. Bring a friend!



READ MORE: DIY projects how-to’s

Portland ReStore 
10445 SE Cherry Blossom Drive

Beaverton ReStore
13475 SW Millikan Way

Gresham ReStore
610 NE 181st Ave. at Glisan

Vancouver Habitat Store
10811 SE 2nd Street

ReStore Online

Open 10-6
Wednesday through Monday
(Closed Tuesdays)

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