Habitat for Humanity ReStore

So... Guess what I'm learning about this whole buying a house/moving situation? It is EXPENSIVE. We're talking, like, thousands of dollars. Can't I buy a house for $100 like I do in Monopoly? For real - I'm not even buying on Park Place or anything!

So, in order to lighten the load, it's important to shop around and find the best deals you can - think thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales and Craigslist. And if your options get exhausted through any of those platforms, you can always check out your local Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.

I had no idea the ReStore even existed until Eric mentioned it a couple months back. Here's how they describe themselves and what they sell:
The Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity ReStore recycles overstocked, discounted, new and used building materials donated by manufacturers, stores, contractors and individuals. The items are sold at a fraction of the retail price to the public. The ReStore helps fund Habitat’s mission of building affordable homes and is staffed largely by volunteers. The ReStore helped keep over 730,000 pounds of trash out of landfills in 2009.
Pretty cool, huh? And to make matters even better, last weekend the Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity ReStore was holding a huge Earth Day Super Sale - everything in the ReStore was half price! We weren't exactly sure what all we'd be able to purchase at the ReStore, but for those savings, we were willing to go find out.

When we walked in, I was surprised just how much was in the store - the large warehouse was filled with used furniture from slipper chairs to filing cabinets to wardrobes and more. There were kitchen appliances, a huge selection of interior and exterior doors, light fixtures, bathroom vanities, sinks, carpeting, laminate flooring, tools for painting, and all sorts of little metal nuts, bolts and all those things I have no idea what they're for. And while many things there were definitely donated for a reason, there were plenty of diamonds in the rough just waiting for someone to give them a home.

So, I'll admit, I have a weird thing for old doors. I love the shabby-chic look, and I love a good, beaten-up door that could be used indoors to create a special focal point in a room. There have been plenty of times I've seen an old door sitting on the curb that I wanted to load into my car and take home, but I was sure Eric wouldn't be up for that idea.

Until, when we were shopping last weekend, he said he loved the idea! I was so excited he was on board - and almost instantly, as I glanced over to the doors section of the store, I found this little treasure:

Now, remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All it needs is a good rinse from the hose and it will be perfect! I envision putting it in the little "seating area" of the master bedroom, and setting a padded, patchwork stool I've had for a few years next to it - a cute space for sitting down and putting on boots! Or something.... because everyone needs a "putting on boots" area of their bedroom.

I had a really fun time just seeing what all was available. Aside from some paint rollers and handles, paint brushes, paint trays and other necessities, we didn't really walk away from the store with a ton, but we did sae a lot - our total price was only $8.50! There were a few things that really caught my eye, but I had to walk away from - I simply couldn't think of a place in our house where they would fit!

Like this old mail slot organizer. I am a little more than obsessed with the idea of putting and old library-card catalog in my house, but the ones I've found online are grossly overpriced. This thing is the closest I've come to, for super cheap. I would love to top it with some reclaimed wood and use it as a side table or hallway table.... except it's a little too tall to be a side table, and a little too short for merely sitting on the ground. Plus, I'm not sure where it would go in our house. But if I do think of someplace, I'm definitely going back for this bad boy!

My most-coveted find was this mammoth work-bench-type thing. It was this beautiful, beaten-up seafoam green color, and I instantly envisioned it as a shabby-chic kitchen island. Except it has essentially the same square footage as our future kitchen - so obviously it was out of the question. Eric scoffed at my love for this table, saying it looked like a "rotting piece of junk." OK, sure, it's nicked and faded and worn, but I guarantee you a floor designer for Anthropologie would snatch this up in a second and use it to display sweaters and necklaces. My heart breaks that I'm not able to call this piece my own.

I also was strangely attracted to this chair. Actually, it was a group of these chairs - about 10 of them, priced at $10 a pop (but would be $5 each at the register because of the Super Sale). Again, they were a little worn, but they had great potential, and I kicked myself when I went back to look at them before we left and someone had already bought the entire lot.

I also had my eye on a couple of brass chandeliers that I'd love to spray paint a bold color and hang above our future dining-room table (which does not exist at the moment), but decided to wait until we're actually in the house to make that purchase. (Almost two weeks until closing!)

It was a fun adventure to rummage through everything they had. And, with all that was there, I think Eric's favorite area was the toilet section.

But, really, if you're looking for cheap, not-perfect items for your home, I'd definitely recommend checking out your local Habitat ReStore! Not only will you find items at huge discounts, but you'll also be supporting  a really fantastic organization - it's a win-win for all!

Do you have a favorite thrifty place to find cheap home goods? Aside from a new couch and love seat, I'm thinking the rest of our home purchases will be made mostly at thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets - I love the treasure hunt!


  1. That's pretty cool. I never heard of it - I'll have to check it out.

  2. jk south milwaukeeJune 3, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    wow, I was looking (in vain) for a wedding gift and don't know how the heck I ran across your blog. I am definitely going to check this store out! Thanks for the "tour" -- just sorry I missed the big sale last weekend. Oh, well, there's always next year!

  3. jk - I'd keep checking out their web site, as the ReStore has special "bonus deals" on different areas of the store every couple of weeks. I think they've got a deal on all doors and shutters coming up soon!


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