Buying Recycled: Twice as Nice

While picking materials for the Healthy Home Project, I’ve discovered a jewel in Fairfield, NJ: Green Demolitions. The store is a non-profit selling gently-used building products that would otherwise get tossed during a renovation. The showroom is expansive, and stocks everything from gourmet kitchens to lighting, furniture and bath fixtures. Proceeds support two drug and alcohol rehab programs in the area.

The store employs a small army of experts who help customers plan how to use their products in a new space.  Contractors and homeowners donate cabinetry, furnishings and fixtures in exchange for a tax donation receipt. The concept of “recycling luxury” fits just right.  I bought eight light fixtures in my first trip, and have been back numerous times, netting everything from air conditioners to custom drapes. I didn’t find the window shutters or screen door I was hoping for, so it’s essential to stay flexible when shopping this way.  It’s hit or miss, but most of the time it’s a home run at half the price of retail. 

Habitat for Humanity has similar stores called “ReStores” around the country:

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world. 

At places like this, it’s best to have all measurements on hand as Green Demolitions doesn’t allow returns except a few days’ allowance on appliances. Make sure it’s what you’re looking for, and take photos of items if needed.  On a busy Saturday, I was advised at Green Demolitions to remove the sale tags from items I wanted, or point them out to a salesperson to ensure they’re not taken by another customer. Most items are one-of-a-kind, and things can get kind of competitive when there are several customers vying for the same item. Happy shopping!

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