My husband has helped out at Habitat for Humanity during our church’s annual “Mission Blitz” for the last two years, but this year it was pouring down rain. So instead of going to a work site and putting his power tools to use, he ended up sorting through window blinds at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. If you haven’t heard of this place, you have got to find one and check it out.
Since then, we’ve come to know and love our Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and not just because the proceeds go to Habitat construction projects. For one thing, when J finally got me back there to look at a whole bunch of old-fashioned (i.e., second-hand) wooden window blinds that were a really great deal, we couldn’t find them with the other window blinds. After hunting for awhile, and nearly giving them up as sold to some other lucky soul, we found them piled near the door in the “FREE” bin. (“Cheapskate” is my middle name, after all.)
What makes ReStore even more appealing is that it’s right beside Fallmart (see this post for how I feel about Fallmart), so when we pull in at the light, I can glance over my left shoulder and say, “Take that, Fallmart! I prefer second-hand goods anyway–so there!”
That is my true nature coming out.
But the real reason I’m writing about ReStore is because (of course) of the odd little community we’ve gotten to know there. In the back warehouse section, which is not air-conditioned and super hot, the short older guy is the one who determines prices on the cabinets, if they aren’t labeled. The tall skinny older guy is the one who will price other knickknacks for you, writing the price on the bottom with a black Sharpie. The woman with long dark hair is really chatty–she likes licorice (a lot), knows the song ‘Goober Peas,’ and worries about the glass window out front breaking when folks play on the miniature Billiards set they’re trying to sell for $45. (However, she didn’t blame me for not knowing ‘Goober Peas,’ saying that it was “more her era” than ours, and J respectfully declined to point out that it’s actually from the Civil War, so she must look pretty good for her age. He told me that when we got back in the car.)
This random community will help you move big items into your car, squish them in even when you drive a teeny 2-door hatchback Focus, and is quite friendly all around. I like this place. You never know what you’ll find, kind of like a yard sale that you don’t have to wake up at 6 AM to get to in order to get the good stuff (though the prices are non-negotiable).
I need to mention one other perk of this fun place. In addition to a strange but endearing microcosm of community, we also came across their repository of old cabinets. Now, picture what it looks like to have stacks upon stacks of old cabinets that have been ripped out of kitchens, many of them from the same era as our current kitchen (no more of those needed, thank you). But what I find enticing about ReStore is that there are always little diamonds in the rough, if you’re willing to hunt for them.
We came across a light sea foam green set from the one of the best eras in cabinetry, as far as I’m concerned. I’d guess 50s or 60s, though I’m not sure, being more interested in style then in construction specs as I am. We saw them and were pretty sold on them, but left ReStore empty-handed (apart from three little Pyrex dishes and a guitar songbook we bought for A that included the chords to ‘Goober Peas’). We came home, measured, and then high-tailed it back the next morning. A few hours later, voila! Funky cabinets, extra storage space, and a snazzy shelf to house my cookbooks–what could be better than that?
Oh yeah, and along with the cabinets, we managed to find the exact kind of 1950s-era tile towel rack holder thing that had broken off and was missing from our downstairs bathroom. An exact match, down to the weird gold speckles.
See? This place is amazing.
This post first appeared on July 14, 2010.