DIY Savvy: Shop Recycled Building Supply Centers

In the continuing search for some DIY ideas, I came across some sound advice from Jessica Ward, who blogged these tips on

In many areas, Ward says not-for-profit recycled building supply thrift shops are readily available. Independent shops as well as branded shops like the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Shops serve areas throughout the United States.

Builders and individuals can receive tax breaks or green building certification “points” for the donation of materials from renovations or new construction. And individuals who purchase a new home often choose to upgrade their builder-stock appliances immediately.

Those homeowners donate the new “stock” appliances, typically getting a hefty tax deduction and free haul-away. Key technique: Watch these shops during large renovation projects of local apartment buildings, historical buildings, and demolition of multi-family housing projects.

If you need a specific item, check back often. According to Ward, best buys include appliances, antique fixtures, and “builder standard” items such as bright white outlet covers and builder bathroom vanities, cupboards and mirrors.

And if you are tackling a project, Ward also offered some great advice on tools. While a DIY project is great excuse to buy new tools, the purchase may not be warranted.

Ward’s tips on items to own include: Hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers, cordless drill. You may want to invest in a miter saw if you have a very large project involving trim work or crown molding, or if you do a lot of DIY projects.

She advises looking for used tools at Craigslist, pawn shops or yard sales. Or you can rent project-specific tools such as a table saw, skill saw, laminate cutter, tile cutter and air compressor.

These tools can be easily rented by the day or half-day from any home-improvement shop at a very reasonable rate. As an added bonus, most rental agencies give you a handy safety orientation if you’re unfamiliar with the tools.

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