Going Green While Saving Green

One of the hardest things I’ve come across in my own home renovation is the struggle between “going green” as much as possible and staying within a reasonable budget. Much beyond buying green cleaners and recycling everything under the sun, it’s really hard to make the greenest choices without the other kinds of green — money — to back it up.
However, this past week I think I may have found a way to not only be greener in our renovation, but to save money too.
It all started with a friend of mine who also bought an old house to rehab. She and her contractor boyfriend were telling me and my husband about a place connected with Habitat for Humanity — called the ReStore.

It was a place where people can donate their unused or salvaged home materials, and then are sold to the public with the proceeds going towards the local chapter of Habitat. She picked up a sink there and said you could find some gems if you weren’t afraid to get your hands a little dirty and dig.
Then, while telling my mom about the ReStore and my desire to check it out, she told me that our local St. Vincent dePaul chapter had a annex on their thrift store called the Demolition Depot — where people go into old homes about to be demolished and save as much of the usable ammenities of the home (we’re talking down to the windows, the doors, the millwork, and even the staircases) and resell them to the public to benefit their charity. That’s where I took the above photo — it’s of one of several three-foot tall piles of salvaged hardwood flooring, for sale at roughly $1.50 a square foot.
I was shocked and thrilled — maybe we would be able to do hardwood in our upstairs bedrooms after all, since we have to refinish all the existing hardwood anyway. A buck and a half a square foot is probably cheaper than any other alternative we’d come up with. And, it’s green to boot — no trees being harvested so I can have nice floors, AND I’m helping an honorable charity at the same time! It’s a win all around!
I ended up walking away with a vintage porcelain pedestal sink for $50 for our bathroom addition plans, and lots of ideas on how to best utilize these home-themed thrift shops throughout my renovation. I’m so glad I took the time to find such great places and dig through them, and I plan on doing so again soon. I’d highly suggest researching your area for these kind of thrift shops for your next project — you never know what you could find, and for every item you donate or dollar you spend, you’re keeping things out of landfills and helping others in need. What could be more green than that?

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