How To Shop Reuse

On our quest to making the shopping of secondhand remodeling material more accessible we’ve explored what reuse material is, why we should shop it, and where to find these treasures. Today, we want to focus on some tips to make you a pro at finding gems. We feel this is extra helpful in the vast network that is buying secondhand remodeling material. The exciting and fun thing about shopping reuse material is that one can unexpectedly find amazing pieces at bargain prices. However, the drawback to this is that it can also be very time consuming. Even though reuse material is better for your wallet, better for the environment and better for your community, it does have its drawbacks. Here we want to give you some tips to overcome these drawbacks. Now, you will not only save money, but also time and you will find the perfect pieces.

Plan ahead:

If you know the items that you are looking for, you can plan ahead before heading to the store. Some reuse stores usually post many of their items online. You can browse to see if any of the posted items match what you are looking for. If they do, then it is simply a matter of reserving it beforehand and just picking it up. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find what you are looking for on their website. Because reuse stores are busy, they don’t always put all their items online, so it is a good idea to also give them a phone call. Sometimes they will be extremely helpful and may even tell you if they have similar pieces to the ones you are looking for. We listed all the phone numbers of the reuse stores in the DMV area here.

Know when they restock:

Some places make donation drives where they get fresh items on specific days of the week. You can call to find out when this is and head to the store as soon as the truck arrives with all the goodies. This way, you ensure you have the best chance of getting your piece before anyone else gets to it. This also saves you time since you may even be able to see items as they are being unloaded.

Be ready for a stroke of luck:

The nature of reuse materials is that they are mostly unique pieces. This means that unlike a big box remodeling store, where they have a multitude of cookie cutter items, reuse stores usually only carry one of each. While this makes the shopping experience more fun, it is also frustrating. You never know when a piece you love may be in stock. We recommend shopping with your eyes open for items you may not have expected to find. Last time we went to Community Forklift, we were looking for a dresser for our bedroom. As we were browsing, we ended up falling in love with some lamps that had just come in and now they look beautiful on our nightstands.

Ensure it is the right piece for you:

One of the good things about reuse stores, is that they usually only accept things that are of excellent quality. This means that you can be sure the items you are buying will last. Still, if you want to be extra sure, it doesn’t hurt to bring your phone and look up the brand or style of the item you are thinking of purchasing. This way, you can make sure it is as valuable as you think it is.

It can be daunting to pick a piece when there are so many things all around. I have oftentimes found myself overwhelmed with the amount and variety of things at a reuse store. For this, we recommend you bring a picture of the room you are looking to decorate. This helps to balance all the different items with what you expect and want in your home. This is also a good time to think if you want to experiment with new pieces and new looks for your home. Also, don’t forget to bring a measuring tape and know the size of your room back home so you know the items you need will fit.


To sum it all up, don’t forget to have fun, and expect to come across some treasures when shopping reuse stores. To save some time, remember to browse online beforehand. Also call the store beforehand and know when new things arrive. Bring your phone and a picture of your room so you have a visual reminder of what you want. Finally, be excited to save some money, the environment and support your community!

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