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What We Did With Our Perfectly Usable Kitchen Cabinets And Appliances From The Farm

When we first bought the house we were going to leave the kitchen as-is. They were in really good condition – not original to the house but from the ’90s and good quality (still over 30 years old… isn’t that nuts!). When we decided to move the kitchen into the living room we were going to keep the bank of cabinets below as a large pantry/mudroom. But the more we pictured our lives here, the more we realized that to have the layout and flow that we wanted, we would need to kinda start all over and have more flexibility with the kitchen footprint.

There comes a point where you realize you are going to be spending so much money doing the renovation that not getting the kitchen you want feels dumb. But the kitchen cabinets were so nice and I did not want them in a landfill. So instead of demo-ing them out with our demo contractor, we paid ARCIFORM to painstakingly remove them in-tact so that they could be repurposed somewhere else. Thank you, Jamie 🙂

Once in the garage, we thought about moving them to the new mudroom, but functionally they weren’t going to meet our needs as much, and they didn’t fit size-wise so we would have had to cobble them together or move some walls. All doable, but I feared that we would be annoyed long-term. Forcing this was likely not going to get us the results that we want.

SO HOW DO YOU KEEP GOOD STUFF OUT OF A LANDFILL?

So first off – again you need to be very careful removing anything that you want to salvage (and some stuff is very hard to – like flooring and tile). If you aren’t careful, it’s unusable. Next – research your area to see if there is a used building supply resource. I heard about The Rebuilding Center in Portland by literally walking by it on Mississippi and immediately knew it was a great solution – not just for our cabinetry but for any of our appliances that were older, but still totally functioning. We reached out and were so impressed with the whole organization and honestly so relieved to have this option.

What Does The Rebuilding Center Do?

  1. They sell usable building supplies at an extremely affordable price in hopes of updating homes that don’t have a large remodel budget.
  2. While anyone can shop there they are creating a grant program so that lower-income families can apply and have preference. The goal is democratizing home design (as the renovation process is just so expensive), and helping people to update their homes to have more generational wealth. We love this very much.
  3. They have classes to train and educate people how to fix up their own homes (carpentry, electrical, plumbing and wall framing, etc) – a lot of people can lose their homes because they fall into such disrepair and are full of code violations. So by teaching people how to do basic maintenance they are helping add value to their homes long term.
  4. They’ll come to your job site and remove the usable building supplies (again, not junk – it has to be usable) or any overages you have. It was an extremely easy process for us (they want me to point out that it is much more streamlined than it used to be).

It’s pretty awesome and the people that run it are so lovely and really thinking big picture and long term.

our old range, washer, dryer!

How Much Do They Sell Things For?

They make it very, very affordable. Our cabinetry was in really good condition and they sold the whole lot for $950 and it sold immediately. It makes me SO happy to know that they went so quickly to a home to be rebuilt and used (They are trying to track down the buyer so we might see it in their home when it’s installed). They bought the entire set (including the soapstone) which warms up this heart.

and soooo much lighting

Now you do need to get your items approved before they come to pick up – they aren’t a dump and they are being more selective now to make sure that the inventory is full of usable pieces. But they did say that there are things people think are unusable but actually aren’t. So getting them to come out and let you know what is good is a great idea.

But if it’s in good, usable condition they’ll take doors, windows, wood, leftover tiles, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, sinks – all of it. Some of it is cute and vintagey and others are just boxes of subway tile for $5.

y’all it’s huge
look at these tubs!

They actually had some super fun doors and windows, which might be hard for a full remodel, but if you are just wanting to say add a window (even an interior one) they had some good ones.

That was my fridge – not sold yet – but all the rest of the appliances went immediately so I didn’t get a photo of them in the store.

My goal with this is to bring awareness to this awesome non-profit and help people understand a WAY better option than just sledgehammering out perfectly usable building supplies. I was honestly so relieved when I heard that our cabinets when immediately to a family’s home. But listen, demo crews aren’t gentle and they are paid to be fast and basically just destroy everything. So doing it in a thoughtful way will be more expensive, but for us, we felt like it was our responsibility to ensure that these could be used and appreciated by others as well as stay out of the landfill. While the renovation process is still full of so much waste, having resources like The Rebuilding Center is incredible. They calculated that they kept 700 tons of materials out of the landfill last year. Incredible!!!

Calling Oregon Building Material Partners

I also want to help them get more commercial partners – i.e. more local companies that can donate deadstock supplies that are in really good condition, or overages. They already work with Rejuvenation and Pratt + Larson, but if you are a local Oregon or Washington building supply company (could be flooring, molding, windows, tile, siding, plumbing – anything) they are SUCH a lovely place to donate to (and of course its a tax write-off).

We even had some fun ideas on future collaborations – like pairing the families up with a design intern from the local design schools to help them with their projects. The future designer can get some real-life hands-on experience, and the family who likely doesn’t have the budget for a designer (because so few people do) can get some support and help with the remodel process (and I could oversee it and be of additional support). We also talked about how there is a real need for handypeople these days so it seems like a training program to help teach people the basics would be beneficial to the job market.

So moral of the story is that if you are renovating, do as much as you can to reduce your waste. It may cost a little more but if you can afford to, it’s the best thing to do. There are lots of places like this all over so with a little google search you can do A LOT of good. Happy salvaging. xx

For those wanting to know more about the Rebuilding Center specifically (they are awesome so please check them out) here are a bunch of great resources:

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Vera
2 years ago

Emily!!! ❤️ Thank you so much for using your resources to avoid waste, and for using your platform to highlight this incredible non-profit. Their inventory looks awesome, I’d be delighted to shop there!
What a wonderful, wonderful post.

HerselfInDublin
2 years ago

I love this. When I was renovating I put several items on a Freecycle-style site and people took away things that weren’t valuable enough to sell on but that would have cost me money to dispose of. I gave away a back door, a large window, a kitchen sink & cabinet, a radiator and an entire bathroom suite. (I just had normal builders and they were careful enough that everything was intact and reuseable). Several of the people who took things, unprompted, told me what they were using them for – one woman was setting up a utility room in her garage (she took the kitchen sink and cabinet), and another man was building a shed in his garden (he took the back door and window). I was surprised how lovely it was to know what kind of homes the pieces were going to. The bath of the bathroom suite was a non-standard, shorter length to fit the small bathrooms in my (common here) style of house so they have to be special ordered and getting one second hand in good condition would be really worth it to the people who took it. (PS – if you’re ever selling a… Read more »

Loveley of @lovelyloveley
2 years ago

i was coming here to say everything you just said (except that tip at the end – that’s a good one), but you said it perfectly. i absolutely love this. this is how we get rid of ANYTHING we are replacing/changing if the old version is usable at all, we give it away for free. it disappears almost immediately and you don’t have to do any hauling. people will pick up anything usable and it’s so nice to know it’s going to be reused by someone that’s happy to have it instead of clogging up our landfills even more. also, i love when people that pick up the items tell me how they’re going to use them too! makes me happy. 🙂

🥰 Rusty
2 years ago

Yesss! I love this – I donated a 1950 stove to a 50s collector. Yes, maybe I could’ve sold it, but the guy’s passion! It’s in his home now.

🥰 Rusty
2 years ago

Fabulous stuff, Herself!😀

Loveley of @lovelyloveley
2 years ago

love this so much. thank you for saving those gorgeous cabinets. when you first showed us the house, that was my favorite part. and thank you for highlighting how people can save usable materials and not let them go to landfill.

Emily
2 years ago

This is awesome!
We have something similar in our area called the ‘Restore’. My mom re-did her kitchen a few years ago and all her old kitchen cabinets went there and were re-used.

2 years ago

Emily! This such a lovely thing to do. This seem like an incredible organization. Thank you for bringing such good and beauty to the world! I’ll admit that this post brought a little tear to my eye :).

Amanda
2 years ago

Habitat for Humanity ReStores do this too. We have them in Northern California. So great!

Carrie
2 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Yes, that was my thought also. We have bunches of Habitat ReStores around here in Ohio also.

MJ
2 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Same here, we have them in AZ. I think they might be a little less selective than this, which could be good or bad depending on what you are looking for!

Kim
2 years ago
Reply to  MJ

They are here in Colorado and we also used them in Philadelphia when I used to live there

Katie
2 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Yes, we have a bunch in MN. I think they are all over the country, including OR.

Karina
2 years ago

This is so great! It always make me cringe when the HGTV shows take such utter GLEE in “demo day” when they are demolishing otherwise usable goods that are now going straight into the Mother Earth. Thank you for sharing this incredible resource.

Kj
2 years ago
Reply to  Karina

Yes! It absolutely sickens me to watch. HGTV (and any other networks) need to get with the times and ban that wasteful practice. Even if the cabinet boxes are trashed the doors, wood, hinges, hardware etc… can be reused.

Carrie
2 years ago
Reply to  Karina

I’ve noticed on a couple shows they’ve mentioned “these cabinets are in good shape so we can donate them” but Kj has a good point about the hinges, hardware, etc.

🥰 Rusty
2 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

True “Hometown” reuses things often.

Heidi
2 years ago
Reply to  Karina

It especially irks me with granite or other stone. It’s a limited supply!

Celia Montgomery
2 years ago

This is awesome. My mom answered a Craigslist ad, and bought all her kitchen cabinets and some countertops from a family that was renovating their kitchen in a wealthy neighborhood. Mom paid to have the cabinets removed and re-installed in her kitchen. The cabinets were only 3 years old, so she was also able to find a matching cabinet to use in her adjoining laundry area. Mom’s complete kitchen Reno was only $12,000 including cabinets, counters, tile, new stove, paint, floors and labor. It looks custom. She could never have afforded it without that Craigslist ad. She also sold her old cabinets on Craigslist and they were purchased by a landlord who was fixing up an apartment complex. So nothing was wasted! So glad that organizations are making this work for other families too. I love the Habitat for Humanity thrift store in our area.

🥰 Rusty
2 years ago

Aaaah, and 5tge good stuff just keeps on coming! Yaaay!!!🤗 I love this! “democratizing home design” … very, very cool concept. When I see “demo days” on TV, I cringe at the oftentimes massively wasteful practise of smashing to look macho. Like, really? When I restored this ol’ girl, she had a glazed tile roof, but the decorative finials were gone (?). I went to a salcagd yard and bought some matching ones (which sutprised me coz the glaze wasn’t common) for just $10 each! When they were instslled, I said out lpud “Now the ol’ girl has some flowers on her hat.” (Yes, I ralk to my hpise sometimes!🤣) It looked complete. The roof is now colourbond, but I made sure the finials were carefully removed. They currently live in my shed for now, because I’m taking them back to the salvage yard in the hopes of swapping them for something I can repurpose. (I wouldn’t mind a dilapidated pedestal sink as a birdbath) Everything old can be new again, if care is taken during the removal process and you think outside the square. I think that ‘house parts’ are similar to used clothing in that not everything is… Read more »

HerselfInDublin
2 years ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

“Now the ol’ girl has some flowers on her hat.”  Love it!
(And I talk to my house too, albeit in less literally flowery language. I just tell it I love it every day when I go out.)

🥰 Rusty
2 years ago

🌻🌺🌷

Julie T
2 years ago

Awesome post. Many cities have a local Habitat for Humanity Restore – in Sacramento we have 3 here or very close by. I recently bought a $2000 brand new bathtub for under $200, as well as lighting fixtures, lumber, primer paint, furniture, and more. Many of these items are donated by local and larger businesses, like bathroom supply shops and Joybird furniture.

Another great way to connect with local people to offload and acquire cool stuff is a local Buy Nothing group on Facebook. I’ve given SO much away over the years and also scored some great finds. You can even post “in search of” something and can often find it – everything from diapers and food, to services, to rides to the airport, to building and home supplies and furniture. I’m a BIG fan!

Laura
2 years ago

One of my very favorite places on earth.

Lauren Schlicht
2 years ago

Habitat for Humanity has restore in many cities. Found a whole kitchen for a friend’s house. I checked CraigsList for cabinets for a small rental. Got some solid 60’s cabinets. Even had a medal with designer’s name. Renters love the retro looking kitchen

2 years ago

Gosh, I’ve only driven by it – but now I know I have to go in and check it out. I’ve tried donating items to our local ReStore store and they refuse some many things!! I had a perfectly good L.L. Bean full size iron bedframe that they wouldn’t take! Crazy!

kiki
2 years ago
Reply to  Diane

stores like the Rebuilding Center and ReStore typically don’t take furniture. It’s more for “permanent” elements of the home. (like cabinets, windows, doors, light fixtures, appliances, etc). Not that they never do, it’s just rare. you might be better off donating to a Goodwill or the Union Gospel Mission Thrift Store. OR! there’s this really great non-profit in town that helps people transition out of houselessness and they furnish houses / apartments for them. It’s called Community Warehouse and is a great option!

BW
2 years ago
Reply to  kiki

Every ReStore I’ve been to takes furniture – our local one is a gold mine. I would caution people not to rule it out!

Deb
2 years ago
Reply to  BW

I agree BW. Our two local Restores are gold mines for used furniture. One is near our beach towns and those out of state owners refurbish all the time and much of the stuff they give to Habitat looks brand new.
I replaced the stained glass hanging light in my dining area when I first bought my house and took it there and it was gone two days later when I returned with ten door knobs.
Every time we go to the beach my sister insists on stopping to see what’s new.

Michelle
2 years ago
Reply to  kiki

My local Habitat Restore sells more furniture than anything else. I think they need to do a better job of marketing and building relationships with the nearby big box stores and all the little home improvement stores nearby to get more building/remodel donations going. I might talk to them about creating a flyer that they could leave at the stores so that when people shop for remodel services they can be made aware they can donate their used stuff.

Ellen
2 years ago

umm ive got my eyes on that pink tub!!!

2 years ago
Reply to  Ellen

I’m an Ellen too and I agree, that tub (Valentines Day tub) sings!

Lisa
2 years ago

SO AWESOME!!!!

Crissy Perham
2 years ago

Really thankful for this business and that you took the time, money and effort to donate your items! I really love the idea of the classes to help others with maintenance and teaching them how to love their homes which helps everyone in the long run. Thank you to everyone involved!

Lauren
2 years ago

So SO happy to see you sharing this story.

The amount of waste that goes into renovating is really ming boggling – I live in a neighborhood that has become quite fancy over the last decade and literally every house on my block has gone through massive renovations as the homes change hands. One of our (lovely) neighbors turned their lovely shingled home into a mediterranean home to better suit their style – I want the new families to be happy in their homes but it also makes me so sad to see good usable high quality resources thrown in a dumpster.

Suzanne
2 years ago

I love this! We are in the planning stage of our kitchen remodel, and I hope to donate the old cabinets. However, I just checked my local ReStore, and I don’t think my cabinets qualify. They need to have all the hardware, and I plan to use the pulls and knobs in my new kitchen. When we moved into our house 15 years ago, we did a basic refresh of the 1980’s kitchen by painting the cabinets and adding new hardware. The hardware is the same as what I’d choose today, so I thought I’d save money by reusing it. The other problem is that my ReStore says it doesn’t take custom cabinets, and I think my old cabinets are custom. I can see why they might not work for many kitchens because of the configuration. I’ll probably contact them to see if they can verify for me or try listing them for free on Craigslist. I imagine that different cities have varying influx of inventory, so they may limit what they take. I also need to find a place that takes old appliances to recycle. I have a broken over the range microwave, a gas stovetop with an igniter… Read more »

Carrie
2 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne

This may be because of where I live, but I put an old built-in oven out on my curb and someone with a pickup truck full of old appliances picked it up within a few hours. Same thing with an old dead lawnmower.

Suzanne
2 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

Thank you, Carrie. I think our garbage service has a large item pickup option, but I guess I was wondering about the likelihood of the items getting recycled in some way. I guess I’ll look into what the city does after items are picked up.

Nora
2 years ago

Thank you for using your platform to lift up the Rebuilding Center! They are so awesome and I know the pandemic has been hard on them. Love to see them getting recognition for all the great work they do!

2 years ago

Yes! A good story to hear. It’s awesome that they are teaching skills too. We live remote so many folks here DIY versus shipping in new- and Craigslist etc are common. However, it’s so nice to have an actual shop/warehouse with choices in-person! For us, it’s worth a road/mini-vacation to go a more populated area vs shipping.

Hannah
2 years ago

This is so cool! What a wonderful way to reduce waste and support your community!

emily jane
2 years ago

Just wanted to say that seeing you standing in front of one of my favorite home-town haunts makes me inexplicably giddy : )

Vishakha
2 years ago

I tried so hard to do this when we demo’ed our kitchen but due to the COVID restrictions found next to no rebuilding type places that would take our cabinets. Finally, our contractor gave away the old windows and appliances and furniture to his crew that took them and used them in friends and family projects. I wish it were easier to give these away

Aimee
2 years ago

A little north of Portland in Tacoma and Seattle we have Second Use with a similar mission. Highly recommend. I myself bought a second hand bathroom — vanity, faucets, sconces, Toto toilet, the works and realized that it was from Rejuvenation! I got it all for $300 and the faucet alone retailed for 4 figures.

priscilla
2 years ago

Good on you and everyone involved with recycling materials.

Daniele Baker
2 years ago

Love this! I recently discovered an architectural salvage store on the North Shore of Boston that I CAN’T wait to go visit so that we can replace many of the historical details that were previously stripped from our craftsman bungalow. Their instagram is delightful!

https://www.instagram.com/noreast1/

2 years ago

I am in the process of remodeling my kitchen now and we carefully removed the old solid oak cabinets also. I sold all of them them together with the old dishwasher for $500 on craigslist. So happy to see them get a second life instead of going into the landfill! If I had not received a buyer from craigslist, I was planning on donating them to Habitat for Humanity.

Nora
2 years ago

The Rebuilding Center is like the ReStore on steroids. Portland has several ReStores (and one close to SW Portland in Beaverton). Glad to see these type of stores promoted and so excited to hear about potential collaborations and education programs. Anything we can do to avoid landfills is worth it.

2 years ago

Emily, I had to laugh at the photo of all the sconces on the shelf! That is very very familiar to me. Hats off to you for finding a local resource. I work with greenGoat, which is in the Boston area, and I speak from experience … the amount of planning that goes into uninstalling, transporting, cataloguing, describing, and promoting can really only be justified if one loves their job. It’s a great feeling to know that your kitchen lives on in another home, doesn’t it?
After twenty or so years in the biz, I’m glad to see it evolving through people like you! Seeing the value in gently used items, some of which are better quality than currently available, is a blessing. I hope you also scored someone _else’s_ cool stuff to put in your space! Adds character, and (as we know) is a very very good story!

Elise
2 years ago

I’ve utilized this resource extensively over the years for everything from a standing armoire for a tiny cottage, to trim for a newly finished basement, lighting, replacing broken hollow-core doors (omgosh, finding 6 matching 6-panel doors for $120 felt amazing!) and even once matching the existing vintage cabinets for a small historic kitchen expansion. Other areas may have similar stores run by Habitat for Humanity (in Montana, for example, they’re called The Restore). Great job highlighting that one person’s demo can be another person’s treasure. Access to gently used materials can be the only thing that makes a low-budget project possible. Thank you for making someone else’s kitchen awesome.

MJ
2 years ago

Love, love, love this. Thank you for telling us what happened to these beauties and for taking the time to be thoughtful about their fate. It’s so nice to see a design site being responsible about materials and using your platform to promote this great resource. Also am weirdly invested and excited at the possibility of seeing the home they ended up in…!

A.B.
2 years ago

Terrific business concept, hope it catches on nationwide!

Kayla
2 years ago
Reply to  A.B.

I work with women coming out of difficult situations and see a plan coming together!!!!!
Does anyone know of such places in Washington DC Metro of Philadelphia/metro – Pa? That questions is for me. I’m moving and have much to give in both the current house and the new one!

Nan
2 years ago
Reply to  Kayla

Kayla: Check out the Community Forklift in Hyattsville and Second Chance in Baltimore.

alexa
2 years ago

So glad you found one of these places! We have a few in the Chicago area and it warms my heart to know your unwanted but great condition materials can find a new life with someone else. Totally agree with the other posters that it’s sad when renovators (or renovation shows) just rip everything out and throw it in a dumpster. Yes, “careful demo” is an added cost, but in a lot of cases things can be salvaged without too much of an extra hassle. And think of how happy someone else will be with their “great find”!

Jody
2 years ago

We are DEEP into a whole home remodel and have given at least 25% of the houses current items to Habitat for Humanity Restore in Northern California. They were so easy to work with, came and picked everything up on time and gave us a donation receipt. My husband wanted to try and sell some of the appliances but I felt like donating them was the best option – good karma, which you need when you take a house down to the studs!

2 years ago

I absolutely adore the ReBuilding Center, and I’m go glad you are giving them so much love and exposure! I’ve bought so much good stuff from them over the years. Most recently, it was a solid wood door for $25 that I used to replace one of the only hollow-core doors in my house. And last week I built some craft supply organizers with wood from there. Whenever possible, it’s the first place I check for supplies for miscellaneous projects around my house. I’ve been wanting to try one of their classes for a while now.
For people mentioning that their local versions of salvage shops or ReStores won’t take furniture, try the Buy Nothing app. It used to be Facebook only, which I don’t have, but they have an app now, and I just used it to give away a perfectly nice bedframe that I didn’t know how I was going to get rid of otherwise. It was great to know that it was going to a home where it would be used. So many thrift stores end up trashing stuff, so whenever possible, it’s nice to be able to share with others directly.

Reanna
2 years ago

Kudos to EHD for walking the walk! You set out some goals a few years ago about awareness and action, and this post is exactly that, come to life! I’m grateful to have the information – I didn’t even know something like the Rebuilding Center even existed, and I’m loving their mission. FANTASTIC post.

Purple Wolf
2 years ago

Yeah! I was at the Rebuilding center this weekend looking for a vanity (didn’t find one…yet) I saw a lot of the stuff in these pics! Portland area is great for architectural salvage! This post is awesome- I love a good remodel, but all that stuff is the landfill is a nightmare.

Monique Wright
2 years ago

Also – another option! I’ve had clients donate their cabinets to Habitat for Humanity. HFH will actually come to your home and take out the cabinets (at no cost to you) to reuse in the homes they build. I love being able to reuse perfectly good items for others! ❤️

Roberta Davis
2 years ago

I love this so much! Thank you for, again, being the “good human”!

Heidi
2 years ago

You know we were worried! Thanks for promoting this type of business, and this one in particular, which sounds amazing.

Stephanie
2 years ago

I work a block away from the Rebuilding Center, and wish I would have stopped in while you were there! Would have made my day!

2 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info with the how-to’s!!!! It is so appreciated!!!

Angela
2 years ago

A friend is remodeling an old historic mansion. She got all her kitchen cabinets for a few hundred dollars from someone who was remodeling their house and didn’t want to just throw their old cabinets away. She said everything fit perfectly!