Ask a ReStore shopper what keeps them coming back, and you’ll often hear that our aisles are full of unique finds – for a great deal. But what do you do when you find something fantastic in the furniture section, but it’s not quite to your taste?
Maybe it’s an oak dresser in just the right size, but it doesn’t suit your room’s look. Or a maple end table that needs a bit of TLC.
Rather than walking past that ReStore find, think about how you can give it a new life or maybe even a new purpose! But how do you refinish furniture? The answer is what sparked our 2022 Earth Day ReClaim Clinics! On Saturday, April 23rd, ReStore offered clinics at all three ReStore locations, starting in San Jose, on to Oakland, and then out to Concord. Led by Gus from our Playhouse Program, attendees learned all the basics of how to refinish or reinvent pre-loved wood furniture. From choosing a good candidate for a DIY project, to cleaning and preparing a piece, to choosing the right finish to fit your needs and aesthetic – Gus offered plenty of tips and tricks of the trade.
It was the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day. We were able to offer these clinics for free, thanks to funding from a grant awarded to ReStore by The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). CalRecycle wanted to partner with ReStore because wood waste is a serious problem. In 2018, 30 million tons of wood waste went to landfills – 4 million in California alone. Wood waste has steadily increased in the last few decades, both in terms of tonnage and as a percentage of the total waste stream. Refinishing wood furniture – rather than sending it to the landfill – can be a great way to make a dent in the problem.
The ReClaim Clinics were a fantastic complement to ReStore’s overall mission to sustainably support Habitat for Humanity. We opened our first ReStore in Oakland in 2003, the same year we raised the first solar panels onto the rooftops of four Habitat homes just a few miles away. We knew that ReStore was not just a smart way to bolster our mission with its proceeds, but also a way to augment our commitment to sustainability. And as we’ve grown to three ReStores, we’ve also kept pushing the envelope on our green building – with our Esperanza Place development being our first to achieve Zero Net Energy standards. In short, our ReStores keep landfills emptier, shoppers’ wallets fuller, and our local housing landscape more equitable.
Are you interested in more skills workshops like the ReClaim Clinic? Let us know what you’d like to see in the comments! And be the first to know of upcoming offerings by joining our Treasure Hunters list!