You might not think you can build a house with a shopping cart. But loyal shoppers of our ReStores know better: you help Habitat build homes with each purchase. So, while you’re picking up a little something for your own home, you know that you’re also paving the way home for other families.

Just ask Paulette.

An occupational therapist in the East Bay, Paulette’s Bay Area ReStore location of choice is ReStore Oakland. And Paulette isn’t just shopping for great finds – she’s consciously supporting Habitat’s work – work whose impact she’s seen firsthand.

Not that she doesn’t still enjoy finding treasures in the aisles of ReStore. “I ‘usually’ head to ReStore with a particular item in mind for a house project,” Paulette says. “However, I typically get distracted with all the new items and become inspired for ‘re-use.’” Lots of goodies from ReStore have found their way into Paulette’s home, from hardware to paint to flooring to furniture.

“Recently, when looking for a floor lamp and chair, I spied some beautiful metal side tables,” Paulette says. “I purchased one, then came back the next day for another. I love them.”

Paulette loves the idea of shopping to keep usable goods out of landfills. “It is essential and common sense,” she claims. “The planet does not need more ‘stuff.’ I also have an ‘old soul’ and find charm and purpose in re-using items.”

And the unique, re-usable finds keep Paulette coming back, since she loves browsing the new inventory. “I’m still on the hunt for the perfect replacement pedestal sink and some cabinetry to upcycle for pantry storage,” she says. She also loves the “wonderful assistance by staff in finding items,” and “being in an environment with others shopping for a good cause!”

It’s a cause she knows well. “Even before the current housing crisis insanity in the Bay Area, I participated in a build project for Habitat for Humanity and LOVED it,” Paulette remembers. “I am one who enjoys using my hands/tools for fixing and futzing. Working with a crew of like-minded individuals to help others (especially creating a living space) was fulfilling and just seems like the right thing to do.” She hopes to continue pitching in on site in the future, bringing her experience as an occupational therapist – and her former life in architecture – to bear.

In fact, her career has already crossed paths with Habitat’s work, when she realized one of her clients had moved into an accessible Habitat home. When Paulette saw how thoughtfully designed and beautiful the home was, she says it “thrilled” her.

In the end, it all comes down to giving back for Paulette. “I am fortunate and grateful to have what I need and more in life,” she says. “And the extremes of inequity in the basic need for housing/shelter is something all community members should be mindful of.”

And so, as she’s exploring the Oakland ReStore, her own home isn’t the only home on Paulette’s mind. “Knowing that supporting ReStore contributes to the larger mission – it adds to the experience.”

We’re so grateful for our fantastic shoppers like Paulette, whose support beautifies their homes while creating more housing opportunities here in our communities.

If you’d like a chance to spot Paulette in the next aisle, shop, donate, or volunteer at ReStore!