Help Habitat for Humanity, Minimize Landfill Chow and Ease Your Taxes

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Sometimes it kills me to watch HGTV.  Eager beaver renovators gleefully rip through their home with sledgehammers ablaze without a thought that some of what they’re splintering could be reused instead of in a landfill. Sure your old cabinets aren’t spankingly trendy and the appliances aren’t stainless, but for someone without, they’re precious.

When I gutted my 1960s home, I called ReStore.  They’re a division of Habitat for Humanity that takes donations of furniture, appliances and construction materials from individuals and businesses and resells them in their stores. The global charity operates in 70 countries and 1,400 communities.  Donors get a tax write-off and a lighter conscience.  Homeowners renovating on a shoestring get some bargains.  Needy families get renovation help and housing from Habitat for Humanity.

Plenty of ReStores in the Metroplex
Plenty of ReStores in the Metroplex

In my case, they sent a truck to pick-up doors and doorframes, cabinets (freestanding and built-in), sinks, countertops and even avocado green appliances. I recall specifically asking about the 40-plus-year-old appliances (“Who’d want them?” I thought) and was told sometimes it’s the old stuff that goes quickest. They only take things in working order, they’re not repairmen. So don’t mistake them for your own personal dumpster.

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And all that stuff you bring in is tax deductible.  For me that meant taking leftover materials to ReStore after the work was done.  They took lighting, sinks, mirrors and other things I didn’t need (Yes, I bought some stuff I didn’t like and couldn’t return.)

All in all, a nice haul and haul-away.  Win-win.

$13 bucks for 9 paint rollers. Can't beat that!
$13 bucks for 9 paint rollers. Can’t beat that!

I also bought some things there to help me renovate.  They often have excess cleaning supplies, paint rollers and the like.  For college kids on a budget, there’s always some furniture around to furnish that first off-campus apartment.

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There are often surprises.  Take this $250 Marvel wine fridge that would likely set you back over $1,000 new.  Take the $750 you saved and fill it up with wine knowing you helped someone in need.

Cabinet 360

Manufacturers also send perfectly good new items to ReStore.  Take this kitchen cabinet.  Since it’s not Shaker white, maybe it’s not as popular today.  For $360, it’s yours along with enough matching cabinets to build a kitchen. Looks a lot nicer than Ikea to me …

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Need counters for the cabinets?  For ~$100 you get decent granite with some having sink holes already cut…and again all matching.  This may have been a display or someone who renovated their kitchen and carefully removed them so they could be reused.

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Finally, there’s this shocker.  It’s a 9-foot front door with a beveled glass insert.  New, it would be every bit of $1,000 and more, but some lucky buyer snapped it up for $250.  With a little elbow grease it’ll be good as new and stained whatever color you’d want.  There was also a set of old, solid wood interior French doors … yours for $150.

Regardless of whether you’re snapping up bargains or donating what you’re ripping out, or both, Habitat for Humanity and ReStore are a worthy cause.  After all, you’re helping others, you’re keeping perfectly good things out of landfills … and you’re helping yourself take a dent out of your taxes (the only kind of tax evasion I support). It may be too late to get any deductions this year, but the taxman will cometh next year too.

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  If you’re interested in hosting a Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016, my writing was recognized with Bronze and Silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email

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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

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