Aging parents and the stuff their kids don’t want

Aging parents and the stuff their kids don’t want

A recent article in the New York Times about aging parents with an abundance of stuff resonated because Resourceful PDX has thoughtful consumption at its core. It offers tools and ideas for reducing waste, and specifically, how to act and where to find resources. 

The article explains that the volume of unwanted keepsakes and family heirlooms is poised to grow — along with the number of conversations about what to do with them – because of our aging population.

Resourceful PDX is about making simple changes to help you save money, support your community, conserve natural resources and enjoy more time with friends and family.

There are many online groups and local organizations that offer Portland-area residents simple ways to move useful materials through the community and into the hands of others who need them. Here are just a few:

·         Buy Nothing Project

·         Freecycle

·         Nextdoor

·         Paying it Forward Store

·         PDX Free Store

·         Rooster

Check out the Curbsider Blog for more options for sharing your unwanted or unneeded household goods.

Also, Metro has compiled a helpful list of charitable organizations to contact for pick up or drop off of your usable items. These range from local organization like Free Geek and The ARC of Multnomah County to national organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army.

Read a previous Resourceful PDX post about Community Warehouse, your local furniture bank. Items that are needed the most include linens, kitchen and household goods and furniture. The Estate Store at Community Warehouse offers collectibles and antiques for purchase to help further furnish homes for local families and will gladly accept your donations.

Unusable bulky items
After sorting out all of your reusable items and finding them new homes, your garbage and recycling company can remove large, unusable items for an extra charge. Call your company a week in advance and they will give you a cost estimate. For a reasonable charge, they will pick up appliances, furniture and other big items. For curbside pickup, set bulky items at your curb on the day your garbage and recycling company has agreed to pick them up. 

Large items abandoned in your neighborhood? Contact the Metro Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Patrol or call 503-234-3000.

 

Find local alternatives to back to school shopping and spending

Find local alternatives to back to school shopping and spending

The back to school shopping season accounts for about 50 percent of annual school-related spending and impacts approximately one-quarter of U.S. households.

While clothing and school supplies dominate back to school lists, the highest average spending is for computers and hardware. Here’s a breakdown of spending per family in each category:

·         Computers & hardware $307

·         Clothing & accessories $284

·         Electronic gadgets $254

·         School supplies $104

Getting kids ready to go back to school may include more stuff, more hassle and more stress. But there are plenty of things you can do to save time and money. Local resources abound for getting what you need to go back to school.

SCRAP offers supplies to create DIY one-of-a-kind items for school, like pencil bags from fabric, zippers and found objects, or to customize last year’s backpacks by adding sew-on patches or letters. They have paper of all colors and sizes, binders, markers, pens, colored pencils, plus so much more.

Free Geek has repurposed electronics of all kinds at the new-and-improved Free Geek Store. It makes its computer systems the focal point of the space and you can also donate old computers and electronic equipment.

Title Wave Used Book Store includes a wide selection of books and other materials at deep discounts. Share your used books with friends, relatives, or younger schoolchildren. The Children’s Book Bank needs gently used books to pass onto children in Portland who might not otherwise have books of their own at home.

Interested in diving into more about back to school spending? There’s a survey about insights on spending and shopping trends.

Check out past posts about kids in school - and use the Resourceful PDX map to locate more resources near you.

 

DIY Bar: Where people come to get their craft on

DIY Bar: Where people come to get their craft on

By Alicia Polacok, Resourceful PDX partner Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Brothers Adam and Jason Gorske opened DIY Bar in April 2017 as a long-held dream come true. It is a gathering place to work on individual crafts from their project menu while enjoying beer, cider or wine.

I visited on a Friday evening with three friends to get the story of this business from the brothers – and try my hand at a craft.

Coming from a close family, Adam and Jason always thought they would work together in some capacity. When they both found themselves in Portland in 2015, the dream started to take shape into a business. One where their respective skills and interests came into play - reusing, tinkering and mastering a sense of accomplishment.

For DIY Bar, it involved reusing old materials to repurpose into something new and building things based on their home improvement project experiences. Adam explained that salvage materials from the ReBuilding Center and Salvage Works were used to create the facade of the host stand, shelving for project supplies and the inside of the bar.

A place for crafty (and not so crafty) people

The idea for DIY Bar was inspired by paint and sip places, where you can enjoy a beverage while painting with step-by-step instructions and take home something unique.

Adam and Jason have done the work for you to find the projects, gather the tools and materials needed to make beautiful and functional crafts. To maintain consistency, the project materials are new, while the tools are reused by guests.

Adam said, “The future may include collaboration with other organizations and an interest in featuring local artists to do more intensive and in-depth projects.”

The most popular item on the 16-project menu is the rustic nail and string art. There are templates to choose from, or staff will help you create something one-of-a kind. During my visit – my three friends all chose string art projects. Because I put myself in the not-so-crafty category, I was daunted, so chose a leather beer koozie project instead. I love koozies (and beer) so why not try to make my own?!

With detailed step-by-step instructions in hand, and my questions answered by staff, I completed my koozie. There was still time for a drink and to mingle with others in the space. The friendly atmosphere encouraged people to see what others were making and celebrate their finished works of art.

The evening my friends and I were there, the place was full, and it turned out about one-third of the customers were from out of town. Tourists. Coming to experience a bit of Portland while visiting the city.

Feeling inspired? Check out the DIY Bar frequently asked questions to learn more before booking a space.

 

Creative repurposing offers fresh approach to home projects

Creative repurposing offers fresh approach to home projects

Written by Tim Smith on behalf of guest blogger Lynn Feinstein, Möbius Home 

With a bit of ingenuity, a minimal amount of work and a creative imagination, you can redecorate your home's interior and exterior without spending much money. The environment also benefits when utilizing materials already on hand to decorate a room or outdoor area. 

Recreating Old Furniture Pieces

When you think “out of the box,” there is no end to the design creation. An old dresser turns into a beautiful window seat. After removing the dresser legs, lay a decorative cushion or blanket and some throw pillows on the top of the dresser and place in a window with a view, interior walkway or room corner. The top of the dresser functions as the seating space. Additionally, the dresser drawers provide convenient storage space.

Whether or not you should add a coat of paint depends on your design preference. Leaving the dresser in the original state creates an antique “shabby chic” style while a coat of paint creates the perfect modern accent piece for any room. Using this same dresser concept produces a versatile coffee table with built in drawers as well as a child’s toy box.

For more dresser ideas, see 6 Great New Used for a Vintage Dresser.

An old baby crib can become a decorative quilt or magazine rack in very little time and with hardly any effort. Once you remove the side railing sections of the crib, simply display them vertically against any wall. Hang your favorite quilts over the individual posts or drape magazines, hanging them by their spine, with the front magazine cover facing out.

Window Treatments

Window treatments can run rather costly, yet the average household contains a variety of extra fabrics and prints you can reuse instead. Common bed linens come in an array of colors, styles and sizes, are machine washable and require little work in constructing. With the help of a measuring stick or tape, thread, a needle and a pair of scissors, cut out your own patterns for beautiful yet original window treatment designs.

One Yard, No Sew Window Treatment 3 Ways offers a "no sew" option.

Exterior Property Decor

Gardening season has arrived, so instead of purchasing flower boxes, use an old antique bed frame to add a unique and stunning conversation piece to any front yard or flower garden. Simply remove the headboard and foot-board and use as the exterior back and front walls of your garden. Plant rows of your favorite flowers in the ground area located between the head and foot-board. Once the flowers reach maturity, they become the bed spread, creating a literal floral bed.

Any common item can become an eye-catching masterpiece. An old claw-footed bathtub serves as the perfect container garden. Just drill a few holes in the bottom of the bathtub and fill with gardening soil. This design idea works perfectly for areas with minimal gardening space or for growing any type of small herb, vegetable or flower garden.

Visit Crackedpots 18th Annual Art Show to find something unique for your own space. It is August 1 and 2 at McMenamins Edgefield.

Reclaim your free time with summer guides from New Dream

Reclaim your free time with summer guides from New Dream

Start summer with family guides that highlight more of what matters.

New Dream has launched two new family guides to help you reclaim your free time.

The weekend guide, 5 Simple Steps to Reclaiming Your Weekend, and the summer guide, The Family Guide to a Mostly Screen-Free Summer.

The guides can be downloaded from New Dream and provide tips to help you plan and protect your valuable free time.

5 Simple Steps to Reclaiming Your Weekend

Ever get to Sunday night and find yourself feeling even more stressed and exhausted than you did mid-week?

In this guide, New Dream provides simple steps to help you avoid defaulting to screens when you find yourself with a short burst of free time.   

Get practical ideas to help you unplug, recharge and connect!

The Family Guide to a Mostly Screen-Free Summer

Concerned about screen-time taking over your free time? 

So is New Dream. That's why they created this step-by-step, sanity-saving resource, chock full of ideas to reclaim your summer. 

Start planning your mostly screen-free summer today. 

Caring for what’s under your roof

Caring for what’s under your roof

Summer is the perfect time to give your home some additional TLC.

Safety First

Before you start a home remodeling, demolition or construction project, learn how to avoid toxic materials and handle potential dangers you might encounter, such as asbestos or lead paint.

Before a home project, test for asbestos. Metro transfer stations require documentation for all loads of construction, remodeling and demolition debris that might contain asbestos.

Seasonal Maintenance

Taking good care of your home can prevent big problems and save a lot of money in the long run. Tasks like cleaning out your gutters and repairing exposed wood quickly help your home last as long as possible.

When you need to replace materials, consider reclaimed or salvaged. They provide unique character, and often are stronger, more durable and higher quality — and may be less expensive than new materials.

Local Resources

Find these local resources and more on the Resourceful PDX map to help you improve and maintain your home:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore
  • MetroPaint
  • The ReBuilding Center
  • Green Lents Community Tool Library
  • North Portland Tool Library
  • Northeast Portland Tool Library
  • Southeast Portland Tool Library

Resourceful PDX is your go-to for community resources.

VIDEO: Resourceful PDX offers tools and tips for reducing waste

VIDEO: Resourceful PDX offers tools and tips for reducing waste

All year-round, swap events, repair cafes, neighborhood tool libraries and countless other free or low-cost resources help people find items they need and avoid unnecessarily buying something new at the store.

Check out our new video showcasing many of these resources around Portland! 

Update your space with fresh colors or a new arrangement

Update your space with fresh colors or a new arrangement

By guest blogger Lynn Feinstein, Möbius Home

Change it up

One of the simplest ways to transform a room is to change the color with paint. Color can make a room appear larger or smaller, peaceful or energizing, brighter or softer.

The lighter the color, the larger the room appears. Darker colors make a room feel smaller and more cozy. For a calming effect, try shades of blue, green and cool grey. For the opposite effect, try warmer colors – red, yellow, orange and warm grey.

Every paint manufacturer sells a no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) selection. I recommend this to all my clients, to protect the air quality in your home. Paints that have VOC’s continue to off-gas for weeks as they cure, even after they have dried. For anyone with allergies or lung conditions, this is especially critical to minimize breathing toxic fumes.

My favorite local brand is Colorhouse paint, founded by two artists who supported themselves by painting interiors. They made the decision to create a brand that would be safe for them to work with since they were getting sick from breathing the fumes of other paint.

Move it around

Another way to make a simple update is to rearrange your space. You can move items from one room to another. Or simply reconfigure what is already in the room. Add fresh elements like different pillows, throws and artwork. Be creative and think beyond what you might consider conventional. Experiment and have fun!

In these before and after photos, the owner of this craftsman home in Southeast Portland contacted us to help create a cohesive and functional expression of herself from the charming eclectic collection of items she owned. This included a pair of chairs she had recently inherited from her father and wanted to integrate into her home.

Some simple adjustments were made and many of her items rearranged. The bookshelves were removed from the dining area and the photos and collectibles reorganized and simplified in the built-in shelving. We made updates with the wall colors to create a more cohesive division of the rooms, as well as to open and lighten the space.

And her father’s chairs – they were reupholstered with Makelike textiles, a local design firm specializing in wallpaper, fabrics and graphics.

The house has beautiful hardwood floors, and to add some depth and warmth we ordered FLOR carpet tiles to create a custom designed area rug for the dining room. FLOR carpet tiles are made with recycled materials; tiles can be cleaned individually, and when damaged beyond repair, can be returned to the manufacturer to be recycled.

Additionally, new drapes for the windows added finishing touches.

It is clear that with a little change in paint and some creative rearrangements, you can create a dramatic change for little to no expense.

Check tips from Lynn about maximizing space for efficiency from a previous blog post.

ReClaim It! offers treasures rescued for creative reuse

ReClaim It! offers treasures rescued for creative reuse

What marries reuse and repair with creativity and a whole bunch of volunteers? ReClaim It! The nonprofit arts and reuse retail store salvages materials from the "dump" for artists, neighbors and Do-It-Yourselfers. 

The goal of ReClaim It! is to reduce the number of items that end their journey at the landfill while raising awareness about creative reuse. They do this in partnership with Recology, a resource recovery company, and the Metro Central Transfer Station, where they gather perfectly good materials like wood, metal and vintage items.

According to Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Caldwell, “ReClaim It! relies on our capable volunteers from the community to prepare found items for reuse, repair and reimagination. We glean roughly 2,000 pounds of materials every week.”

Volunteers are trained to collect items that can be reused in the home and garden or for creative purposes. With a goal of going through one ton of materials every week and the store open five days a week, ReClaim It! has plenty of activities where community support is welcome.

Tasks include:

·         Gleaning items from the waste transfer station

·         Making price tags and in-shop signage

·         Participating in social media outreach

·         Repairing found items

·         Brainstorming project ideas with customers

·         Cashiering in the shop

·         Cleaning newly gleaned items

·         Creating engaging in-shop displays

Many of the items recovered from the transfer station only need a little T.L.C. to reenter the home or garden. Volunteers clean and repair items in the store in an effort to save those pieces for future use.

Their customers are often residents who live in the neighborhood, with many who are DIYers.

ReClaim It! is a project of Crackedpots, a volunteer-driven nonprofit devoted to waste reduction in our community. Volunteers get started with a one-hour orientation and have flexible schedule options in a fun and creative environment. Contact Kelly at 503-432-7712 or volunteer@reclaimitpdx.org to learn more.

Find ReClaim It! under Resale Shop on the Resourceful PDX map. The store is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Or come check it out during one of the monthly Walk Williams events.

Spring into action with the 15-minute “clearing clutter” workout

Spring into action with the 15-minute “clearing clutter” workout

By guest blogger Kathy Peterman, Simple Up

With the help of popular books, like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, people are ready to tackle clutter. However, we know a book won’t necessarily help you get started.

Here are my top tips for getting started with decluttering your space. You can do this as part of spring cleaning or anytime of the year, with the 15-minute "clearing clutter" workout.

1.       Start small. Begin by clearing two small surfaces within your home. That might be your bathroom counter, your nightstand, the top of a bookshelf or your kitchen table. It can be any surface.

Take everything off that surface, wipe it down, then go through the items to determine if you have any of the following:

·         duplicates (if so, pick your favorite)

·         items that belong elsewhere and could be put away

·         items you are not using

·         recycling or garbage

Do what you can to reduce the items you put back on the surface. Three is the ideal number, but less is good, no matter what the number is. You can box up items to try it with less if you’re not ready to let go of these things…yet!

2.       Get support. Many people need some support to get going. That can vary from having a friend or family member whom you can share your goals with, to an online group or hiring a professional organizer. Even just speaking or writing down your goals is one way to get more clear and committed. When we share this with someone else, it helps make it more real. It’s ideal if that person is willing to declutter too and you can report back to each other.

3.       Figure out your why. Why do you want to declutter your space? It is to help you find things? To reduce the amount of time it takes to clean? To clear space in preparation for downsizing? To feel more calm and less chaos?

It’s helpful to actually write out your why and post it somewhere you can see it as a reminder, especially when you need a boost. Be sure to share the why with your support person too.

4.       Put it on your calendar. Decluttering is that thing we think of doing, but rarely schedule. By putting it on your calendar and telling your support person when you’ll be doing it, you have a clear plan to follow. Set a timer for 15 minutes and commit to decluttering until it pings. Even if you declutter for just 15 minutes, you’ll be surprised how much of a difference it can make.

Once you’ve gotten started, you may be ready to move onto other categories like Marie Kondo describes in her book – clothes, books, papers and more. Don’t be afraid to break these into smaller sub-categories that you work through on separate days for 15-30 minutes, such as jackets, shirts and shoes.

Set that timer and start decluttering!