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Buy to Last with BuyMeOnce

Buy to Last with BuyMeOnce

The holidays are a great time to reconsider what we buy.  A recent article in the New York Times about buying items to last resonates this time of year because Resourceful PDX is about thoughtful consumption. The article highlights one woman’s journey to find long-lasting items that are built to last. The story features Tara Button, the creator of BuyMeOnce. Their tagline reads: We find the longest lasting products on the planet. To save you stress, to save you money, to save the planet.

The gist is to move away from throwaway. Seeking items that can last a lifetime may seem old-fashioned, or from another era. However, disposable items or those that are made to break (also known as planned obsolescence) are a waste, in more ways than one.

Instead, BuyMeOnce suggests seeking items for yourself or for others that stand the test of time. From socks and sweaters to blenders and mixing bowls, you can search for what you need or want, and get ideas for the holidays too.

Categories online include:

·         Kitchenware

·         Living

·         Electricals (i.e. appliances and gadgets)

·         Leisure

·         Beauty

·         Kids, women’s and men’s items

If you must give a gift of something, consider an item that the receiver wants, needs and is built to last their lifetime.

Find out more about BuyMeOnce. And check out the Resourceful PDX blog for more local options to buy smart!

Reclaim the holidays

Reclaim the holidays

Customers at ReClaim It! and Community Warehouse Estate Store told us why they choose to give gently used gifts during the holidays and all year round.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 



“There are so many stories to be told through other people’s items. To re-gift them to another human creates the next chapter in the story.”



“I look for raw materials like reclaimed old-growth wood to make a memorable gift for family or friends.”


Ann Marie

“I celebrate people in my life by giving experiences, homemade gifts and sharing my time.”



“I love to create and repurpose with old items and give them a second life. This is also my favorite way to gift those who are special to me.”



“The chances of finding something unique are so much greater at resale places and I usually discover special things that remind me of someone I care about.”



“I take friends out on adventures, make them mix tapes, or really anything I think would make them feel loved and appreciated.”

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Think repair for the holidays with over 200 local shops

Did you know you can find repair shops all over the Portland region through an online database?

Portland Repair Finder is dedicated to helping more people fix more things. The organization makes tools, knowledge and resources easier to find, and helps tell the stories behind repair work. They believe that repairing things is good for the local economy, community and environment, and it is empowering and fun.

The creator of this online tool is Joel Newman. He started the website in 2017 to become a comprehensive access point for repair of all kinds around Portland. His background is in art and design - and bicycle repair.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

Joel (right) fixing a bike at a Repair Cafe.

He said over the next year they will be revising the search and filtering features, as well as growing the database of repair shops and resources. The ability to search the site by item as well as by mode of repair– whether that's a needed tool for a DIY fix, expert advice or professional repair– is key to showing people the range of options available, and getting more people involved.

One of the cool things about repair work is its ability to add life to a favorite item or keepsake. If you get a favorite pair of jeans or shoes mended or restore a piece of furniture or jewelry that has been in your family for generations, it’s much more unique and memorable than buying something new.

Give the gift of repair

With the holidays upon us, now’s a good time to find alternative gift ideas. Look at who you plan to buy for this year. Would they benefit from a gift certificate from a jeweler, cobbler or for a gadget? Could a family heirloom be repaired, old photos be restored or a favorite outfit brought back to life through alteration? There are 200 businesses included on the Repair Finder.

And don’t forget about free repair events in the region. Both Repair Cafés and Repair Fairs take place around the Portland region throughout the year. Think of these events as an ongoing way to get small repairs made to keep your possessions in circulation and in use. The Resourceful PDX event calendar lists all the repair events taking place, along with other community events.


The Buyerarchy of Needs

The Buyerarchy of Needs

Are you already overwhelmed with stressful holiday errands and overspending? Worried about getting buried in all the packaging?

Consider a new low-waste way to approach the holidays this year that might save you some money and bring you a little more joy. The Buyerarchy of Needs is a visual guide to remind you of your other options besides buying something new.

As you look over your holiday lists, take a creative moment and ask yourself:

Is there something I already have I could use in a new way? Could I borrow or swap to get what I need? Maybe a thrift or resale shop has it? Can I make it?

Intrigued? Resourceful PDX is your local resource for tips and ideas to make simple changes in everyday choices. In fact, the Resourceful PDX map includes community-based organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials rather than throwing away or buying new.

Resolve to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year to save money and resources. Explore the website for more ideas and tips in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Learn how The Buyerarchy of Needs came to be by designer and illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic.

Top 10 waste-free gift ideas create more memories

Top 10 waste-free gift ideas create more memories

The holidays provide moments for meaningful gift ideas that show love and appreciation for those in your life - and ways to create more memories instead of more stuff.

Alicia Polacok from Resourceful PDX partner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, shared examples from this Top 10 Waste-Free Gifts on the KATU Afternoon Live TV show. She also told viewers about the Portland Winter Curbsider, in mailboxes now and full of more good ideas and holiday related information. 



1. Classes or lessons

2. Activities or adventures together

3. Virtual downloads (music, movies, games)


4. Memberships or tickets

5. Get-away experiences (babysitter, restaurant, hotel)


6. Service-oriented businesses (house cleaning, organizer)

7.  Gift cards for pampering (massage, nails)

8. Your time! (helping with home project or teaching a skill)

9. Local handmade gifts (crafts, food, drinks)

10. Vintage or secondhand finds

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Need even more ideas? The Center for a New American Dream has you covered. Check out the many ways to Simplify the Holidays with the More Fun Less Stuff Catalog and this year’s calendar to get six weeks of daily inspirations and practical tips for simplifying your holiday season.

Warm the holidays with these community gift ideas

Warm the holidays with these community gift ideas

December is the season of creative giving and good times spent with friends and family. Remember, Portland is full of community resources —and resourceful ways — to give and make meaningful moments.


Make memories

Give a fun outing to ZooLights for kiddos who already have a full toy box.

Families with kids may like a membership to the zoo, OMSI, children’s museum, or tickets to a play, movie or a sports event. While gifts of experience can be a tough sell to little kids, you can help make it fun in the moment too.



Help dad clean the gutters with an extension ladder borrowed from a tool library.

Tool libraries are available to residents of East PortlandNorth PortlandNortheast Portland, and Southeast Portland. Become a member of a tool library near you! Gift a family member or neighbor time — yours! — to help with a house project.


Fix it

Repair a favorite old lamp for mom at a repair café.

Repair PDX hosts monthly free repair events that bring volunteers who like to fix things together with people who have broken items that need fixing. Help spread repair culture through the repair movement!


Try resale

Find a gently used party dress!

Portland has a thriving reuse and thrift shop market for not only clothing, but also household goods, electronics, furniture, art supplies and building materials.

Check out the Resourceful PDX map for lending libraries, donation centers, resale, repair and swap shops.

Resourceful PDX in the news!

Resourceful PDX in the news!

The new map feature on the Resourceful PDX website, and some of the community partners listed on the map, have made news this week.

The Portland Tribune article "Want to borrow a tool, get some fix-it help, or share your stuff?" features several resources listed on our new map. 

In Portland, dozens of these free or low-cost resources — kitchen shares, toy swaps, tool libraries, bike fix-it-yourself shops and more — are just around the corner, for the taking. To some, they may seem like a secret society, not necessarily easy to find unless you already know someone who participates.

But now, the city has issued an easy-to-use map of 30 to 40 of these resources — a one-stop hub for sustainable living at the neighborhood level — on its Resourceful PDX program site.
— Jennifer Anderson, The Portland Tribune

KGW Channel 8 also featured Resourceful PDX and some of our community partners on their evening news.

The Resourceful PDX map includes community-based, not-for-profit or grassroots organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials.

The resources featured in the news pieces this week are PDX Time Bank, Repair PDX, Kitchen Share, Woodlawn Swap n Play and Know Thy Food Cooperative.

Do you have a community resource to add to the map? Share more resources with us!

To nominate a community-based, not-for-profit or grassroots organization for inclusion in this map, send us a message with relevant details about the organization, such as: name, location, website and contact information, plus a brief description of why it would make a good addition to the Resourceful PDX Map.

New Resourceful PDX map!

New Resourceful PDX map!

The map works on mobile, too!

The map works on mobile, too!

The new Resourceful PDX map includes community-based, not-for-profit or grassroots organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials.

Share resources with us!

To nominate a community-based, not-for-profit or grassroots organization for inclusion in this map, send us a message with relevant details about the organization, such as: name, location, website and contact information, plus a brief description of why it would make a good addition to the Resourceful PDX Map.

Cash in time dollars through PDX Time Bank

Cash in time dollars through PDX Time Bank

By guest blogger Nicole Willson, PDX Time Bank volunteer

Everyone has things they are good at and things they need help with - as well as things they don’t know how to do or don’t have time to do. That's what the PDX Time Bank is all about - allowing Portlanders to do the things they love in exchange for help doing the things they don’t know how to do, want to do, or have time to do. 

How a time bank works

A time bank is a community of people who share services in exchange for a complementary currency called time dollars. Each time bank member earns time dollars by using their skills and talents to help a neighbor in their community.

For example, you could earn a time dollar for walking someone’s dog and then use that time dollar to get a haircut or have someone bake you a cake. This allows time bank members to do what they enjoy in exchange for what they need, including tasks they may not want or be able to perform.

The amount of time dollars you earn is proportionate to the amount of time you spend on a task and everyone’s time is equally valuable. Someone who provides legal services gets the same amount of time dollars as someone who does a different service, such as babysitting. Having a zero balance is the ultimate goal of a time bank, unlike with a conventional bank. 

Since its revival in June 2014, the PDX Time Bank has grown to 125 members living in various parts of Portland. The skills offered by members include gardening, crafts and cooking. Time bankers are encouraged to give as well as receive since both create reciprocity and help build supportive networks within the community.

Time banking helps get things fixed

Time bank members can get items fixed, as well as provide volunteer hours to sustainability-related organizations like The City Repair Project and Repair PDX

When time bank members have a broken item they don’t know how to fix, they can request help through the time bank. That’s what time bank member Amanda Perl did when she needed someone to repair a broken slat on her futon bed. When she contacted the store where she purchased the futon, all they could do is sell her an entirely new bed frame for $180 so they recommended she get it fixed instead.

After posting her request, Amanda heard back from a time banker who asked for details about what was needed, including the dimensions of the slats. This time banker bought $2.67 worth of supplies at The ReBuilding Center and checked out a drill from the Northeast Portland Tool Library. The time banker then went to Amanda’s house and worked with her to remove the broken slat, drill holes in the new board and put it into place. Shortly after this project, Amanda was able to earn back the time dollars she paid for the repair by giving tai chi lessons.

I am delighted to no longer have a sagging bed! I paid the time banker for her time both in preparing for the repair and at my house, 2 time dollars, and reimbursed her $2.67 for the cost of the board. It was a very satisfying experience.
— Amanda Perl, PDX time banker

A few months after getting this repair, Amanda provided a service to fellow time banker, Cindy Hines, by fixing a broken strap on a pair of sandals. Cindy was also happy with her time banking experience.

She did a professional looking job, so the sandals look as good as new. I’ve been wearing them ever since.
— Cindy Hines, PDX time banker

There are gatherings and potlucks for members and those who are interested in learning more. Visit PDX Time Bank to learn about membership or join the Facebook group to see activities.

Vintage rental options for your special event

Vintage rental options for your special event

Lane’ Bigsby from Something Borrowed invited Alicia Polacok from Resourceful PDX partner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, to visit her vintage-inspired rental shop.

Do-It-Yourself at heart of business

In 2011, Lane’ Bigsby planned her own vintage-style wedding, showcasing her and her husband’s Do-It-Yourself (DIY) vision and commitment to sustainability. This process inspired Lane’ to start Something Borrowed to help others have the unique events they envision while reducing waste, too.

DIY is at the heart of Lane’s rental business. In addition to her re-styling experience, she has taken up upholstery and her husband now does woodworking. Lane’ often repurposes objects many times and in many different ways, getting the most value out of each object, adding creativity to the event, and saving costs for her clients.

Renting saves you time from having to hunt items down and it’s often far cheaper than buying. I hear ‘this has been sitting in my garage for years’ very regularly so it also allows you to have less stuff that creates clutter.
— Lane' Bigsby

Fun and funky items to rent

The inventory at Something Borrowed includes a plethora of items to rent for any kind of event – from weddings, birthdays and baby showers, to corporate events, trade shows and production photo shoots. Clients have even rented items for family holidays and a funeral.

When considering new inventory, Lane’ carefully selects items that can be used many times, and have a big impact in saving waste. She shops from websites like Craigslist, Etsy and eBay, and from previous clients who offer Something Borrowed the chance to buy items from their one-time events.

Building a resourceful community

Lane’ says she enjoys helping clients learn new ways to be resourceful.

“My clients often ask about the other elements of planning events, besides the décor. I find myself steering the conversation to using durable items instead of disposable items, and educating clients about compostable plastics and alternative packaging options.”

Lane’ also incorporates what she calls a “hyper-local” attitude to her business.

“Establishing these relationships has helped create a network in the St Johns neighborhood. I can get a special item repaired instead of tossing it in the garbage, and can visit the local reclaimed wood shop for custom jobs, like benches I had made recently to add to the inventory.”

View vintage and modern finds on the Something Borrowed website and at the one-stop-shop warehouse and showroom by appointment in North Portland.