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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. 

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Sam

“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.”

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Kyle

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

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Ann Marie

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

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Riah

“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.”

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CK

“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.”

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Lloyd

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

Reduce, reuse – and refuse

Reduce, reuse – and refuse

Does your garbage can fill up fast with bulky take-out containers? Rethink how to remove plastics and single-use items at home, work or play.

Americans use 500 million straws in the United States every day! Do your part to reduce single-use items by creating a to-go kit so you’ll have what you need when you need it.

Start a new habit

Change your mindset and start a new habit. Those everyday items you use at home can find another life outside the home – that goes for replacements for napkins, cutlery, coffee and smoothie cups, water bottles, grocery and produce bags - and straws.

Try one new option and begin to be consistent until the habit takes shape. This can take the form of buying in bulk, bringing your own container or giving feedback to companies that use excessive packaging.

Remember to reuse (and reduce disposables)

Make a reusables kit for your car, day bag or bike bag. Include reusable shopping bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, cutlery or small containers for leftovers. After you use something from your kit, replace it when you get home so your kit is always with you and ready for anything.

Having an on-the-go kit is good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

Choose to refuse unwanted items

If you don’t need the straw, plastic cutlery, napkins or a bag, say so!

Find more ways to ditch plastics at Zero Waste Wisdom. And if you really want to reduce waste, join the Plastic Free July challenge.

Love your stuff

Love your stuff

This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with Portland local resources to find ways to be resourceful and get more out of your stuff.

Borrow your way to more love

Do you love cooking?

Portland has many options for you to borrow kitchen tools to try them without purchasing new items. Expand your kitchen knowledge or take a food workshop at a kitchen share. NorthNortheast and Southeast Portland residents can connect with each other and find a new gadget to love.

Already thinking about giving your garden or home some love?

For those with home, yard or garden projects, locate the tool lending library based on where you live. The Green Lents Community Tool Library in East PortlandNorthNortheast or Southeast all offer residents low-to-no-cost options. Find home improvement project ideas from previous blog posts.

Or are you ready for a little space?

Clear your closet with Swap Positive, your go-to for multiple swap events throughout the year, including those for families. Share clothes and accessories you don’t love so much anymore with folks who might enjoy something different.

Keep what you love

Ready to repurpose a favorite chair or locate a well-loved heirloom?

Explore Portland’s many second-hand stores to find new-to-you clothing, furniture, electronics, household or craft items, salvage building materials and more. 

Do you have favorite items you have loved so much they need a fix?

Repair PDX offers residents free fixes for bikes, small appliances, clothing and more. Monthly repair cafes bring volunteers who love to fix stuff together with those who have broken items that need fixing.  

Find more ideas to create more love and less waste at New Dream. #morelovelesswaste

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Master Recycler volunteer, Bonita Davis, shares tips to reduce and reuse during the holiday season.

The holiday season is a time when we do more of everything, including celebrating and shopping. It can also be a time when a lot of waste is created in the process, but that doesn’t have to happen. This season, we can have some fun focusing on reducing and reusing to save money and go easy on the environment.

Watch Bonita on KATU Afternoon Live, where she shares some of these tips with host Tra’Renee.

Reduce

Choose experiences rather than things because something out of the ordinary may be the perfect gift for someone on your list – and alternative gift ideas are often waste-free. Know what your family and friends like and want – and if someone has a gift registry for a special occasion, use it!

Resourceful PDX partner, Chinook Book, offers coupons through the print edition or mobile app from local businesses and provides gift ideas and savings at your fingertips.

In the long run, durable materials save us money and significantly reduce waste. Items such as plates, utensils, glasses and linens can be new, used, borrowed or rented. Holiday meals may include leftovers. Plan ahead to save containers, like yogurt tubs, or invite guests to bring their own containers to take home extra goodies.

And don’t forget to use your reusable bags and travel mugs when you are taking advantage of holiday festivities and shopping excursions.         

Reuse

Creative reuse is the name of the game during the holidays. Reusing items and buying used materials can be fun and easy on our pocket. Make SCRAP PDX your first stop for cards, tags, bows, ribbon, gift bags and more.

Collect old maps and the Sunday comics to use as gift wrap. Or use a bandanna or kitchen towel for a no-waste gift.

Return, re-gift, or donate items you know you will not use. It is better to keep them in use with a new owner, rather than cluttering up your space with something you’ll never use. Many people need items during this time of year, so consider donating them instead.    

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

           

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.

 

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.

 

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!

Community Warehouse shares your used goods with neighbors in need

Community Warehouse shares your used goods with neighbors in need

Here’s a typical morning routine: You wake up to an alarm clock, in a bed made with sheets and pillows; take a shower and dry off with a towel; make coffee with a machine and toast bread in a toaster. Perhaps the items themselves – alarm clock, bed, towel, coffee maker, toaster – are taken for granted because they are at our fingertips and in our everyday lives.

According to Rena Satre Meloy, Communications Director for Community Warehouse, the silent role our stuff plays is what makes her organization such a deeply important resource for our neighbors in need.

Community Warehouse, your local nonprofit furniture bank, serves clients from all walks of life. They work with 200 partner agencies that help others find secure housing – veterans, people coming out of homelessness, public school families and those in crisis situations.

They make the most of items you no longer need or want and keep resources circulating in the community. They see themselves as a conduit between neighbors - to help each other and to provide a smarter way to redistribute existing goods directly to others locally.

Resourceful PDX sees reuse at the core of what they do. A system that is closed loop because goods go to someone else who needs them and provides a meaningful interaction for those involved, while also keeping material on a local scale to lessen transportation and disposal costs.

Community Warehouse has two locations: Northeast Portland and Tualatin. Items that are needed the most include linens, kitchen and household goods and furniture, especially stuff like pots and pans, toasters, dressers and twin beds. Gently used mattresses without big stains or tears are also welcome.

What about those treasures you no longer treasure? The ones you may have inherited or no longer serve the purpose they once did? 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.

We had been struggling for a while to convince our mother to let go of her long-accumulated furniture and belongings. The idea of giving mom’s furniture to Community Warehouse, where it could do such good for local families, was really helpful for her in the letting go process.
— Anonymous Furniture Donor

Watch this 30-second time lapse video to see the volume of goods going in and out of Community Warehouse.

Find Community Warehouse under Resale Shop on the Resourceful PDX map.

Start DIY home projects with salvage and reuse

Start DIY home projects with salvage and reuse

By Shawn Wood from Resourceful PDX partner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

 Salvage wood wall in remodeled living room. Created by craftsman Greg Simons of  Studio G .

Salvage wood wall in remodeled living room. Created by craftsman Greg Simons of Studio G.

Plan ahead for home improvement opportunities that tap into Portland’s extensive reuse community to make your projects unique. 

“The change of seasons is a great time to focus your efforts indoors. While my summers are jam packed with outdoor projects and activities, I welcome the change in weather and the opportunity to transition indoors. You may already have some project ideas in mind, but if not, head to your local salvage or reuse outlet and walk around. Creative ideas will start to flow and before you know it, you’ll have figured out your next project.

Local places abound in Portland to purchase used building supplies, salvage wood, materials for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and every room in between. Portland offers interested homeowners and individuals plenty of options for home improvement DIY projects.

Salvaged materials are often high quality, provide unique character, are stronger and more durable - and may be less expensive than new materials.”

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, ReClaim It!, Salvage Works and The ReBuilding Center are just a few of the resources where you can find what you need, donate what you don’t and tap into Portland’s reuse community through building supplies and materials. Check out the map for more resources, including salvage yards and online material exchanges.

Using salvaged or reclaimed building materials in your projects can save you money and offers many other benefits:

  • Adds character to your project
  • Supports the local economy
  • Offers period-appropriate fixtures, fittings and cabinetry and high quality materials (both aged and contemporary)
  • Allows for builder overstock or "new salvage" materials
  • Keeps building material tonnage out of the landfill

Here are some ideas where reuse can play a role:

  • Install salvaged wood floors in a kitchen or other room. Tip: If removing old linoleum flooring, have it tested for asbestos first.
  • Give a wall some bling and warmth using salvaged wood. It is easy to install because it goes right over existing drywall or plaster. Tip: Check out the WOW walls at Salvage Works
  • Furniture, wall art or built-ins are another DIY project that can involve reusing materials. Want a great dining room table? Pick up some unique salvaged lumber or slabs and have it planed/sanded. Tip: Creative Woodworking NW is a local resource that can assist in taking rough lumber and turning it into a smooth masterpiece.