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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.  

Show your creative spirit this Halloween

Show your creative spirit this Halloween

Clever costumes and Portland seem to go hand-in-hand this time of year. One idea shared with Resourceful PDX was from a mom who created Halloween witch costumes for her two young daughters – out of a 80’s style, black lacy prom dress!

Start planning now for your own Halloween costume, and take advantage of all the great resources Portland offers for making, swapping or renting a costume.

Make a costume

Used clothing and reused craft supply stores allow you to create a unique and inexpensive costume of your own making.

  • Find cool homemade costume ideas online. Pinterest offers a wealth of ideas to inspire you! Explore ways to get crafty, adorn a costume, and make hair wreaths or masks.
  • Find all kinds of fabric and supplies at SCRAP for super low prices and costume ideas on their website.

Reuse a costume

There are great finds lurking throughout the city. Consignment, second hand and thrift stores are great resources for costumes, or clothes to make costumes. They also often have used costumes for sale leading up to Halloween.

  • Vintage clothing shops abound in Portland, with clothing options for all decades.
  • Many children’s resale shops have kids’ costumes as well.
  • Bonus! Chinook Book offers coupons for many Portland area resale shops and the Resourceful PDX map shows Resale Shops too!
  • Or attend or plan a costume swap – your friend’s costume from last year may be perfect for you this year.

Rent a costume

Short on time or crafty abilities to make your own? Renting gives you options for a stand-out costume.

 

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.

Swapping is more than give and take

Swapping is more than give and take

“I think swapping is invaluable to communities,” said Shay Mullins at the Spring Stuff Swap. “You are able to receive things you need and get rid of things that might otherwise be tossed out.”

Swap Positive has been hosting community swaps for 11 years in Portland. Swaps bring together volunteer coordinators, donated venues and swappers who bring clean items in good condition to share, at no cost. Items remaining at the end of a swap are donated.

Shay has lived in Portland for nearly 6 years. She grew up in Southwest Florida going to garage sales and “would dumpster dive after the Ringling School of Art and Design let out, and collect copious amounts of art supplies and other non-garbage items that were thrown away,” she said. “I used to use Freecycle, but here in Portland, the giving atmosphere is different and swaps abound, so I ended up moving into those circles rather than staying with what worked elsewhere.”

Shay has participated in and volunteered for dozens of clothing and ‘stuff’ swaps. She loves the culture of giving at community swaps.

“I participate in clothing swaps a couple times a year and have been coming to each biannual stuff swap for four years now.”

One of her favorite parts about participating at a swap is the possibilities. “I love finding things that I need or that someone I know needs. I actually ask my friends for things that they may need so I can keep an eye out for them at the swap.”

“I also like witnessing someone receive an item that they've been wanting for a long time, or needed but couldn't justify purchasing for whatever reason – that ‘paired up’ moment when someone finds something that they need, want, or love. It's elating!”

Another worthwhile element for her is knowing the items she brings that aren’t taken won’t be sold. The remaining items go to organizations and individuals who give them away, in the spirit of sharing. No money ever changes hands. Everyone involved gets to be with other kind, generous, thrifty, sustainability-minded people. That is the mission of Swap Positive Free Swaps.

Are you ready to swap? View our event calendar for upcoming events. Or visit Swap Positive's About Swaps page to learn more and get your questions answered on the FAQ page.

Find more stories about swapping in Portland. #sharingcommunity

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.

 


Oregon takes steps toward more reuse

Cindy Correll, Reuse Alliance Oregon chair and Resourceful PDX partner, shares an update on reuse and repair in Oregon.

Reuse Alliance has a vision of making reuse a mainstream part of people’s lives and as common as recycling currently is in our culture.

The Oregon Legislature recently passed two new laws that involve reuse and repair. Senate Bill 245 and Senate Bill 263 set goals and make funding available to develop programs to increase the practice of reuse and repair.

This creates exciting opportunities to increase the public’s awareness of and participation in the practice of reuse and repair.

The new laws support implementation of Materials Management in Oregon: 2050 Vision and Framework for Action. While earlier versions of this plan focused mostly on recycling efforts and managing waste, the 2050 plan addresses the full life cycle of materials (from raw materials, to manufacturing, purchasing and use, to disposal). It establishes a foundation for our state to use fewer raw materials and to get the most out of the resources we do consume. Reuse and repair play a big role in maximizing the useful life of the manufactured goods that are part of our daily lives.

Highlights from SB 263 addressing reuse and repair include:

  • Waste prevention and reuse education programs in elementary and secondary schools.
  • Funding or infrastructure support to promote and sustain reuse, repair, leasing or sharing efforts.
  • Technical assistance to promote and sustain reuse, repair or leasing of materials or other sharing efforts to reduce waste.

SB 245 will make grants available to government agencies, nonprofits and businesses that want to implement programs in support of the reuse and repair goals outlined in Oregon’s 2050 plan.

With grant funds becoming available early next year, it will take some time before we begin to see results from this important new legislation. Over the next few years, expect to see new, innovative programs that give you more options for reusing and repairing your belongings.

Resourceful PDX gives Portland residents tools and ideas for reducing waste

Get involved with reuse and repair now by tapping into what exists in the community already. Explore Portland’s many second-hand stores to find new-to-you clothing, furniture, electronics, household or craft items and salvage building materials.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, how-to classes and online tutorials can help you improve your sewing, bike or home repair skills quickly. There are also community resources, such as Repair PDX and local repair shops, that can fix anything from clothing and shoes, to furniture, tools, electronics, appliances and more.

As you’re repairing, reusing, borrowing and sharing, remember that you’re blazing the trail for others to follow. Keep up the good work!