I just returned from my first trip to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Our dishwasher, which we’ve been having trouble with for about three years now, needs to be replaced. Before we pony up hundreds of dollars for a brand new dishwasher, I really want to check out all the used options.


We found one dishwasher that my husband is now thinking over. For $65 plus the cost a replacement hose, he thinks it might work. He’s letting his thoughts marinate right now, knowing full well that the dishwasher could be gone when we decide to go back.

Have you ever been to a ReStore? I have to tell you: I was incredibly impressed. They sell building supplies, furniture, lighting, appliances, kitchen items and more that have been donated. Some items are surplus building materials; some are used but still-in-good-condition items from a residential upgrade. The ReStore will even take a spare sheet of wallboard that a do-it-yourselfer has leftover from a room remodel. All proceeds from sales at ReStore benefit Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to being financially beneficial to shoppers, ReStores are environmentally and socially beneficial, too. ReStore resale outlets “provide an environmentally and socially responsible way to keep good, reusable materials out of the waste stream while providing funding for Habitat’s community improvement work.”

The prices at the Pennsauken, N.J., ReStore were fantastic. A lot of the furniture I saw was priced lower than what I see at Goodwill, and a lot of it was quality. Take the cute yellow hutch to the left. It was only $50. I know it would be twice that much at Goodwill and probably twice that much at a yard sale in my area. It’s absolutely adorable as-is for someone who wants something a little whimsical, and it would only take a quick coat of paint to make it fit in with any décor. I saw many pieces of furniture that I wanted to take home with me. (I had to keep reminding myself that we were only there for a dishwasher.)

My husband was blown away at the prices for doors, windows, cabinets and hardware. There were old wooden doors that are hard to find and old and new hardware for reasonable prices. He saw new doorknobs and latches for half of what he’d get them for at a home improvement store and a few old hardware pieces that just aren’t available on the retail market anymore. He kept saying things like, “I wish I had known about this when…” All I could say back was, “Well, now we know.” We will definitely be checking at ReStore anytime we're doing work on the house now.

The rows of cabinets pictured to the right are a fraction of the price they’d be new. The 24” high double door top cabinets were $40 each. The lower cabinets were priced accordingly. They looked brand new, probably left over from a builder who didn’t use them. They’d be perfect for a small kitchen remodel or even a laundry room that needed some wall cabinets for extra storage.

The store also had flooring, sinks, toilets, paint, shutters, clothes washers, dryers, stoves, lighting, small kitchen appliances, and much, much more. One thing to keep in mind: All sales are final. Make sure your measurements are correct and that you really want the piece. That's one of the reasons we didn't leave with the dishwasher today.

If you’re looking to replace an appliance like we are or do an entire kitchen (or other room) remodel, I’d say to look at Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore before you make any purchases. You never know what you’ll find there, and it just may save you hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars. And, if you’ve got perfectly usable items you’re replacing, your donations to ReStore are tax deductible. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Habitat for Humanity's ReStore is worth the trip
The stores sell reusable and surplus building materials and a whole lot more to the public at amazing prices.