I’ve admitted it a few times now – I’m a little bit of a building materials/home decor hoarder. (See Building Moxie in a Bagster Bag.)

building materials horder

Confessions of a Building Material Hoarder

Beyond that, I seem also to be lacking basic organizational skills. Or at least a system.

I am seeking help, ha! and really this can be traced back to my time working for a builder. I’d regularly divert materials from the dumpster. Not necessarily waste, just overstock – perfectly good surplus.

A good example of this is the trim I used in my powder room, a redo from a few years back. That material came out of a stack of 1x left laying for ruin under a 12-inch mound of snow. Consequently, it had been slated for the dumpster bottom. But after a tough truck ride home and a kiss from my router, I turned it into a simple yet unique coved molding – enough to do the door trim and a few other elements for our powder room redo.

Wainscoating Custom Routed Cap Salvaged Door

For that same project I used tile too, at least the primary field tile, which was an overbuy (not on me) from a basement project I was involved in. The wall paneling I used here – I pulled from the basement ceiling downstairs in the very same house I am in (remember that Johnny T.?).

There was no insulation below and much of our plumbing, electric, heating, etc had to be reconfigured anyway in the joist space it covered. Made sense (to me), plus it got a much better use elsewhere. I just cut away the demo damage still leaving myself enough material to do a room.

All that, and I haven’t even mentioned that bifold door, which was salvaged and cut down for this room.

Making a Bi-Fold Door :: Salvaged from a Solid Wood Door


Shopping the House is a Lot Safer and Clearer than Dumpster Diving

Now, one blog I follow pretty regularly is Sarah Fogle‘s Ugly Duckling House. Towards the end of last year, she was doing her normal normal, updating us on the progress in her kitchen (her current project), when she slipped in this quick (throw-away :~) ) post >>  Home Shopping Network.  On receiving it in my inbox, I scrolled quickly through and filed it away in my “Feeds” folder. It didn’t hit me until later, on my drive home, what she was actually talking about.

In the post, she was talking about searching her house, and finding an un-accounted for wicker basket that would work as a trashbin in her laundry room (hopefully she doesn’t mind that I am borrowing that image for here).

via the Ugly Ducking House

via the Ugly Ducking House

And … she was talking about something many of us do. A phrase, and maybe I’ve even used in casual conversation … she was talking about Shopping the House – searching your house for something that is, well, just lying around, taking up precious storage space perhaps, and that in its present, unused state could maybe help finish (or maybe it even helps inspire) that current project at hand. A double win because not only are you putting unused materials, you already have, to good use… BUT you are also actually decluttering ha! while you do it.

Shopping the House for Supplies

I did it with my recent DIY Security Bars. Every single material used in that project (except 1” nylon spacers) came from *my store*. While maybe not the most ideal or most elegant, it saved me money and it saved me the time of having to hunt for, and make at least a trip to purchase materials.

DIY Security Bars on a Basement Window

I did it with Making these Shelf Brackets which hold my TV components. I broke down a chair that had lived past its usable life, putting the wood (teak – ooo baby) to good use. (This project too cost me $0.)

Would This Article Also Help?  Small Closet Redo :: Coming out of the Closet on the Coat Closet

TV Components Shelf Brackets Salvaged from a Chair

And … I did it with building a birdhouse.

Building Moxie birdhouse for Baltimore Bloggers 2013


You Can’t Spell Home Improvement without the word *Improv*

It is something I have called smart salvage, BUT I really don’t know if that phrase is representative enough. Not just reusing or repurposing, but salvaging items and/or even materials right from your own house.

As we head into 2014, and looking at what will continue to trend – I see no signs that the “Junk Thrifty RePurpose Thang” will slow. I have been vocal at times that these terms, this practice sometimes gets over-employed. (Maybe see my bits in this post for American Standard – “Earth Day Tips from Bloggers”.)

Trends Gone Wild?!

(See: Decks Made of Pallet Wood, et al and I can’t even bring myself to link to it) – purposefully going out of ones way to turn a thing into something completely different, and un-intended in its original form.

Sure, I have seen many creative projects, and many do it very well, but I sometimes feel only a rare left-for-dead item really deserves that new life, and your time. A yard sale find, for a few dollars, may at times produce, well, magic. Sure. But please be advised that many of those inspiring pins you see, and those that do it well usually have production crews, good cameras – which they know how to use, an eye for styling, and pickin’! and/or at least some sense for good lighting.

Now, I don’t want to come off sounding totally down on “Thriftin’” (In fact, see my interview from last summer with Junk Star and friend Donna Williams) but I do want to say – make sure to check what you already have, in your own “store”, and never forget to Shop the House!


Do You Shop the House?

That’s it. Do you have any great projects that came about as a result of shopping your house? I would love for you to share in the comments below.

My buddy Sharon Hines says, quote, “Anytime that I can shop my home or reuse something already in my home that’s my first go-to!” (Get out! I saw this after I set this post up. ha!)

My next shop the house project – hang the climbing cat, finally, and pimping out a “cat decor corner” (yes, really) – likely now using this shelf I found buried in my basement.

tiny wood shelf with cast metal brackets

Thank You. For more on the topics of Salvage and Repurposing, see our categories, here and there. ~jb