To Thrift or Not to Thrift: Used construction goods


I'm not much of a shopper, but there's one place in Columbus that turns me into a kid in a candy store. That place is The Habitat For Humanity Build It Again Center.

The Center, a K-Mart-sized building on the north side of town, is jammed with building supplies donated by homeowners, contractors, and companies in the Columbus area. Everything from countertops to cabinets, conduit to concrete, stairs, doors, windows, and more are for sale. All is new or gently used and priced so reasonably you can't say no. What you see is what you get, though, so be prepared to work your plan to the size of your discoveries, rather than vice versa.

The profits go to support Habitat's programs, but that isn't the motivation behind the Center. Manager Rob Cramer told me that the main purpose for the program was to reduce the amount of serviceable goods that end up in the landfill.

The Center certainly does that. On any given day, he estimates 100-300 people can be found scouring the aisles for the right supplies to turn their pad into a palace.

Where else can you find such a win-win opportunity? Help reduce waste, help fund Habitat, and save yourself some serious coin. I'm looking for a new garage door, so you might just find me there. And remember, if there's anything especially cool for sale -- I saw it first.

This post was written as part of a series on how to thrift shop smarter. Read more on what to buy, and not to buy, at thrift stores.