Renovating? Reduce, Reuse, ReStore

One man's economic disaster is another man's swanky new kitchen island. According to a story in the Charlotte Observer, home owners looking to upgrade their countertops or bathroom vanity can find $90,000 worth of high-quality marble and granite at their local ReStore. Owned and operated by the nonprofit home-building organization, Habitat for Humanity, ReStore outlets raise money for future Habitat projects by selling donated goods and used building materials, in this case, overstock inventory from a recently closed business called Charlotte Marble and Granite.

The ability to waltz into a used building supply store and walk away with near brand new countertops is rare. At ReStores, you're much more likely to find second-life furniture, decorating supplies, home appliances and building equipment like pipes and wiring rather than pristine building materials. Since ReStore wares are sold at 50 to 70 percent off the retail price, the good stuff goes fast in a normal economy and even faster during depressed times when everyone is scrounging to save a buck.