Habitat Happenings

Blue Jeans Go Green at the ReStores

Do you have unwanted jeans sitting around? The average consumer has seven pairs! The next time you come to the ReStore to shop, donate, or volunteer, bring a couple to be recycled into housing insulation for communities in need! Habitat Wake ReStores have partnered with Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycle program and all five locations will be a collection point through June 4.

Since 2006, the Cotton Incorporated Blue Jeans Go Green program has helped rebuild communities by providing hundreds of thousands of square feet of UltraTouch Denim Insulation to Habitat for Humanity affiliates around the country.  Over that time span the program has diverted more than one million pieces of denim  — roughly 600 tons — from landfills, and created approximately two million square feet of insulation for communities in need. Thirteen houses currently under construction by Habitat Wake will include this insulation provided by Blue Jeans Go Green.

Make sure to bring your unwanted denim to the ReStores next time you’re passing by! Those jeans deserve a second life insulating a safe, affordable home.

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DIY Round-Up: 8 great ideas for cabinets

The warm weather is here, and it’s the perfect time of year to find new ways to reuse and re-purpose materials! DIY projects don’t have to be expensive or intimidating, and shopping at the ReStore makes it even easier.

The internet is full of different re-purposing ideas, so finding your next project can be tricky. One idea we love is finding new ways to re-purpose kitchen cabinets. Cabinets from the ReStore are an affordable way to make serving trays, chalkboards and so much more.

Why shop cabinets at the ReStore?

  • Whether you’re buying to re-purpose or you want a fresh set of cabinets in your kitchen, the ReStore has a great selection available.
  • Using recycled materials is a great way to shop green.
  • Supporting the ReStore helps Habitat Wake to build safe and affordable homes for our Wake County neighbors in need.
  • It helps you save money!

Check out our roundup of 8 ways to upcycle kitchen cabinets:

#1. Create a chalkboard and keep track of appointments, daily menus, and fun messages. (LollyJane)

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#2. Make trendy serving trays to use indoors or outdoors. (PumpkinPieCrafts)

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#3. Use them to display art created by your own little Picassos. (iheartorganizing)

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#4. Make your kids a play kitchen with real cabinets. (PurpleSageOriginals)

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#5. Save money on furniture and turn cabinets into a cool and unique headboard. (JenThousandWords)

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#6. Turn them into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind corner planter . (MyRepurposedLife)

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#7. With the help of some unique drawer pulls and door knobs, turn cabinets into hooks for your bathroom or mud room. (Brainstorm)

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#8. Turn cabinet doors into children’s desks. (MyRepurposedLife)

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ReStore ReMix Continues to Grow

Since the Fuquay-Varina ReStore began a paint recycling program in November 2015 — the only project of it’s kind in North Carolina — the store has reprocessed more than 3,000 gallons of paint that might otherwise have been put in the landfill or left to dry.Copy of IMG 651411 768x1024 ReStore ReMix Continues to Grow

The program, known as ReStore ReMix, was conceived by the ReStore management team and realized by Fuquay ReStore manager Ryan Stein and a regular ReStore volunteer, Tony Borzillo. Capitalizing on Ryan’s experience dealing with hazardous materials during his time in the military and Tony’s chemical knowledge from his work as a contractor, the two set up a paint recycling center in the back of the Fuquay-Varina store. Tony now runs the program during his three volunteer shifts each week.

IMG 098511 768x1024 ReStore ReMix Continues to Grow

To start the process, Tony sorts paint donations by color group and sheen. After accumulating about 55 gallons of a color group and sheen, he mixes the paint and then filters the mixture three times to remove lint from paint rollers and brushes, dust, and other dirt that may have been trapped in the original paint. The entire process takes about three days, although Tony often has multiple batches running at one time and averages 600 gallons a month.

After the new paint has been filtered, it is re-branded as ReMix paint and poured into one- and five-gallon recycled buckets. The Fuquay-Varina store team huddles up to brainstorm a North Carolina-themed name for the new hue, and the buckets hit the shelves in all five ReStores in Wake County. 

One gallon of improperly disposed paint can contaminate up to 250,000 gallons of drinking water, so instead of throwing away leftover paint, donate it to any of the five ReStores! Those cans will make their way to the Fuquay-Varina store, where they will be turned into new paint and see a second life. In order for donated paint to be recycled in the ReMix program, it must be in the original buckets with clearly labeled contents.

There are a lot of reasons to feel good about purchasing ReMix paint: it’s environmentally friendly, it’s inexpensive, and the dollars go to support Habitat Wake’s mission to build safe, affordable housing in Wake County.Copy of IMG 20151112 120637249 ReStore ReMix Continues to Grow


Tips for Refinishing a Nightstand

Your bedroom is the most personal room in your house, and your décor should reflect that. If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss trying to find just the right nightstand to complement your unique style, why not try your hand at refinishing one?

Even if you’ve had some less-than-desirable results with prior refinishing projects, here are a few tips for each stage of the process to help you create a nightstand you can be proud of.

Preparation Tips

Properly preparing your project may not be much fun, but it’s the key to achieving the finished look you want. Once you’ve removed all hardware and taken out the drawers you are ready to begin.

  • It’s important to thoroughly clean your piece before you begin the sanding and stripping process. Did you know that you can clean most pieces with a dishwashing liquid? Dishwashing liquid is made to cut through grease and grime and is a great alternative to the more expensive store-bought cleaners.
  • When sanding the top, sides or other large, flat areas, use a power sander. It’s important to remove all traces of the previous finish, especially if you plan to stain your nightstand. Although hand sanding isn’t the most expedient choice for large areas, keep some sandpaper on hand for those smaller places your sander can’t reach. Begin with 100-grit sandpaper and always sand in the direction of the grain.
  • If your nightstand has any carvings, grooves or crevices, you’ll need to use a chemical stripper. A gel works best for vertical surfaces because it will adhere better than a thinner liquid. Use steel wool to remove stubborn areas of the old finish, and wipe your piece down with mineral spirits if the stripper leaves a gooey residue. Always be sure to wear proper protection and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these chemicals.
  • In order to get the new finish you want, it’s imperative to remove all of the previous finish. Stains and some paints won’t take over old varnishes and veneers, detracting from your completed project. Once your nightstand is stripped to raw wood, go over it with 220-grit sandpaper for a uniformly smooth surface, then wipe down with a tack cloth to remove the dust.

Refinishing Tips

Depending on the look you want, you’re now ready to either stain or paint your nightstand. While painting is probably the easier option, stain can give it a more refined appearance. We’ve included tips for both processes so you can achieve the perfect finish, whichever way you decide to go.

  • There are many different types of paint and finishes to choose from. An oil-based paint gives a hard, durable finish, better leveling and a beautiful gloss, but it’s harder to clean up and messy to use. Latex paint, on the other hand, dries faster, resists cracking and yellowing, is available in different gloss options and is a breeze to clean up.
  • Paint also supplies its own finish – no need to add lacquers or polyurethanes. For a better appearance apply two coats, and if you want to save steps look for paint that contains a primer.
  • Stains also offer a variety of options. You can choose from oil-based, water-based, gel and even a one-step stain/finish option. Your choice will depend on how much grain you want to show and how easy you want the cleanup to be.
  • Apply your stain, then wipe off the excess with a rag. If you leave too much stain on the piece, it may remain tacky or take longer to dry. If you want a darker color you can always apply more than one coat. When wiping the excess, always be sure to follow the grain.
  • Whether you choose to paint or stain, you’ll need to let the coats dry. To avoid having to wash your brush every time you step away, wrap it in aluminum foil or place it in a zip-lock bag to keep it from drying out.

Top Coating Tips

If you paint your furniture you won’t need a top coat because paint works as its own sealer. If you stained the nightstand, you’ll need to apply a protective coating over the wood. As with paint, these sealers come in a variety of gloss options to give you exactly the look you want. One of the easiest and most forgiving sealers is polyurethane, which provides tough protection and a beautiful finish.

  • If you like the durability and beauty of an oil-based polyurethane but the convenience of water cleanup, try Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane. It has a less odor than the oil based versions, dries quickly and best of all, you don’t need harsh chemicals to clean up.
  • Apply three to four very thin finish coats using even brush strokes that follow the direction of the grain. Let each coat dry for about two hours. Sand lightly with 220-grit paper between each coat, then wipe with a tack cloth to remove the dust before you apply the next one.

Successfully refinishing furniture takes a little extra care, and doing it right can be time-consuming. However, that bit of extra time and attention will give you the quality finish you want and a unique, timeless piece you will always be proud to show off.


Megan Wild is a home improvement writer that focuses on sharing simple and “green” ways to improve your home. When she’s not reading or hiking, you can find her writing about her latest tips and tricks on her blog, Your Wild Home.

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