Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

My husband and I are of the kind of people that care about quality but don’t want to spend a lot of money for it. Sometimes, getting good quality for a fair price is possible, sometimes it is not. Here are a few experiences that I have made over the past year and a half.

The kitchen remodel:

  • Pulling out 2000 staples took a lot of time and finger strength but yielded a high quality birch floor that would cost quite a bit. Check that for the rest of the house minus the staples but plus glue. Paying someone else to sand and refinish the floors was the best money we spent. Go with the local small companies and ask if they have a cash discount. We got 10% off. Heard about it from our neighbors so ask your neighbors.

    Birch floors in kitchen after removing 3 layers of flooring and 2000 1" staples.

    Birch floors in kitchen after removing 3 layers of flooring and 2000 1" staples.

  • Kitchen cabinets: Go to your local ReStore. At certain times of the year they get over loaded with cabinets. We got ours on sale for 250 dollars. They were not cheap cabinets in their youth. Plywood construction instead of particle board and solid doors. New knobs and handles from Restoration Hardware make them look like very good cabinets.
  • Kitchen Sink: wanted an apron front sink with two basins, because we will not have a dish washer. Could have spent 1500 dollars on something like that but opted for the 300 dollar Domsjo model from Ikea plus the faucet for 70 dollars. (Prices have gone up a bit since we bought it) Built our own base because we didn’t want bad particle board ikea cabinet. As of today, that sink has seen some use and gotten scratched a bit. If I spend any more that 300 dollars on it, I would be very unhappy about these scratches but I can accept them as a sign of a well used sink.P1020480
  • Countertops: Again Ikea birch countertops 169.- for an 89″ length. Our floors are birch so it fits very nicely. Countertop has to be maintained but so does any butchertop countertop. It has taken onĀ  a nice patina and shows that we do live in our kitchen.
  • Stove: 150.- plus 25.- delivery. It is a 1950’s Kenmore gas stove with a integrated griddle or big burner for canning pot. Probably cost less in the 1950’s but sure cheaper than a new stove that size. Cooks food well and even has a child lock for the knobs.

    1950's Kenmore stove. Burners fully hide for extra counter space.

    1950's Kenmore stove. Burners fully hide for extra counter space.

  • Fridge: we bought the fridge brand new because we wanted an energy efficient model. Buy a small fridge and keep it full, instead of a big fridge that is empty. It saves you money over time. Plus you eat fresher foods since you don’t have enough room to store them forever.

So we spent about 1700 dollars on these above items. In my book, that’s not bad, especially since I didn’t get cheap, badly constructed items, have diverted things from the landfill, have restored the orginal beauty of my home and don’t feel bad about a scratch or stain.


  • Bought “light” prairie style futon off of craigslist for 80.-, bought upholstery fabric from an outlet store (SR Harris) and made my own cover in the color that I wanted. 40.- so 120.- for a nice looking couch that fits our small house
  • Light fixture in dining room. $2.50 on 50% off light fixture sale at ReStore. We were only on our bikes that day because we were on a bike tour vacation. Since we knew we would be through the town on our way back with our car, we paid for it and they stored it for us for free.
  • Buying things on ebay. Check out the Buy it Now Only section. Then you know your price and you don’t have to put yourself through the anxienty of bidding. But sometimes bidding is fun, too.
  • Shop the curb: we “bought” both our cat trees on the curb. That type is usually expensive with real tree limbs and nice carpet. The cats don’t care.
  • Salvage things for your own home. Don’t just dumbster things you are tearing out. A lot of time you can reuse that 2×4 or that sheet of plywood. We salvaged the picture moulding, stripped and refinished it and put it back on the walls a bit differently. If you don’t want something, but it is in good shape, give it to someone that can use it. I gave away the doors and trim from our upstairs because they weren’t original to the house.
  • And if possible, you can try to recycle building materials that can’t be reused. You local dumpster company can probably give you some info on that.

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