Home improvement projects can be very costly. For example, according to VictoriaPlum, it takes an average of £4,500 to remodel a bathroom in the UK. However, these costs can be significantly less if you do it yourself. You can save even more money if you use reclaimed building materials, such as reclaimed bathroom tile and a reclaimed toilet from rubbish clearance, rather than heading to your nearest B&Q or Homebase to buy brand new materials. Beyond saving money, you’ll also be helping to save the environment by diverting these items from their usual destination: the landfill! The following are tips on where to find reclaimed building materials.
Rescue Items From Your Neighborhood Rubbish Clearance Piles
As you walk your dog or drive around your neighborhood, develop a habit of checking out the rubbish clearance piles in your area. If you see something that you can use in a home improvement project, the owners of the rubbish will usually be very happy to see it put to good use rather than cleared away by Clearabee or the council service. Wear this habit as a badge of honor and people will respect you for it. They may even follow in your footsteps. You can also be on the lookout for items your friends and neighbors need.
Freecycle has become internationally famous in less than 15 years because it’s an organization that helps people give away stuff that they would otherwise be put out for rubbish clearance. Although most people refer to this amazing service as simply Freecycle, the formal name is The Freecycle Network (TFN). The non-profit originated around 2003 as a few Yahoo groups serving the Tucson, Arizona area, but the idea became so popular, it soon spread to other states and countries. As Freecycle grew, it became better organized and developed a web based platform with volunteers running each local section. The motto for Freecycle is “Changing the world one gift at a time.” Searching through Freecycle is like a treasure hunt because you never know what you’re going to find. Once you join a local Freecycle group, you can get a daily listing of items sent directly to your email. You can also post “Wanted” ads to ask for specific items. There’s even a “Search Post” feature that allows you to see if the item you want is already listed.
In spirit, Freegle is very similar to Freecycle and is based in the UK. It began after several UK chapters of Freecycle decided to break away over disputes on how things were being run by Freecycle. The result is that the UK now has TWO major freecycling groups to rummage through and find free items that can be put to good use! Freegle’s motto is “Don’t throw it away, give it away!” One improvement to Freegle over Freecycle has been a mobile app that allows easier access to Freegle’s offerings. It works on iOS, Android, and Kindle devices. Just like with Freecycle, you can also post ads when looking for specific items.
Many people don’t realize this but under the “For Sale” portion of Craiglist’s home page is a “Free” section. This section can be a goldmine, especially when people are moving, and often includes pictures of the free items ready for pickup. We suggest to bookmark the “Free” section of your local Craigslist and check it daily. Craigslist has been around informally since 1995 and was incorporated in 1999 so it got a jump on all other similar services and therefore receives tons of traffic and listings. You may also want to periodically check the “Skilled Trade” section under “Services” and ask the handymen advertising there to be on the lookout for the items you most need.
Put Out a Request On Social Media
If you have specific items in mind, it never hurts to ask. Many people hate throwing stuff away so they may just have an old toilet and a pile of bathroom tile secretly stored away in their garage or basement. You could also put out a more generic request, depending on your project. For example, you could say, “With the baby on the way, we’d like to start making a nursery. We’d like to do this in an ecofriendly way and reuse old items rather than buy new items. If anyone has items to donate, please let us know.” You may be surprised at the overwhelming response you get.
Ask Your Family, Friends, and Neighbors
Again, you never know until you ask! Before your family and friends call Clearabee to schedule a rubbish clearance, you may just luck out! You may find the reclaimed building materials you are looking for and a few items you didn’t even know you wanted! The best way to go about using these items for your do it yourself projects is to be creative and flexible and put to good use whatever gems you are offered!