Your Garbage Could Be Someone's Treasure
STEP ONE: make a list
Start by making a list of materials you will need for the project. This way you know immediately when you see something interesting whether or not you can use it. Try to avoid just purchasing items with a "maybe this will work...somewhere..." attitude. You will end up spending a lot of time & money needlessly.
You also will want to track your list. I use a spreadsheet with at least the following columns:
- item (doors, windows, sinks, flooring, etc.)
- location (this helps you keep track of your salvage items)
- minimum size (what's the smallest your item can be)
- maximum size (what's the largest your item can be)
- special requirements & notes (to help you remember any specifics)
The goal is to have a shopping list to take with you as you go salvage hunting, with reminders of any limitations or special needs that each item has.
This built-in nook makes use of a salvaged church pew, cut to fit. (The client had "two 4-foot nook benches" in their shopping list.)
STEP TWO: prioritize your list
Big items that can save you the most money include, doors & windows (see more info below), cabinets & counters, fixtures, and flooring. Other items can include framing lumber, railings, overstock insulation, patio pavers, etc. You can prioritize your list one of two ways:
- By construction timing - which item do you need first, second, third, etc. to keep your construction process flowing smoothly. I think this method is best if your plan is to do your salvage hunting concurrent with the construction process.
- By which items can provide the greatest cost savings potential, such as windows, doors, and cabinets. This allows you to start looking for the items that give you the biggest dollar savings for your time spent, and by the time you get to the smaller items on the list you will be a salvage pro.
If you aren't sure how much energy you have in you for the salving hunt, then I would do option #2. That way, if you start getting overwhelmed by the salvaging, at least you have collected big savings items.
This interior door is an old salvage door with single-pane glass... not suitable for exterior use...but great for creating interior sound
separation while keeping visual connection between the spaces.