Building and Buying it Green

By John Martin

When it comes to buying furniture, I insist on finding a deal. In college, do-it-yourself shelving from Target was the answer to my growing CD and book collections. When it came time to furnish my apartment after graduation, Ikea got most of my money.

A few weeks ago, phase three of my bargain-furniture-purchasing life began when I came across Build It Green! NYC.
Build It Green! is a unique nonprofit that fills a useful niche. When contractors, building owners and anyone else is looking to move slightly used furniture or construction materials, Build It Green swoops in and takes it off their hands, free of charge. Instead of idling uselessly in some landfill forever, the furniture is put on display in the Build It Green! warehouse in Astoria, where the public can peruse its aisles. Although everything is assigned a price upon arrival, customers are encouraged to haggle if the cost is out of their price range.

Last Saturday, I came looking for a storage unit for my dad’s basement. Like most dads with basements, mine has too much stuff lying around, so I was hoping to help get him more organized. Although I didn’t find the perfect fit (the one piece that came close to what I was looking for had just been sold), the trip was worth it, if only for the educational experience.

Many of the thousands of items for sale were in need of a good cleaning, but just about everything was well-built and in good condition— there were enough ovens, cabinets, countertops, bathroom fixtures, chairs and tables to furnish a small upstate New York town. If you come in with time to browse, there’s a good chance you’ll find something useful, typically at a surprising price. Better yet, all Build It Green! NYC profits support environmental education, so you can be satisfied that your money is being put to good use.

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