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Posted by Mary in PA on 11/29/2009

I’m not a shopper – except for land of course. ;-) I guess I have interest in land/acreage the way some people have an interest in electronics or designer shoes. But my interest doesn’t carry through to appliances and such. So knowing that I have to source and buy everything for this project – well, a bit daunting. But nonetheless we got our O-B purchasing off to a good albeit unglamorous start with our first purchase; two 250 lb. rolls of geotextile fabric for the gravel driveway we've put in.


Prior to this project, I had never shopped or even visited Craig’s List or eBay – as I said, not a shopper. Now I check out Craig’s List all the time. I’ve seen a few things that would be useful – a nice laundry room tub, exterior steel door. But no purchases yet.


I went to a building supply auction run by Peak Auctioneering. Didn’t buy, but good learning experience. And it is interesting to hear how others on the O-B board have used auctions. Peak will be running two other auctions within driving distance in December and March, so I hope I can get my buyer’s hat on for those events. There is another auction near me that is a regular thing – once a month. It is different than the Peak Auctions in that this regular local auction seems to have more odds and ends – consignments from individuals who happen to have leftover stuff, and some stuff in pretty rough condition. But, if you’re willing to sift through and spend all day waiting for the item to come up, then I guess it could be worth it… If you’re the type that likes shopping, comparing prices and the thrill of the buy then I could see this being really fun. I’m not sure I’m that type – but I’m trying to at least cultivate an interest since buying smart is part-and-parcel of a successful O-B project.


I also regularly visit the websites of the building-supply-surplus places in my general area, such as Ironstone. I’m starting to see trends; new things that come in, go fast… the issues with finding a full set of windows all the same spec for a house, and so on. I got pretty excited over a recent find of a complete set of Andersen 400 Low-E windows for a house – I mean like 10 windows all one size and spec – very close in size to the 10 I need – and then various other windows in different sizes. The sizes were a bit larger than what our draft plan calls for, but would still be doable – actually a nice upgrade. And all for $4K. Wow! So I go to the Andersen site to check out the detailed specs on the windows and find they are “replacement” windows, not for new construction. Oh well. Keep looking.


And then there is the good ‘ol big-box store. I signed up for the sale circulars. But honestly, I’m starting from ground zero on what this stuff costs, what’s a decent deal vs. a real ‘steal’. I moved into my current house over 15 years ago with builder-grade appliances and have been using them happily ever since… so like I said – not a shopper.


So on this recent Black Friday I find I have a  new topic to explore, figure out and take action on. That’s the OB experience. It’s all good.

Posted by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 11/29/2009

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I feel your pain, Mary. My husband buys my 'personal' clothes for me because I am such a lousy shopper. Hang in there on finding what you need to build your house. You'll get some good deals, and then sometimes you won't.
Posted by Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 11/29/2009

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Stop into your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore or Habitat General Store next time you are in town and see what they have. Everything from brand-new stuff still in the wrapper to complete junk but most of it is good salvaged building supplies. Doors, windows, tons of tile, everything you can imagine really. Every location is different so get familiar with all the locations near you. I just recently bought a brand new solid-core door there for $26. Someone had started to prime it on one side, so I had to finish primer and paint, but it saved me a lot of money and the money raised through these stores goes back into supporting Habitat for Humanity so they can build more houses. I also donate my excess building materials there, too. Big stuff I don't have room to store, like a half a roll of carpet padding I had sitting in my garage taking up space that is surely now in someone's house instead of taking up space in my garage, or worse yet the dump. Here is the URL to find a store near you:

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