About this time every year, I share with you tips on spring cleaning. People always say they’re restyling or downsizing and need to make room for new pieces. Well, what to do with the “old?”

If the piece is in perfectly good condition, it’s too good to leave on the curb for hauling away, and you don’t want it taking up space in our landfills.


So here’s my tip: Donate furniture, building materials and appliances to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. This is a non-profit home improvement donation center and store that sells new and used furniture, accessories, building materials and appliances at a fraction of the retail price. I recently found out about ReStore, and I’ve donated my own things as well as pieces for a client. You’ll feel good about your piece finding a new life in another home.

You also can write off your donation. And here’s the kicker, while many charities have stopped accepting furniture, once you’ve sent in photos and ReStore accepts your items, they’ll even come and pick them up.

So, who does this benefit? I know lots of do it yourselfers who are looking for materials, doors, siding, glass pieces and tile to create fun and fantastic projects at flea-market prices. This also is beneficial for students, first-time homebuyers and contractors looking for great deals.


You may find a treasure or come across something that you can restore yourself. Or you can help an amazing organization like Habitat for Humanity, which helps low-income families build new homes and new lives. Also you’ll help ReStore keep more than 140 tons of discarded items a year from going into landfills.

As you can see from the photo, this island-style living room set is in perfectly good condition. It’s comfortable and clean — just not in coordination with the style I’ll be redesigning my client’s home in. Everything from the sofa to the coffee table, and even the wool rug, was donated to ReStore.

So if it’s time for your spring cleaning, where you’ll be changing things up and decluttering, why not think about donating? Also, stop by ReStore and see what treasure you’ll find; it helps the environment and it’s good for the soul. ReStore is located at 922 Austin Lane in Honolulu.


Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit And keep up with Cathy’s dream home makeover at her photo blog, Homefront.