News and Events

  • Why We Salvage by Sheena Hewett

    We are pleased to feature a post written by our in house design consultant, Sheena Hewett. This post originally appeared on her personal blog. Infuse your project with Sheena's salvage expertise by setting up a consultation today. Rates begin at $45/hour.

    Salvage is a few things today in 2014. To start, it is a culture. Resourceful people use things through its lifecycle, cleaning, fixing, and caring for it all the way to the end. Salvage is also a response to the consumerist tendencies of the public and market since industrialization and the development of mass-manufacturing. It is also just one response or facet to the sustainability movement which has taken hold in the building and design communities locally and, across the world.

    There are many reasons why one might choose to salvage but time definitely is not one of them. It is often much easier or faster to go out and buy a new “one”, whatever that “one” might be. If you do choose to fix that thing you’re learning or practicing skills. You have the opportunity to learn from someone or teach someone that skill. When you fix or build something you gain satisfaction knowing you built that thing and hopefully you saved something from being collected at your local landfill, buried in the earth or crushed into a cube, loaded onto a ship, transported to half way around the world, added to their dump piles, set on fire, toxic smoke rising into the sky, ashes tossed around or inhaled by people and animals. By salvaging you have just avoided that entire scenario.

    When you look at a map and locate a salvage yard you can often identify the reuse community around or in close proximity to it. If you cannot, you will be able to find it soon enough. Many who don’t know of this phenomenon yet will learn from someone at sometime soon because it catches like wildfire. One salvage yard crops up starting a revolution, others come by its magical powers and discover this long buried love for finding that treasure or deal. Soon these people are opening their own salvage companies and not really competing, but collaborating because let's face it, today there is more than enough "junk" to go around!


    No matter where you choose to shop salvage you’re likely saving money and with good reason. That light fixture you’re buying as it sits at the time of your purchase has a little less life in it than it did brand new. Maybe it needs to be rewired, perhaps it is missing one or all of its bobeches… above all and for everyone’s sanity, I hope it hasn’t been painted.

    I personally don’t have much money. I pay bills, student loans, buy food, but I have this uncontrollable urge to create and build things and I enjoy working with constraints. 

    Using salvage and choosing when to "splurge" on new or special items allows me to create, to explore, practice, and hone skills, to beautify my world in more than one way. I feel great about repurposing "trash" or "junk" into something funtional and beautiful. I love the accomplished feeling I get when I complete something and tell people about it... even better when I sell it! I just hope this inspires someone to start that project, find something old, learn something new, and create something wonderful then tell someone about it. 

  • Second Use Design Services

    If you are seeking design direction on a specific salvage project, consider hiring a salvage design specialist. Second Use's in-house designer Sheena Hewett offers a wide range of design services including schematic spacial designs; full service custom furniture design and build; material and product matching; and much more.
    Discover the financial, environmental, and architectural benefits of salvage by setting up a consultation with Sheena today. Rates start at $45/hr.
    EMAIL |   CALL |  206-763-6929   READ | Sheena's Blog


  • FREE Workshop | Designing with Salvaged Materials with Hammer Like a A Girl

    Sunday, May 18th | 11-12:30 | At Second Use | FREE

    Do you wander through Second Use wondering and wishing you could repurpose some of the awesome stuff into your home or life, but end up leaving it all behind for another day – again?

    Heidi, Monica and Mary Jean, creators of the DIY blog Hammer Like A Girl, will be here to share some of their projects and tips to help you envision and then reshape salvaged materials into unique home improvements and functional art. Their projects range from transforming a discarded old car jack into a light fixture, to reusing multiple materials collected (sometimes stored for years) into a bathroom remodel that will knock your socks off.

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  • The Second Use Material Compensation Guide

    We are frequently asked about how we compensate for materials. Here is a quick guide to your options the next time you make a drop off:

    Pass it on – just get rid of it already!  Save on dump fees, feel good about passing along something useable, and help us fulfill our mission as a community partner.  This is always the quickest, no-hassle way to drop off your materials at Second Use, and we’ll always take the widest range of materials for donation.  Visit our Acceptance Policy for more details.

    Ask for a tax receipt for your donation to support Habitat for Humanity.  Looking to itemize your deductions this year?  We can accept charitable donations on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.  We’ll retail the materials, give HfH half of the sale price, and you’ll get a charitable donation receipt with an itemized list of your donations.

    Sell your materials for store credit or cash.  So you’ve got the good stuff?  We’ll pay cash or store credit for materials that are in good condition and of good quality, and we’ll pay even more if they are in high demand.  If your materials fall in the “Marginal Styles” category in our Acceptance Policy, we probably won’t be able to invest in them, but we would still love to save them!

    For that special find, we’ll consign.  Do you have something so special that it might take a little time to find the right buyer?  We can offer a consignment arrangement for a unique, high-value, or otherwise special item where we may not want to invest up front, and the seller is looking for maximum value.  We reserve the right to decline consignments, so please seek approval via emailed photos prior to loading up, and, while you won’t need an appointment, keep in mind that a consignment transaction takes longer than other drop-offs.

    For additional questions, don't hestiate to contact our Receiving Department directly at 206-763-6929 x3 or

  • NW Green Homes Tour This Weekend

    Second Use is proud to sponsor Opperman + Others' Seward Park home (5515 S. Orcas St, Seattle, WA) at the NW Green Homes Tour this Saturday! The free tour takes place from 11 am to 5 pm and features over 30 homes in the Seattle Area. 

    The Opperman + Others site offers a compelling take on how to efficiently blend salvaged and non-toxic materials into a green oasis.  We will be there all day to answer your questions about salvage and offer you some Second Use swag!

    For more information about the tour, please check out The NW Green Homes Tour Website

  • Community Plant Sale + Garden Demonstrations + Cold Frame Workshop

    Second Use invites you to join us this Sunday, April 6th for our first annual Community Plant Sale, Garden Demonstration Day. The free event will be held from 11-2 at our store in SODO (3223 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 9834) and offers a range of garden activities including:

    PLANT SALE: Local vendors will offer a wide variety of plants including edible natives, salvaged plants and trees, shrubs, various grasses, ferns, and other interesting varietals to get your garden growing.

    DEMONSTRATIONS: Second Use will display a number of creative planter solutions derived from salvaged materials and offer free, on site consultations.

    SALE: All items in the outdoor yard (stone, windows, bricks, gardening fixtures, lumber, tubs, etc) will be an additional 15% off for the duration of the plant sale. Burlap will be available for JUST A BUCK.

    COLD FRAME WORKSHOP: Seattle author and gardener Bill Thorness will present a workshop on Salvaged Cold Frames from 12-1 during the sale. It is free to attend but requires an RSVP to Further information on the workshop is avaliable on our blog.

    We encourage you to share this event with the gardener in your life and look forward to seeing you Sunday!

  • Second Use Featured on The Reclaimed Wood Blog

    Greg Cater of The Reclaimed Wood Blog recently paid a visit to Second Use for a tour with our receiving manager, Wes Isbell.  Cater details his visit in his recent article, "Salvage Made Easy."

    "There are several reasons why we go to the salvage yard, " the article begins.  "It might be the thrill of the hunt, to save a buck or two, or maybe we just can’t bear to see good things going to the landfill. No matter the reason, when you think about the salvage yard, what probably comes to mind is piles of disorganized building materials and way too much time spent hoping you’ll find what you’re looking for. If that’s your perception I’m pretty sure you haven’t stopped in at Second Use in Seattle."

    Greg highlights our organized storefront, online inventory, and relationship with Habitat for Humanity.  We couldn't be more thankful for his recognition and encourage you to check out the full article on The Reclaimed Wood Blog.

  • Upcoming Workshop: Cold Frame Edibles

    This workshop wil take place on April 6th as part of our Community Plant Sale + Demonstration Day. Participation is free, but will be restricted to 40 guests. RSVP today!

    April 6th, 12:00 PM | Cold Frame Edibles: How to Grow Food in Your DIY Cold Frame

    Growing vegetables in a cold frame made from salvaged windows or other materials is a fun way to extend the gardening season. You can start earlier in the spring, grow later into the fall, and give your hot summer veggies a great start. Bill Thorness, Seattle author of Cool Season Gardener: Extend the Harvest, Plan Ahead, and Grow Vegetables Year Round, will tell you how to get the most from your cold frame. He’ll show different designs, discuss easy building projects, and even lead a stroll through Second Use, pointing out useful materials for your garden. You can also pick up a copy of his book after the talk.

    About Bill Thorness:

    Bill Thorness is a writer and gardener who’s been doing both in Seattle since the mid-1980s. He is the author of Cool Season Gardener: Extend the Harvest, Plan Ahead, and Grow Vegetables Year Round and Edible Heirlooms: Heritage Vegetables for the Maritime Garden. He writes about gardening for many regional publications, including The Seattle Times and PCC Sound Consumer. He also wrote the bestselling bicycling guidebook Biking Puget Sound: 50 Rides from Olympia to the San Juans. He is active in many regional greening organizations, including Seattle Tilth and Master Gardeners, and was recently named the 2014 “Sustainable Hero” by Sustainable Seattle. See his work at

  • Second Use is Hiring!

    Position: Salvage & Customer Service Team Member

    At Second Use Building Materials, Inc., we are building relationships with clients to salvage and reclaim building materials, while offering a retail environment that enables customers to find and utilize reusable building materials for their projects.

    Salvage Store Team Member work will likely include:

    • Providing customer service in our Sodo warehouse
    • Unloading/loading of materials
    • Cashiering
    • Answering phones
    • Maintaining a safe and organized work environment
    • Weekend work

    An ideal candidate will have these qualifications:

    • Able to lift 75+ lbs. repeatedly, all day long
    • Must be a self-motivated and reliable worker
    • Able to work collaboratively in an environment where decisions are made as a group
    • Able to work smart and think in terms of larger organizational system
    • Natural innovator, always looking for more efficient ways of doing things
    • Must be a hard worker
    • Basic computer skills
    • Eager to take on responsibility
    • Able to appreciate material based on aesthetics as well as function
    • Comfortable working with homeowners and contractors
    • Salvage experience is a plus

    Starting pay $12-13/hr DOE. Benefits available: Vacation, Medical / Dental Insurance.
    Send letter of application with resume. The letter of application should state why you are interested in working at Second Use and highlight qualifications you have which are most relevant to the position.

    Please email your letter of application and resume to and thank you for your interest!