A successful trip to Community Forklift means coming prepared! A purchase for your home requires some legwork on the frontend to make sure you find the right item for your space and, when you’re shopping secondhand and salvaged items, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind.

Here are eight must-have items to bring with you for a successful Community Forklift haul.

Measurements of Your Own Home

If you find that dream dresser, you need to make sure it fits before you bring it home. Since most sales are final at Community Forklift, you want to be confident that you’re buying the right size. The difference between 32” wide and 36” wide could mean the difference between it being a perfect fit and not quite squeezing into your room.

Since Community Forklift also has incredible items like tile, knowing the exact measurements of everything from your bathroom floor to your backsplash could mean being able to score a great deal. But you need to come prepared with the details on whether your kitchen backsplash is 12 square feet or 24.

Tape Measure

To measure all the pieces that catch your eye, you’ll need a handy tape measure. Never go shopping for furniture and home items without one!

Design Samples

If you’re trying to match finishes, existing items, or kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures, bring design samples with you! It’s harder to match on memory than you might think. With the tile, fabric sample, or wood finish in hand, you’ll have a much easier time making a sure decision that the item you have your eye on will work.

Weather Appropriate Clothing

The Community Forklift reuse warehouse is not climate controlled, so if it’s cold outside, it’ll be cool inside. Wear a coat in the winter and don’t wear too many layers in the summer. Also, with so many salvage and recycled materials inside, it gets dusty! This isn’t the time to wear your finest clothing. Dress as if you’re working on a home project.

shopping secondhand

Vehicle for Transporting Items

Community Forklift does not deliver materials or other purchases. And, while we do hold large items for up to five days, you should come prepared to take your items with you the day that you buy them. That means driving a big enough vehicle to transport items or contacting a hauling service that you trust.

Packing Materials

Experienced secondhand shoppers know that a car full of blankets and other packing materials is a must. If you buy a gorgeous chandelier or a box of tile, you want to make sure it’s safe and secure en route home. Blankets, bubble wrap, and boxes are all helpful to have on hand.

A List of Anything You Need for Your Next Project

Having the entire reuse warehouse at your fingertips is amazing, but if you’re in the midst of a bathroom renovation or replacing all your lighting, you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing. There’s so much to see and, without a list, you could forget that you need a new towel ring, pair of sconces, or pocket door hardware.

Whether it’s a dresser, cabinets, or a toilet, write those items down — though you never know when something else might surprise you!

Creative Thinking

The most fun part about shopping at Community Forklift is the possibility! You never know what’s waiting for you in our reuse warehouse and, with a sense of adventure and curiosity, you could find the exact right item for your next project. Put on your creative thinking hat, and start imagining the second life that you could give to vintage light fixtures, antique china cabinets, and more solid brass hardware than you’ve ever seen in one place.


Are your creative wheels already spinning? Take a quick look at our store policies before your next visit. Did you know you can bring your pets (as long as they stay leashed!)? And were you planning on wearing closed toe shoes? You should! All the information you need is on our Store Policies page. We can’t wait to see what you find!

Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse.  We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.