Using Salvaged or Reclaimed Materials – Setting Up A PSO?

The first question I am sure you are now asking is – WHAT THE HECK IS A PSO?

A PSO is nothing more than a Pure Salvage Outpost – Just a place that you can collect and store salvaged or reclaimed material to help others build their small house or cabin on their own land.  Many people prefer the Big House with a Mortgage with all those bells and whistles screaming at the neighbors to Look at Me!  This lifestyle of living small isn’t for everyone as much as living in a large house with immaculate landscaping isn’t something many minimalist want either.  Regardless of who you are,  choose what makes you Happy!

In my Business – by that I mean the Homesteading Website and Facebook pages that I publish – I see people who want to get away from big banks, Mortgage companies, and have a small house that they can buy or build themselves without spending a fortune. They also don’t want to worry about the ever increasing costs of new building materials and off-gassing from treated products.  Sometimes we just cant help that we need to buy these things that are so new and expensive because they aren’t available anywhere else.

Those things are available anywhere else – and its called Reclaimed Materials. They have been used and abused and lasted the test of time. Farmer Joe down the road may have built a barn many  years ago that wasn’t treated with harsh chemicals that make you sick.  I have seen many abandoned old houses on tobacco farms that were used a pack houses. Those sometimes have a great supply of old wood, doors, vintage light fixtures, or a good ole cast iron sink.

Reclaimed Material

Sometimes, a good place to start is a local Goodwill or Habitat Store to see what they have available.  Many times they have reclaimed materials, but they are still treated in some form with harmful chemicals – I don’t advocate not buying from them.  They are a great cause to help people find less expensive items that they can afford or build a house from donated materials for affordable housing.

Photo Credit: Roma Frank

What I do advocate is this – – Get with your like minded neighbors and community and start a PSO in your community. Pool together and find reclaimed items to sell at discounted prices like old lumber,  windows, fixtures and the many things you can use to build a small cabin or house.  Barter or Trade materials, tools, wisdom and advice.  You can find many items for FREE on social media or other websites that people are itching to give away. Take that money and use it to buy more reclaimed materials.  You may have something that a neighbor can use and they may have something to trade.  Best of all, help them build with your knowledge and they help you.  You will be much better off using reclaimed materials that look really cool, than buying new materials which can harm you!

My wife and I found a great business this past weekend in the Mennonite Community about a two hour drive from our place.  We were specifically wanting metal underpinning for our cabin. The local Sheet Metal and Roofing fabricators wanted $2.29 or more per foot . The shop we found sells it for .55 per foot, and in the color that we wanted.  It’s not impossible to find these deals if you look.

If you have some available property on your homestead that you aren’t doing anything with – this would be a good place to start a local outpost for reclaimed materials. It may take some time to accumulate things to make it worthwhile. You can also be a drop off site for those who are throwing things away instead of taking it to the landfill.

Personally, I would like to see these places pop up all over the country.  A great example is one that exists in Texas.  You can find it here and meet the creator!  Pure Salvage Living  

Photo Credit: Tiny Texas Houses


Wherever you plan to build your small house or cabin from reclaimed materials- with a little help from your friends – be sure to check your local zoning laws and codes to make sure its allowed.  If not, pick a place where it is allowed and get started!

Writers Note:  In this Post I have included photos submitted from Followers of our Facebook Page   Shed to House Conversions: A to Z .  Photos Credits are Given.


14 thoughts on “Using Salvaged or Reclaimed Materials – Setting Up A PSO?

  1. I love this. I am a big fan of recycling and reusing materials. The local thrift store is such a good thing. I visit my ones frequently as you can find perfectly good items for less than a third of the price. The price difference for metal roofs is just incredible in your article. Great post that actually shows that you can create something, without paying top dollar and still getting perfectly good material. 

    1. Thank you for the comment, Alexandra. We have indeed found that our local metal shops can be a little pricey. That’s when we decided to visit an area Amish or Mennonite Community that will sell many things to you for a fraction of the price. I am glad you enjoyed the article.  Thanks again!

  2. This is awesome! I love building planters, tables, shelves with old pallets. You can honestly find them behind a lot of commercial buildings. Often times, they are happy to give a few away, as long as they do not need them anymore. Reclaimed materials make it more fun to build anything, it’s a great way to re-purpose items that otherwise might have been thrown out and that is a waste.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Amber…Im glad you liked the content. Using reclaimed materials is a great way to re-purpose into something you will enjoy. I like pallet uses also but they sure can be a problem to take apart. 🙂  Thanks again for the comment.

  3. This is a great idea that I have seen elsewhere as well. Using reclaimed materials seems like it’s not only cost-effective, but responsible as well. My wife and I love the idea and think it also gives such a charming look to whatever is built with it. We especially love wood floors that use reclaimed wood from barns or old houses. The wide planks are just gorgeous!

    Do you find at all now that using reclaimed materials is popular and  “in” that the prices have gone up as well?

    1. Hi Steve,

      Yes, reclaimed items are still popular with many people that i am finding through my website and social media presence.  In one area we are finding people, like my wife and I, who are taking storage sheds and converting them for living. Many of those same people use reclaimed materials to finish them and have turned out really nice. Its also a great conversation piece.  I do think alot of people are now finding that they can sell their reclaimed materials which, of course, increases price, as well as those reclaimed Salvage stores. There are still a ton of reclaimed materials out there that folks are itching to either throw away or give away.   Thanks very much for your comments. 

  4. Hi Watt,

    Great idea, it’s a bit too late for me to start a PSO but maybe my son will be interested. He is living at home with my wife and I and his small family. House prices have become totally out of control where we live and they just can’t afford to buy one for themselves. A lot of his friends are in the same situation.

    My son is a plumber, I was an electrician, and one of my son’s in-laws is a carpenter/cement mason. Between us we have the skills to build a house. In my younger days I renovated several houses from the ground up myself so know what is required to build from scratch. And by using salvaged and reclaimed materials the cost can be brought way down not to mention the benefit to the environment.

    The thing I like about starting a PSO is being able to help not only my son but others that are in the same situation. With a community effort there are lots of folks out there that would pitch in to help each other.

    Thanks for the great idea.


    1. Hi Ed,

      Thanks for the positive comments. I agree its a good way to build from scratch and start a small business. Many people take things to the landfills every day to throw away. That’s a great way to get things for free that may still be in working or usable condition, and make some money to boot..I hope its something your son can work with. 

  5. I actually love a small house not so big which can contain my family.

    A big house could be stressful from my own point of view for example when tidying and paying electric bills etc.

    And PSO looks amazing and this would help those with not so much funds to build their houses to the best way they want it.

    Would recommend this to my friends.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it and your comment. PSO’s are also a great way to make some extra income.  Feel free to visit my site again…

  6. Good Day, Matt.

    Having spent most of my working life in the construction industry, I can easily understand where you come from. 

    When I think back to all the construction materials I have seen being sent to “waste transfer stations” it could make me cry. I’m not sure if there are many medium to large, construction sites in your area, but it would be well worth travelling to the big city in search of these. 

    They fill up large 40 cubic yard bins on a weekly basis. While some of the material is treated, a lot of it is not. Just the fire-wood alone would be worth the trip. 

    Always lots of good, often perfect quality, untreated 2×4, etc… In my opinion, you would just need to ask the site superintendent, and Bob’s your uncle. 

    I love your concept and I agree with your philosophy in large part. 

    I want to thank you as well for today’s new word, PSO. It has so many possibilities. 

    Live long and prosper. 


    1. Good Day to you Paul,

      Thanks for the positive comments and I couldn’t agree with you more. Its all their for the asking in my opinion. ‘Im glad you liked the article.  

  7. What an innovative piece. Its good to see people with great ideas on how we can build a house with reclaim materials. This will give opportunity to a low budget person to at least build a small apart. I believe this is a great idea that will still be embraced by the populace. Its also very good that one can also be a drop off site for those who are throwing things away instead of taking it to the landfill.Have learned new stuff here. This approach is not yet popular in Africa but we shall get there someday. Personally, I would like to see

    1. Thank you Tsquare for the positive comment. Its always good to see people get some ideas from this post. Perhaps you should be the Innovator and begin something like this in Africa. 🙂 

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