Paying It Forward: Helping Furnish Westchester County Families In Need

Home Stager with Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY

In spring of 2007 when I saw an article in the local paper, the story of a furniture bank that just opened in Westchester. Wasn't quite sure what a furniture bank was, but it sounded interesting.

Turns out there were several stories: what a furniture bank was, how it's long-planned grand opening coincided with the income-tax day nor'easter which flooded a lot of the Sound Shore area. Then, how 65 families in need were furnished , for free, in the 10 days after the storm. The article ended with what was still needed, and going forward, how people could donate to Furniture Sharehouse.

Still in retail at the time, it was a great referral. Clients buying new furniture were always asking me if I knew who could use what they no longer needed, or wanted. Up to that point, best suggestions I had were the usual charities, but this was such a find! Kept that article, because I thought "one day" I would also like to be a part of this.

That one day came a little over a year later. Had left retail and started my business end of 2007, but June of 2008 found me sofa-bound, nursing a muscle tear in my calf...started catching up on my phone calls, and finding out more about this place was at the top of the list.

Hard to believe that was almost 3 1/2 years-and 1400 families-ago.

You don't need to be a Decorator or Stager to know how much unwanted stuff people hold on to simply because they think it's that or the curb. People decorate around it. They park their car in the driveway because the garage is full, or pay hefty storage bills.

If you are beholden to unwanted, unneeded furniture (or some* furnishings), please consider donating it to Furniture Sharehouse. Whileserving clients and offering pickups year-round, spring and fall are drive seasons, where people have the opportunity to see how things work, drop things off, even volunteer.

This Sunday, November 13th is the last drive of the season, at the Woman's Club of White Plains, at 305 Ridgeway, from 9am to 1pm. Co-sponsored by the WCWP and the Outreach Committee of nearby Our Lady of Sorrows parish, the hope is it's a repeat of last year...where 2 moving vans were filled in 4 hours. STUNNINGLY< whatever comes in, seems to go out just as quickly...this fall in particular has been quite a challenge, with resources stretched even further due to families flooded out from Hurricane Irene.

Donated furniture is neither sold, or available to the general public. By appointment, it is re-distributed, FREE, to clients of approximately 40 different member agencies, all here in Westchester.

Basic, average-sized, clean furniture is always in demand. Mattresses, sofas, kitchen/dining table and chairs, and dressers, as much as the supporting players: lamps, microwaves and toaster ovens, rugs, mirrors and art to help complete the clients home. Donors get a receipt for their taxes, as well as the knowledge that they have helped make an immediate and meaningful difference to a neighbor.

Furniture provides the emotional and physical infrastructure of a home. In his 1943 paper, in a theory he called the Hirearchy of Needs, Abraham Maslowe articulated how greater and greater capabilities come when the more basic needs are first met. You can read the paper, or see it come to life in this video, filmed as a pitch to PBS almost 3 years ago.

As you might have gathered, I am passionate about this organization, and absolutely shameless when it comes to asking for help in furthering it. Thank you for reading this far.

If you are in the area Sunday, just come on by and say hi. For any questions about donating, volunteering,scheduling a pickup,or how to become a member agency- best to go directly to the site.

But if nothing else, just remember Furniture Sharehouse exists, because guaranteed someone you know will benefit from your being able to share this info.

Posted by


Our spaces affect us profoundly...and so many other parts in our life fall into place when our spaces and possessions serve us in the best way they can. But getting there is much more than a pursuit of pleasing aesthetics.


Decorating and Staging are different, but much of the skill sets overlap, and each creates unique solutions that considers the needs, goals, resources, expectations, hopes and dreams of each client.

Bettering Westchester, Putnam and lower Fairfield counties since 1981, The Refreshed Home works collaboratively, and brings a thoughtful approach to the creative process. Proud to make a difference, as well as make a living. Offering specialty services such as remote and buyer consults, listing photo/video styling, guided and accompanied shopping, and accessory rental. We get in, get out, and you get on with your life.  Talk to me TODAY about how we can better your space!




Marie Graham ASP, IAHSP, IDS Your Stager With A Mission!

QUESTIONS? Don't hesitate!! 914.607.2895 

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Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

This is a nice way to help others.   Keep up the good work, it will come back to you 100 fold. 


Patricia Aulson/ Seacoast NH & ME REALTOR

Nov 09, 2011 05:26 AM #1
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

What a wonderful resource and way to give back Marie, thank you for sharing this at a most timely point in our year! 

Nov 09, 2011 05:32 AM #2
Marie Graham
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY - White Plains, NY
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager

Hi Patricia-thanks for stopping by! You're right, it does, and IT HAS> Plus, it just feels so darn good to be a part of it at the time!  The National Furniture Bank Association has a list of different banks, nationwide. Each one works differently, but a great source for REALTORS to know about.

Karen-good reiminder of all we have to be grateful for...Stagers are in an optimum position to share this with organizers as well as REALTORS...

Nov 09, 2011 06:41 AM #3
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Marie this sounds like such a great program; and those on the receiving end I am sure are very grateful.  I can tell how much you appreciate being a part of this program.

Nov 09, 2011 01:34 PM #4
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Marie, as it turns out there is an outlet here in Huntsville...I'll be sure to donate what ever I can...I have a cousin here that owns a thrift shop so usually gets most of my donations, but I'll check them out.

Nov 10, 2011 07:40 AM #5
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

What a nice thought . . . I have a perfectly good love-seat but alas, I'm too far to donate it.  I will research like programs in my area.  Thanks for the pay-it-forward!

Nov 10, 2011 08:38 AM #6
Marie Graham
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY - White Plains, NY
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager

Jennifer you are so right, doing anything like this at all certainly puts your own situation in a different perspective.

Nick-here most thrift stores don't do furniture, and those that do need to charge $$ to cover all their costs...which is understandable. The 501c3 organizations while non-profit and mostly if not all volunteer still have costs, which include subsidizing the true costs of pick ups and deliveries. That's why REALTORS-who deal with people making big moves all the time are such great conduits, pickups from a seller down-sizing are very cost-efficient. Even if nothing else, knowing about it, talking to others about it is a HUGE service!!

Hi Carla-WA, OR and MN are probably the most socially progressive states when it comes to getting one of these off the ground, I think Portland is one of the bigger ones in the area. As above, just knowing it exists, and sharing the info with clients and other agents alike goes a long way to supporting it! Thank you!!

Nov 10, 2011 09:36 AM #7
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Marie Graham

Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager
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