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THREE great DIY workshops this weekend!
Moving "Mount Forklift," a Daunting and Daily Team Exercise
Call for Donations of Durable Medical Equipment
What's going on in our community
October Sales

This weekend, we've got three great DIY workshops for you, and you can save 

Then, next weekend, don't miss our fall festival...


Photos, photos, photos. 

Really, collecting photos and old film is the only thing you need to do to prepare for the party next week. We've done the rest! 

Here are five ways you can use your photos and film next Sunday:

1. Use photos of your house to help guide discussion
at the workshops you attend. Historian and local Anacostia Trails Heritage Association Aaron Marcavitch will be on hand to discuss the type of home you have, and Terry Lewis would love to see those photos so he can recommend light fixtures to accompany your home's period. 

2. Drop your old films and photos off with the
Prince George's Memory Project
so that they can capture our collective history right here in Prince George's County. The photographs will be handled with the utmost care and returned to you after the project is complete in 2015. 

3. Bring photos that capture special memories and loved ones and make tile coasters out of them - for free!  Wrap 'em with a bow and give them as gifts. Pretty cool, right? Just note that you'll have to put the actual photo on the coaster, so make sure you have copies before you get to crafting.

So what are you waiting for? Go photo hunting!

DIY Workshops



Working with Lead Paint

Saturday, 10/18, 10-11am 

with Mark Wardlaw

BNV Remodeling


Learn how to safely work with products that have or appear to have lead paint on them. Upon completion of this workshop with remodeling expert Mark Wardlaw, you'll be able to remove & dispose of lead material or encapsulate it for safe handling or display with confidence.




Hang It!: 
How to Hang your Items with Confidence

Saturday, 10/18, 11-12pm 

with Mark Wardlaw

BNV Remodeling


In this workshop, you'll learn how to find interior wall framing from your outlets and door & window locations to safely hang pictures and other wall items. Get hands on experience installing different types of wall anchors from toggle bolts to plastic inserts.




Ms. Akerele will do live demonstrations of transforming pieces one can find at Community Forklift without sanding or stripping or priming the piece.

Participants will learn the many ways to use this decorative paint and how to use clear and dark wax to finish off their project. Chalk Paint is NO VOC and the perfect accompaniment to a re-purposed lifestyle. Come with your questions and stories to share!


We still have more workshops to come! Take a look and see what interests you most!

Moving 'Mount Forklift' 
Daunting-and Daily-Team Exercise
By Elizabeth McGowan


Arranging donated kitchen cabinets, one of the Forklift's top-selling items, is like stacking adult building blocks for Doug Utterback.
From the soles of his scuffed steel-toed boots to the frayed bill of his baseball cap, every lanky inch of Doug Utterback is a study in perpetual motion. 

One minute he's wrangling mismatched bundles of pine trim. Next he's hoisting an oak cabinet over his shoulder. Then he's positioning sheets of drywall on a cart. Seconds later he's shooting a stream of orange stickers from the ever-ready pricing gun poised at his hip. All of this while answering a steady rat-a-tat-tat of queries from curious co-workers and customers.

If the Forklift were a restaurant, he would be the model-of-efficiency waiter who could flawlessly recite the daily specials, including garnishes, keep the water glasses filled, tolerate fidgety children with aplomb, and still deliver the soup piping hot.

Hectic is an understatement when describing Utterback's daily schedule. But as Community Forklift's pricing coordinator for building materials, he has to maintain that staccato pace to prevent the entire staff from being buried beneath the mountains of
A pricing gun is just one vital tool of the trade for Doug Utterback.
 donations that are the nonprofit's bread and butter.

"Even with 40,000 square feet, we run out of space in our warehouse quickly," Utterback notes. 

And here's why. His calculations show that in August alone, Forklift teams wrangled at least 5,500 surplus and salvage items - everything from boxes of nails to refrigerators - out on the sales floor. That adds up to a conservative estimate of 66,000 items annually. Just to drill down a bit, in the 10-month period ending in June, the Forklift received 3,906 doors, 874 appliances, and 192 kitchen cabinet sets. 

Where does it all come from? First, the Forklift sends one, two or sometimes three box trucks out on weekdays to pick up donations from residences and businesses. And secondly, donors drop off an enormous array of materials at the Forklift on weekdays and weekends.
Doug Utterback unloads roofing slate from a truck at the Forklift's Bay 3.

"Some donations are as simple as somebody handing you a ceiling fan," Utterback says. "And others are a 24-foot box truck packed to the gills with cabinets." 

Understandably, he bristles when the occasional provocateur tweaks him by asking why anything at the Forklift is priced at all. After all, questioners reason, if everything is donated, why aren't Utterback and his colleagues just giving it all away?

"I don't think some people are aware how time- and labor-intensive all of this is," he says about unloading and processing all of those goods. "It's a lot of handling. We do an enormous amount of sorting so we can figure out what will be usable for our customers and what won't be."

The Forklift has a team of seven employees dedicated to processing and pricing all of the building materials that arrive at Bay 3 or via Forklift trucks. Three to four of them are on duty on any given day. Once unloaded, items have to be examined, cleaned and categorized. Doors and windows have to be measured and marked; windows are matched with their screens; door hardware is removed; and light fixtures, power tools and most appliances are tested.

In August alone, Forklift teams unloaded, cleaned, sorted and priced at least 5,500 surplus and salvage items donated to the nonprofit. Here, Doug Utterback wrangles a water heater and a cart of slate dropped off at Bay 3.
Prices are anything but arbitrary. Utterback relies on a computer and his own wealth of experience and knowledge to execute his due diligence before affixing an orange price tag to any item. The Forklift rule of thumb is that surplus building materials are priced 40 to 60 percent below retail, while salvage supplies are priced 50 to 75 percent below retail.

"Everything donated is very meticulously researched," he says. "A lot of thought has been put into the price we put on each and every item we put out on the floor."  

The Forklift prides itself on being fair and reasonable with its pricing of standard building materials, Utterback says, so everybody can experience the benefits of reuse firsthand.  

If a Forklift Fan feels a pricing mistake has been made, Doug takes the complaint seriously.  He encourages the customer to fill out a pricing review form, so that the item can be re-examined by his team, and their questions can be answered. 

In addition, the Forklift's weekly and monthly sales mean that items are often discounted even further.  "We're here to put items that people are getting rid of back in the hands of people who need them," he says, while wheeling a cart of roof slate out of Bay 3. "We're not here to make a ton of money and we're not here for the glitz and the glamour." 

Utterback, a Cheverly native and an Eleanor Roosevelt High School graduate, has grown up with the Forklift because he joined the then-tiny staff in its infancy almost eight years ago as a general 

"It's nice to be invested in the community I grew up in and have a job that's interesting and demanding," he says, adding that he much prefers a forklift seat to a desk chair. "And what I like is that every single person here is 100 percent dedicated to our mission."

Doug Utterback, the Forklift's pricing coordinator for building materials, helps
customer Amiri Rokay measure a length of fence.
That help-others-by-keeping-it-out-of-the-landfill ethic dovetails with Utterback's personal principles. Wasting time, energy, money and other assets makes him crazy. Never mind the strain that such recklessness puts on the planet. 

"Our resources are dwindling and what so many people don't realize is that if we keep throwing things away, eventually we're going to run out," he explains. "We live in a society where people think bright and shiny is better than old and weathered. But in most cases, what's old and weathered is likely going to last 100 years longer."

Utterback emphasizes that what's comfortable and comforting about the Forklift is that the people are just like family. And he isn't just spouting clichés. Two years ago, he met his life partner, Aderyn Bright, on the job. She's the Forklift's events coordinator. The two of them are now immersed in parenthood because their baby daughter, Annwyn, was born in early October.

"I work with some of the best people on Earth," he says. "Community Forklift is a place where anyone from any walk of life can be a part of something positive."

Call for Donations of 
Durable Medical Equipment


Community Forklift is excited to announce a new partnership with Remain Home Solutions, a Maryland-based organization that works with individuals to help them live independently and safely in their homes as long as possible.


Since the summer of 2014, Remain Home Solutions has helped DC residents who are in nursing homes return to their own homes in partnership with DC Medicaid's Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. For nursing home residents who use wheelchairs, the home modifications that Remain Home Solutions does can make the difference between whether they can return home safely or sometimes come home at all.

When someone is in a nursing home long-term, maintenance at home often falls behind. When it does, old appliances can go. Community Forklift provides free home appliances and other home essentials through our HELP program.

However, we haven't been able to accept some items crucial to getting folks back in their homes - durable medical equipment. Because these fragile necessities don't hold up well in our warehouse, we are encouraging you to donate your own gently-used durable medical equipment directly to Remain Home Solutions, LLS. 


Please contact CEO Craig McBurney, CAPS directly at craig@remainhomesolutions.com for more information.

There's great stuff going on in our community:

Tanglewood Works (a project of Community Forklift) is now offering a full array of intensive classes for DIY'rs who want to learn how to upcycle their treasures from home or from Community Forklift. Classes include DIY Chalk Painting, Image Transfer, Advance Paint Effects and Open Studio time with Sue. Classes will be taught by the various Artists represented at Tanglewood Works.

To learn more and register for class visit:

The first class of the season is:

Do you believe that with ONE class you could learn how to make gifts for everyone on your list this year? When you show up with a custom image transfer for your Holiday Party Hostess you will be a VIP guest for years to come.


In this class you will learn multiple techniques for transferring images onto wood and even fabric. Prior to class, Sue will take your own personal images and prep them for transfer so that each participant gets to leave with a finished personalized piece of their very own.

contact sue@tanglewoodworks.com for more information.


October Sales

50% Off 
Furniture with Orange Tags
 Throughout October, take 50% off household furniture with orange tags, including chairs, desks, tables, armoires and more!

Sale does not include items with blue tags, select specialty items, items with missing or damaged price tags, items from our consignment partners, kitchen cabinets or other built-in furnishings, workbenches or tool stands.
50% Off
Small & Medium Granite Counter Pieces
For the month of October, all pieces under 5 square feet are just $2.50/sf (regularly $5-13.50 per square foot).

Sale does not include stone tile, other types of counters, counters with sinks, items from our consignment partners or items with missing or damaged price tags.

50% Off
Single Cabinets, "Orphan" Drawers and
Cabinet Doors

Great for creative projects!  Take 50% off kitchen cabinets with orange price tags of $30 or less. Sale includes unmatched "orphan" cabinet doors and drawers.

Sale does not apply to other types of furniture, cabinet hardware, bathroom or living room cabinetry, cabinet sets, items with missing or damaged price tags, specialty items or items from our consignment partners.

30% Off 
Light Fixtures & Ceiling Fans with Orange Tags
Sale includes a large variety of modern chandeliers, flush mounted ceiling and wall fixtures, patio lights, lamps and fluorescent fixtures.

Sale does not include vintage items with blue tags, white-tagged items from our Salvage Arts consignment partner, select specialty items, or items with missing or damaged tags.
30% Off
Windows, Sashes & Shutters

 Take 30% off surplus and salvaged windows, window sashes and shutters with orange price tags.

Sale does not include items with blue tags, select specialty items, vintage windows and sashes with wavy glass, stained glass, leaded glass, items from our consignment partners or items with missing or damaged tags.

See you at the warehouse soon!   

Your friends at the Forklift