Moving? Make a Deposit at a Furniture Bank!


Photo Credit: Unpakt.com

Holiday season is almost here! Many people feel inspired to give during this special time of year, whether through offering warm clothing to a winter coat drive, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or giving to a favorite charity. In this post, we’re going to talk about nonprofit organizations that take a unique approach to helping people in need.

People in the process of moving often struggle to discard their used furniture, but they don’t want to waste time and money packing and hauling bulky items when they can buy new. One solution is to find a drop-off site for a charity like Goodwill. Habitat for Humanity has recently opened ReStore outlets to offer donated furniture at low cost. These donations are valuable, but they can also create administrative challenges. Furniture is bulky, and many thrift and secondhand charities face storage and sorting issues. On top of that, it’s difficult to cart a sectional sofa or bedroom set across town to a drop-off site, especially during business hours.

If you’d like to learn more about resale and thrift stores in the Los Angeles area, check out our post about top vintage outlets in Echo Park!

Furniture banks have emerged as a nationwide alternative to nonprofit secondhand stores. Assisting people who are homeless or in transition, furniture banks provide them with durable, good-quality furniture and housewares. They may be moving from temporary or shelter housing into a more permanent situation, or starting over with few personal possessions. Often without funds to purchase furniture, they’re in desperate need of basic items such as beds, chairs, kitchen tables, and refrigerators. Your gently used furniture can help these people transform their new houses into homes.

Furniture banks also work hard to ensure a painless donation process. You don’t have to worry about transporting your furniture yourself – just call the furniture bank for a pickup, and they’ll show up at a convenient time and remove your gently used furniture.


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These nonprofits are generally happy to take a wide range of items. Beds, couches, desks, silverware, kitchen and home appliances, lamps, and rugs are all in demand. Even accessories like throw blankets and artwork may be handy – many furniture banks make it their mission to create comfortable, welcoming living spaces for their clients.

If you’re moving offices or upgrading your office suite, consider donating desks, chairs, or electronics – especially personal computers. Many furniture bank clients are job seekers and families with school-age children, making these donations high-priority. Cribs, changing tables, playpens, and child-size furniture are extremely useful and often scarce, and furniture banks may gladly take any gently-used toys or picture books to pass along to kids.

If you’d like to learn more about opportunities to get involved in your community, check out this post about the Silver Lake Farmer’s Market!

How are furniture banks different from conventional nonprofit resale stores? Instead of storing donated items in a secondhand showroom so that they can be sold to raise funds, furniture banks manage the donation process to ensure that donated furniture is quickly gifted on. Your furniture becomes part of a new living space right away.

The Furniture Bank Association of North America will provide you with information on furniture banks in your area, as well as detailed information about how furniture banks work and what they accomplish. Vietnam Veterans of America is a nationwide nonprofit that provides a variety of services to veterans. VVA operates a stellar pickup service. They accept furniture, appliances, and housewares as well as clothing and other goods.

You may also want to check out the Virtual Furniture Bank, which operates solely online. Since they match every donation with a client prior to pickup, they have no warehouse, working to coordinate pickup and delivery with a trusted list of contractors. Freecycle.org is a more general trade and gift site for used items, but individuals and nonprofits seeking donations check the site often. You can search for a Freecycle virtual bulletin board for your area. In addition, many conventional nonprofit resale stores are responding to demand by offering improved pickup options, so you may want to check to see what kind of assistance they provide.

Furniture banks generally have FAQs to help keep donors informed, but these are some guidelines to remember. First, most furniture banks prefer donations in “new” or “gently-used” condition. If it’s dilapidated or broken, it probably isn’t desirable. Furniture bank employees may be able to advise you on the best way to dispose of furniture that can’t be donated. You can help by cleaning any donated item before pickup. You’ll save volunteers a lot of time and ensure that your donation looks its best for its new family. Finally, consider volunteering yourself! Many furniture banks are overjoyed to have another pair of hands.

If you’re not looking to offload any furniture or housewares just now, furniture banks are also happy to take cash donations, especially during the holidays. They’re always grateful for a “like” or share on social media accounts, so please don’t hesitate to spread the word about this innovative approach to giving!

Berendo Stairs to Griffith Observatory in Los Feliz

Looking for some adventure in Los Feliz? Try finding all of the hidden staircases in Los Angeles, starting with the Berendo Stairs that lead to the Griffith Observatory. Spending a day on a walk looking for a hidden staircase is a great opportunity to get some exercise and mix up your daily routine.


Photo Credit: https://eat-n-explore.blogspot.com/2010/07/berendo-stairs-to-griffith-park.html

Los Feliz is a neighborhood in Los Angeles that covers approximately two and half square miles. It is bordered by the Santa Monica Mountains and Hollywood. It was originally Rancho Los Feliz, and it eventually became the birthplace of Mickey Mouse when Walt Disney drew the famous character in his uncle’s garage. Los Feliz is also the home to Disney’s first animation studio and many celebrities who live there. You can view two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s original designs in Los Feliz: the Ennis House and the Hollyhock House.

The entrance to the Berendo Stairs (created in 1924) is located at Berendo Street and Cromwell Avenue. The stairs are recognized by the city as having historical status. There is a resting stop at the midpoint of the stairs (there are 181 steps in total) where there are two benches to sit on. This is a beautiful and romantic spot in the summer, covered by bougainvillea flowers.


Photo Credit: https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/content/stairs-top

To get to the Griffith Observatory, make your way up the Berendo Stairs, go up a second set of stairs, and eventually you’ll come across a dirt path that will take you to the observatory. From the Griffith Observatory, you’ll be able to see the Hollywood Sign and Downtown L.A. Eat-n-Explore has some detailed directions here.

The Griffith Observatory, which opened in 1935 and was renovated in 2002, is named after Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. It covers about 3,000 acres of land and features an art deco interior and educational displays on astronomy. Admission to the observatory is free. You can also view the Ennis House from here, which was built in 1924 and was featured in the film Blade Runner.

If you haven’t done so already, spend some visiting Griffith Park. It covers about 4,000 acres, and it has a lot to offer for those with different activities and interests in mind. People go to the park to play tennis, hike the trails, use the equestrian trails, have picnics, ride the train, and go golfing. You can also see the Hollywood Sign from the park, visit the Los Angeles Zoo, and see the Autry National Center. The park is open between 5:00 pm and 10:30 pm.

Here are some other “secret” staircases to put on your list as you explore L.A.:

-Music Box Steps

-Baxter Stairways

-Santa Monica Stairs

-Beachwood Canyon Stairs (This one is 800 steps!)

Have fun exploring the stairs in Los Angeles!

Are you interested in learning more about neighborhoods in Los Angeles and what they have to offer? At Real Estate Unlimited, it is our goal to share our expertise on the historic neighborhoods in Los Angeles, including the diverse landmarks, and the surrounding businesses, shopping, and dining to take advantage of. Call us today for a consultation!

Silver Lake Reservoir – The Heart of Silver Lake

With its famously Meditteranean climate, Los Angeles offers residents long stretches of beautiful weather – and no shortage of green spaces for basking in the sunshine! In this post, we’ll look at a famous park area that serves as the focal point of the scenic Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Silver Lake Resevoir

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Click here to read all about Elysian Park, the first public park established in Los Angeles.  

Silver Lake is named for the Silver Lake Reservoir complex, a pair of manmade miniature lakes that sit in the center of the community. Surrounded by a wide jogging path and several park areas, the Silver Lake Reservoir is one of the most popular parks in Los Angeles.

The Silver Lake Reservoir is made up of two basins – the much smaller Ivanhoe Reservoir, named for the hero of Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 novel, and the expansive Silver Lake Reservoir. The two ponds are linked by a bike and jogging path that stretches for 2.2 miles around the reservoir. In 2011, the City of Los Angeles opened up the “Silver Lake Meadow,” a three-acre public park on the east side of the reservoir. This new field is modeled after the “Sheep Meadow” in New York City’s Central Park.

The Silver Lake Reservoir area covers a total of 97 acres of open water, with an additional 31 acres of public green space. The reservoir complex is also an important wildlife preserve, since it provides a seasonal nesting area for majestic great blue herons who migrate back to Southern California every Spring. The Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy, a group of community volunteers, plants trees and picks up litter at the park to ensure that the area can be enjoyed by everyone.

The dual role these local landmarks play as public recreational areas and parts of the public water system means that they exist in a complex network of public policy. Last summer, the Silver Lake side of the reservoir was temporarily drained and removed from service as a public water source. The city is currently constructing the Headworks

Reservoir, a new, underground drinking-water reservoir near Griffith Park.

Silver Lake Resevoir 2

Photo Credit: Bybio.wordpress.com

Silver Lake will be refilled soon, and inducted into service as a recreation-only reservoir for Los Angeles residents to enjoy. The city is also considering using part of the Silver Lake site to create  shallower wetlands area that could become a wildlife habitat for native Los Angeles species like the Great Blue Heron, and using “hydroseeding” to create a more natural planted look around the water’s edge. City officials are concerned with sustainability and environmental impact, and urban planners hope to create a nature preserve that will replenish local wildlife populations without strainining Southern California’s dry climate.

Other creative proposals – for a beach area, an esplanade, a music venue – are still under consideration. One local group, Silver Lake Forward, is hoping that the area will be turned into a 96-area public park with a wildlife research center, shaded eucalyptus groves, and a refurbished dog park for the pet owners in the neighborhood.

Click here to read about famous midcentury homes in Silverlake!

Whatever the eventual fate of the Silver Lake basin side of the reservoir, Silver Lake has a long tradition of providing space for outdoor relaxation to the area. Even in its drier state, the reservoir still provides a lovely open community space for jogging, walking, cloudgazing, and picnicking. The gentle grade of the pedestrian path makes it perfect for parents with strollers and novice runners – more advanced athletes can explore the hills and steps nearby. As one of the largest bodies of water in the area, the Silver Lake reservoirs are a popular rest stop for ducks, coots, and Canada geese.  Birdwatchers can also see hummingbirds, red-tailed hawks, and starlings.

The Silver Lake reservoir sits at the center of the Silver Lake neighborhood, providing residents with the perfect retreat for outdoor pastimes.  If you’re in the area, consider stopping by to take a look at this urban oasis!

Are you interested in learning more about Silver Lake Reservoir and the other amenities that make the Silver Lake neighborhood such a pleasant place to call home? At Real Estate Unlimited, we take pride in matching our clients to the perfect home – and the ideal neighborhood! Call us for a consultation today!