Home Improvement as Self-Improvement at The Loading Dock in Baltimore

One of the things the Chop loves best about Baltimore is that its a city of open secrets. Anyone tuned into the right gossip channels (of the offline variety) doesn’t have to do too much digging to get to the dirt. The Chop was clued in to a particularly incredible open secret some years ago, which we stored in the back of our mind and only this weekend went to check out for ourselves.

What's for dinner? Stoves and other working appliances sell cheaply at TLD.

Yesterday we also added The Loading Dock to the list of reasons we love Baltimore more than any other city in the world. Much like Bookthing and the Baltimore Free Store, The Loading Dock takes a common sense idea and moulds it into something seemingly radical, but entirely practical which is a model for community development throughout the entire nation. How simply radical are they? Check out their mission statement:

Our Mission is twofold. We strive to increase the supply of decent, affordable housing for lower to moderate-income families by facilitating the reuse of materials that would otherwise be thrown away. At the same time we are saving precious environmental resources by taking reusable material out of the waste stream.

Insert rug-munching joke here: excess carpet rolls to fit most rowhouse rooms.

Okay, so even that may not sound terribly radical, but once we had a chance to walk the warehouse and see the stock, we were awed. TLD is literally packed with tons of building materials which would otherwise be completely wasted, and the prices for everything in the place are astonishingly low. Whether you’re in a pinch and need to suddenly replace a broken toilet, need to tile or carpet a basement floor, fix a broken windowpane or accomplish anything else around the house, you can get it done with serviceable materials at a fraction of the price of new, and save the earth at the same time.

Your window on the world: all manner of windows for installation or craft projects.

A $10 annual membership will allow you (and one additional cardholder) access to both the entire stock of materials, as well as a regular calendar of DIY workshops like the upcoming Greening Your Home and Drywall Repair clinics, among others.

A throne for every castle: all manner of plumbing fixtures from antique to modern.

Still doesn’t sound radical? Compare it to the new big-box corporate monster hardware store that’s trying to move onto 25th Street and the difference is pretty clear. If green, sustainable home improvement matters to you, we strongly urge you to oppose the plans for big-box development in Remington by getting involved with the efforts of Bmore Local at their site or join with over 700 of your neighbors on their Facebook Group. You can also follow development news on the project at the Baltidome Blog, who have been on top of the story since the beginning.

The Doors of perception are open: Doors for hanging or to be used as coffee tables, headboards, room dividers, workbenches, etc.

So the Chop is spending our Sunday watching the O’s on TV and putting in work on a little project we dreamed up, which is going to look like we spent over $300 dollars on, but thanks to The Loading Dock, was actually less than $30.

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The Loading Dock is located at 2 N. Kresson Street (map). They’re open Monday through Saturday, and more information can be found on their website, loadingdock.org.

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