Name: Furnishings Policy
Proposal Number: 03
Revision Number: 0
Committee: Design
Contact Name: Member


Objective: This policy will provide guidelines for accepting and selecting donated items and purchasing furnishings for the common house at Wolf Willow.
At the special meeting January 8, 2011, the members in attendance discussed the following:

  1. Do we want matching and uniform furnishings or will we consider eclectic furnishings for such areas as dining room, laundry room and lounge with the option of purchasing matching items at a later date?
    • Purchase or build our own
    • Donated furniture is difficult to move and stack
    • Very interesting setups are done with old tables and chairs
    • In favour of not buying everything new at first on the other hand not a TOO eclectic bunch of furniture as it is tacky
    • The review committee will make decisions as to what will fit
    • We can create continuity with accessories
  2. How do we want to establish the review committee?
    • One possibility would be to use a revised “sociocratic” election format. In summary, members write on a secret ballet who they would like to see on the committee and someone, who has disqualified themselves as a participant, reviews the ballets, confirms that the people selected are willing to “do the task” and then announces the decision.
  3. Once an item has been accepted by the Review Committee do we agree that it becomes the property of the community?
    • Yes be prepared for wear and tear and if you donate it is the property of WW. It is not a loan.
    • Personal items are the responsibility of the owner and the common space should not be used as storage for personal items.
  4. Notwithstanding 3, are there circumstances under which we would consider a request to return it to the original owner?
    • Yes and this request would be presented to the Review Committee.
  5. Do people agree that a potential donor is responsible for making the item available for review and for disposing of it if the community decides that it is not wanted?
    • Yes
  6. What if something is donated that we can’t use immediately but we can foresee a possible future use for the item? Does the community want to pay for medium or long term storage?
    • No
  7. What about outfitting the kitchen itself? Are we going to accept donations or are we buying new dishes, new pots and pans, etc.?
    • Accept donations from everyone and a sub-committee will decide which ones are needed. The donor should attach value to the special items and ask for review if they feel they should not be sent directly to a garage sale if not wanted. The onus is back on the donor to take it away.
  8. What about all of bicycles, skis, life jackets, canoes and kayaks that we individually own? Are we expecting to be able to bring everything into the community and find storage for these items? Should an inventory be made of all this equipment, reviewed and required items selected with the rest of the unneeded items offered for sale or for personal storage off site? Should a separate committee be set up to prepare this inventory and review the condition of all items?
    • Another committee needs to deal with these items.
    • Also need to consider deep freezers and fridges.
    • Is it common property or will you let everyone use it?
    • How do you police the “law breakers”?

The members of Wolf Willow Cohousing will create a Review Committee at the earliest opportunity. It will be the responsibility of the Review Committee to:

  1. Prepare an inclusive list of items needed in the common house as well as numbers required.
  2. Prioritize items based on what is needed to get started and what can wait.
  3. Establish two sub-committees, one to set criteria for the acceptance of donated items and the second to seek quotes for items that need to be purchased.
  4. The first sub-committee will evaluate offered items and determine condition and suitability and will decide if and when each item will be accepted with storage being the responsibility of the donor.
  5. The selected, donated items will:
    • Be available for use by the whole community and become the property of the common house
    • Be deemed to be valuable to significant members of the community
    • Be of appropriate size and aesthetic quality for the space
    • Meet current energy efficiency standards and be in good working condition
    • Accepted at the discretion of the selection committee.
  6. The second sub-committee will prepare a preliminary budget for items that will need to be purchased and obtain at least two quotes for large items that must be purchased. Purchased items need to be energy efficient if applicable.
  7. Items not selected or needed will be the responsibility of the owner and if not wanted will be sold with profits going to WW community.

These notes and proposal were presented at the design committee meeting on January 15. The members agreed that further discussion was needed on the use of common spaces.

Decision date: January 16, 2011
Outcome: Approved