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14 Unique Uses for Free Stuff From The Home Depot

Here are 14 ways to put Home Depot giveaways to work. Try grabbing some Home Depot paint sticks to reuse around the house.

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sanding stir stick

Home Depot Paint Stick Sanders

Paint sticks are free at any Home Depot paint department. Naturally, Home Depot paint sticks useful to use as paint stirrers, but there’s a world of other uses for them as well. A little bit of glue and some sandpaper can transform a free paint stick into a custom sanding tool. If you’d like to kick it up another notch, glue a few paint sticks together and then carve them into a curved shape. Adhere sandpaper and suddenly you’ve got a custom curved sander, making it perfect for unusually shaped objects. This is just one of the many genius sanding tips to be found in this great collection.

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Carpet Sample Rug

Most Home Depot flooring departments provide carpet sample squares. While they’re intended to provide a way to envision the finished product (sort of the equivalent of paint swatches) they can also be joined together to create a larger rug, or even wall-to-wall carpet. The size and variety of designs range from store to store, so you may want to visit a few locations to get a grouping that looks good together.

To bind the squares into a larger whole, you can either sew them together or adhere the back sides with construction tape or duct tape. (And just for fun, here’s 12 more brilliant uses for duct tape.)

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flagMatt Valentine/Shutterstock

Red Flags

Almost every Home Depot provides free red flags. Usually they’re found in a bin near the contractor loading bay, for use when transporting oversized materials. Once you get to your job site, don’t just discard these useful flags. Keep a few in your vehicle, but keep some in your workshop as well. Attached to a paint stir stick, these make great caution flags to keep well intentioned family members out of work areas, or to mark a landscaping plan in your yard. Check out these tips on how to use your pickup truck to transport material safely and effectively.

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Family Handyman

Paint Can Opener as a Mini-Prybar

Freely available from your local Home Depot paint department, these tiny metal devices make surprisingly great utility tools. The looped end lets them be stored on pegboard hooks or a tool bag carabiner. Their tightly hooked pry lip makes for a relatively gentle pressure point, especially when combined with a scraper. Check out this tutorial on how to use one to repair a refrigerator water dispenser switch.

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stir stick push stick

Paint Stick Push Tool

When it comes to working with saws, safety is paramount. But if you can get safety alongside great value, then you almost can’t go wrong. Keep your free Home Depot paint sticks in a PVC tube near your table saw, and you’ll never have an excuse not to use a push stick the next time you’re ripping a board. For more details on table saw safety, check out this great refresher.

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numbersFamily Handyman

The In-Store Tool Department

Sometimes something free is more of a rental than a gift. The next time you’re in Home Depot and realize that you forgot your tape measure, don’t waste time with a trip back home. Just head over to the tool department (Home Depot insiders call it the “Tool Corral”) to borrow a tape measure right off the rack. Notice that the tape measure is packaged to allow the tape to be pulled out without removing it from the package. Just use that tape to confirm whatever measurements you need, and save yourself a trip home.

The same thing goes for lots of the tools and items in the tool department. Even the items that have security locks can be opened up if need be—just ask a sales associate. As long as you’re checking a measurement or size to help you buy something, they should be happy to help. If you liked the tool corral tape measure tip, here are some more amazing measuring tips and tricks that you’ll love.

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canSebastian Duda/Shutterstock

Paint Shake and Re-Tints

This one isn’t weird so much as unexpected. If you bring your old paint to a Home Depot paint center, you can have it shaken up in their machines. This saves the effort of stirring up your old paint, but it also sets up another great service: paint re-tints. If you have paint you purchased at Home Depot and would like to make it a darker color, the staff at the paint department will adjust the color of your paint with and extra shot of pigment. This is a great way to get a tint in your primer, or to tweak the remainder of your wall paint, right before you do up an accent wall.

This tip can save you from buying an entire gallon if you only need a little bit of the new color. Perks like this are exactly the kind of option that most store employees won’t tell you unless you ask.

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cardboard furnitureKYNA STUDIO/Shutterstock

Cardboard Box Furniture

This is something that isn’t often offered free in-store, but comes free with many Home Depot purchases. In addition, discarded boxes are freely available in the recycle bins behind the store. But before dumpster-diving, ask the store manager for permission: that way you’re not trespassing, and you’ll often get the pick of the best boxes.

Creative makers have long salvaged cardboard from behind big box stores to craft a wide variety of objects, including some surprisingly functional furniture. If you’d like to learn more, you can find additional brilliant ways to reuse cardboard boxes.

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pallet wood palletswitaya ratansirkulchai/Shutterstock

Shipping Pallets

Much like cardboard boxes, pallets are one of the perks of buying bulk material. Pallet crafts have gained popularity in recent years, due to their fashionable distressed look and affordable price—sometimes free. Home Depot offers home delivery, and many of their bulk orders ship on a pallet. It’s also worth asking them to throw in a pallet if you buy a large order at the store, or even if they have a few hanging out in the back lot.

If you don’t have a large order planned, you can always buy a disassembled pallet. If that sounds like a weird thing to buy off the shelf, we agree—it’s on our list of twenty weird things you can actually buy at Home Depot.

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Paint Sample Projects

The paint department at Home Depot is a gold mine when it comes to free items and services. And one of the most *ahem* colorful of these freebies is the extensive color sample selection. All of those beautiful sample swatches are free to take home. And sure, they’re helpful for making color selections, but they’re also beautifully colored, high-quality slips of paper. That means that they’re ideal raw material for all kinds of crafts, from cut paper to origami. Hop over to this list of 15 surprisingly cool DIY projects for paint samples, and we think you’ll get the urge to make something creative of your own.

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flooring sample coasters

Flooring Sample Coasters

One of the easiest ways to put a Home Depot freebie to use is to collect a few wood floor samples, then glue vinyl bumpers beneath the corners. Just like that, you have a nice set of attractive and amazingly affordable coasters.

If you prefer the look of ceramic tile, you can check to see if your local Home Depot gives out tile samples (not all locations do). If not, you can still usually pick them up for relatively little upfront cost. The ones in this tutorial were 45 cents each.

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cleaning around lint trap on dryerFamily Handyman

Paint Stick Lint Cleaner

Yet another weird use for the ever-versatile paint stick. Grab a rag and one of these handy wooden helpers to get a deeper clean on your dryer’s lint trap. Doing so will help your clothes dry faster and reduce the risk of a lint build-up fire-hazard. For a video on how to do this important cleaning task, just click through and follow the instructions.

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shutterstock_206357401Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

10-15% Off “Mover’s Coupon” in the USPS Mover’s Packet

Home Depot offers “Mover’s Coupon” in USPS Mover’s packets. So the next time you need to go to the post office, grab a few mover’s packets and clip some of the included coupons. Learn more of our expert moving tips.

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Get Boards or Sheets Cut

If you don’t have enough room in your car or can’t cut parts at home, a Home Depot employee will cut any part for you for free. This is a pretty normal part of the job for Home Depot employees but if you want to read about some crazy things they have seen, click here.

Dan Stout
Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.

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