According to the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association, around 1.8 billion pallets are used across the U.S. These items are used for shipping and storage, but they can also be creatively repurposed. Pallets are large platforms that can be converted into tables, racks, and more. What’s more, they can even be found for free.
You will be amazed by what can be achieved with a drill, some screws, and paint. The Internet has a wealth of creative suggestions that suit any interior. Don’t miss any sales and deals in your area – just check Menards ad this week to save on your DIY supplies.
New or Used?
Should you look for cheap or free pallets? The answer depends on your goals. Second-hand items are often stained or soiled, which makes craft projects complicated. In addition, used pallets will also harbor bacteria, so you should clean them thoroughly. However, if you need a weathered look, an old pallet is perfect.
For example, here is an exciting project which you can easily complete using building materials at Menards.com. If your pallet has closely spaced slats, turn it into a tabletop for any room! You will need the following supplies:
- sandpaper/electric sander,
- four wheels or quick-mount table legs with plates,
Cut the pallet if necessary. Sand the surface thoroughly, paint it, and varnish. Attach the legs or wheels – and voila! Here is where you are most likely to find pallets for this and other projects:
1. Your Local Dry Goods Store
Check stores that sell furniture, appliances, clothes, etc. They sell goods which are transported from one location to another. Pallets usually remain dry and relatively clean due to the nature of the cargo.
Generally, it is easier to secure free pallets from a small local store, rather than a huge retailer. The bigger the company – the higher the probability of it having a rigorous return/recycle policy. However, remember to negotiate with the owner first. Without approval, you may be accused of theft.
2. Your Local Hardware Store
Many hardware stores are locally owned. This even applies to big chains like Hardware Hank. As they do not get colossal deliveries, the volume of pallets is usually too low for recycling. Thus, if you ask the manager, they may let you take their pallets. Approval is mandatory, even if you see a pallet sitting in the dumpster.
3. Your Local Craft Store
Michaels is a national chain of craft stores. There are over 1,200 locations across the US, and some of these offer pallets for free. Check with the manager first, as policies vary. The stores do not get many pallets, but these may be put outside or into dumpsters.
4. Your Local Big Box Store
Here, everything depends on each store’s own policy. Home Depot has a special agreement with distributors. These do not allow them to give their used pallets away. The official explanation is that pallets are expensive to produce, and returning them allows Home Depot to keep their prices down. The items are recovered by the distribution firm. Competing stores have more lax policies.
Walmart will not allow you to collect used pallets, either. However, the store sells new and recovered pallets online. Thus, it is not the perfect location. Lowe’s retail chain always uses pallets in huge numbers. Lowe’s has its own recycling centers where these items go.
However, this does not mean you cannot try to negotiate with the managers. Their willingness to help you depends on location. Some may still agree to give their pallets away, while others may charge a fee.