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14 Unique Uses for Free Stuff from The Home Depot

Here are some ways to put Home Depot giveaways to work.

sanding stir stick Home Depot paint sticksFamily Handyman

Home Depot paint stick sanders

Paint sticks are free at any Home Depot paint department. Naturally, Home Depot paint sticks are 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. There are so many fun, free products at Home Depot that you’ll never want to leave—just like this cat that never did!

CarpetOffscreen/Shutterstock

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. Home Depot is such a blissful place. And it’s one of 12 companies that pay above minimum wage!

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.

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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. Here are more really weird things you can buy at Home Depot.

stir stick push stickFamily Handyman

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.

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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. Home Depot employees have seen some crazy stuff—this is a mild request.

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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 an extra shot of pigment. No return necessary—though people have tried to return some crazy things to Home Depot.

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. Find out some things you should definitely be buying at Home Depot.

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.

purple paint chip sample strips on white backgroundFloortje/Getty Images

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.

floor sample squares on white backgroundJaysonPhotography/Getty Images

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.

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.

shutterstock_206357401Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

10-15 percent 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. These other Home Depot money-saving tips can save you a dime too.

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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. Now that you have all of these nifty freebies from Home Depot, try one of these weekend projects that can add value to your home.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Dan Stout
With over a decade spent on residential and commercial construction job sites, Dan Stout has the hands-on experience to speak to builders, contractors, and homeowners with the voice of authority. Much of his work centers on demystifying the building industry by simplifying construction jargon for homeowners and laying out best business practices for contractors. Dan's non-fiction has appeared on numerous blogs and vendor websites, while his prize-winning fiction has been featured in publications such as Nature and The Saturday Evening Post. His debut novel Titanshade is scheduled for a 2019 release from DAW Books.