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8 Unique Uses for Free Stuff From The Home Depot

Here's how to put Home Depot giveaways to work.

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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 work great as as paint stirrers, but there’s are a few 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 you’ve got a custom curved sander, perfect for sanding unusually shaped objects.

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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.

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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 hooked pry lip makes for a relatively gentle pressure point, especially when combined with a scraper.

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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.

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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 an 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.

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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 an ideal raw material for all kinds of crafts, from cut paper to origami.

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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 a relatively small upfront cost.

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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.

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.