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Wooden crates are marvelous for many reasons, and their usefulness is incredible. Whether you’re making vegetable planters, compost bins, decorating your barbecue area, or constructing a DIY bed and cabinet set, wooden crates are essential. However, we would rather not pay exorbitant amounts to purchase these crates. Below we’ll investigate how to get wooden crates for free near you.
- Wooden crates are available from many places.
- You’ll need to contact most stores ahead of time and ask if they are willing to give you their old crates. Once they agree, you’ll need to ask them to keep the crates for you.
- Aside from stores, asking around your neighborhood is a great way to find old crates.
- Not all used crates will be in good condition, so you might need to fix them before using them.
- Wood is a versatile material for the DIY type of person. It looks good, is easy to work with, and lasts long when well looked after.
Many stores receive their goods in crates (especially grocery stores and printing companies). Once they unpack their goods, many of these stores send the empty crates to a recycling plant.
Warehouses are a fantastic place to look for old crates. Many warehouse products are stored in crates, and when the product is shipped, the crates become redundant.
You might need to ask them ahead of time to keep a crate for you as they usually recycle/dispose of them relatively quickly. Make sure you are quick to collect the crates as well.
Most of the crates in a warehouse are in use, and often the available crates are broken. Some crates might have water damage and need some TLC (time and energy from your side). You might not find aesthetically pleasing items depending on why you want the crates.
Warehouses are a good place to find free pallets.
Examples of warehouses include:
These stores are also great places to look for old crates. The majority of these store’s goods arrive in crates. Once the store unpacks the goods into storage and onto the shelves, they dispose of the old crates.
If you act quickly enough, you might get a few crates and pallets before they’re shipped off. Hardware stores and nurseries are also potential goldmines for old crates.
Once more, the quality of the crate and its condition might be subpar, so you might not get what you need immediately.
Newspaper printers and other publishing/printing companies receive many paper reams. These reams often arrive in crates, which, once unpacked, are redundant and sent for recycling.
Ask your local newspaper outlet/publisher for their old crates. You might need to ask ahead of time so they can hold onto them for you. You can use the yellow pages to find the nearest newspaper/publisher in your area.
The benefit of getting crates from these stores is that they should not be in bad condition, as they need to keep paper safe. However, the crates might be smaller than you need.
While you might strike “gold” by asking a store for their recently emptied crates, you’ll often not be so lucky. Often, the crates are in disrepair, and they’ll need a great deal of repairing to make them usable.
4. Make Crates For Yourself From Pallets/Scrap Wood
Old crates and pallets you collect from warehouses and stores might not be in usable condition. In these situations, you’ll need to take the crate apart, clean the wood, modify it as required, and reassemble it to your specifications.
You might only find a few broken planks and build your crate from the various pieces.
The benefit is that you can fully customize the crate as you go, but you’ll need the tools, time, and skill to do so.
Some guidelines to restoring an old crate are available online.
The best way to find crates is to ask. Occasionally people have no use for empty wooden boxes or pallets, and your offering might help them to get the items off their hands.
People pack their lives into boxes when they move and haul them to the new place. Once they’ve settled and unpacked (a lengthy process), those crates are usually not needed anymore, and you could ask for them.
If your neighbor paid for the crates, they might not give them away. However, if you could work out a deal or borrow the crates, that might solve your problem (depending on your needs).
Bricks, cement, pipes, etc., usually come with wooden packaging, so visiting a construction site might be the perfect place. Although these crates are often a bit worse for wear after construction, they are usually happy to give them away.
Building Radar’s website offers an automated way to track construction sites around the US.
Recycling and landfill sites almost always have old crates, pallets, and wood.
The only drawbacks are that they might not be in great condition, and you’ll need to sort through a lot of rubbish before you find useful crates/pallets/wood.
If you don’t know where your local landfill or recycling plant is, try to use Google maps.
Craigslist is a fantastic platform for purchasing all manner of goods. The benefit is that many people give away items on Craigslist as well.
When searching, open the “Free” tab to see what people are giving away. Unfortunately, you can’t always guarantee the quality online, so you might need to drive a fair distance for no reason.
Facebook Marketplace is a huge platform that allows people to advertise their goods. You might find some for free by looking out for crates.
Facebook also has community groups, and anyone close by trying to get rid of old stuff usually posts on Facebook.
Like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle is a good way to find unwanted items. The purpose of Freecycle is to reduce the number of usable goods that go to landfills by passing them on to people who could use them.
Freecycle allows you to search by location and item category.
Wooden crates and pallets are fantastic materials for numerous projects.
These projects include:
- Headboards and bed stands
- Planting boxes for vegetable gardens
- Composting bins
Wood provides an appealing aesthetic. It’s warm, relatively easy to use and work with simple tools, and, when treated correctly, wood lasts for a long time.
Wood is easier to use than metal because it requires less specialized tools and skills. For the majority of DIY projects, you’ll need:
- Tape measure/measuring device and pencil
- Wood glue
- Screwdriver (electric or hand)
- Paint and varnish
Your intended project and how much “tweaking” the crate requires will determine your needed tools. Once completed, you’ll treat the wood with varnish and paint to improve the wood’s longevity. The essential thing when working with wood is to remember to “measure twice and cut once.”
Although old wood is often widely available, it is essential to ensure that the wood you select is usable for the task.
Some criteria include:
- The wood is not rotten and easily broken
- There is no mold
- The crate is sturdy and stable
- The crate should be the right size and shape to suit your needs
- The crate’s appearance should suit your needs
- Ensure there are no hazards (exposed nails, splintered edges, etc.)