For lawn care and all manner of outdoor (and indoor) DIY projects, your shed is often your main storage vessel. All those tools and materials can get pretty spendy, though — especially if you’re buying it all new. Luckily, there are plenty of used items you can snag that are still good quality and save you the sticker shock. Here are the top items for your shed that we recommend purchasing used.
Outdoor storage can be pricey if you buy it all new. But storage bins, shelving, and even hooks and pegboard are often available secondhand. Sometimes, you can even score bins for free on a neighbourhood “buy nothing” group. Keep your eyes and your mind open in thrift stores, on local resell sites, and on used goods apps. While you might not get the shiniest set of matching shelves and bins, you can sometimes score some cheap or free storage gear.
Another spot to shop for hooks, pegboards, and outdoor storage is your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore or reclaimed building materials shop. This will save you money and cut down on clutter as you build your tool collection. (If your shelves or hooks are too dingy for your taste, a fresh coat of paint goes a long way.)
Hand tools are another cost that can add up quickly. Before you buy these new, check to see if you can find them on a resale app or a thrift store first. Sometimes you can even get better quality used hand tools for the same or a lower price than lower quality new ones. This can actually save you money and frustration, because they’ll likely last longer and be easier to use than a newer alternative.
Shovels of various types can be found used — and if you’re doing any of your own landscaping, a pointed metal shovel, a trowel, and a flat head shovel will likely be necessary. If you live in a place where it snows, a snow shovel or two will definitely come in handy. And all of these can be perfectly good used — just check for rust and loose handles.
You can always give a free shovel a little TLC if it’s got some minor rust by soaking it in a mixture of white vinegar and water overnight, then scrubbing the area with a wire brush, and applying some mineral oil or beeswax.
A work bench or a solid, sturdy table is a great thing to have if you’re doing your own maintenance, repair, or home upgrades. Depending on what you’re working on, sometimes an old desk can do the trick. If you need a larger workspace, you might be able to find a used workbench — or, if you have the time and skills, you can use a sheet of ¾-inch plywood with a 2-by-4 frame and legs to make your own work surface. If you’re lucky, you can find the materials you need for this at a reclaimed lumber yard for a good price.
A good bench vise is something that almost everyone’s grandpa had in the basement or garage. The reason? They’re a useful, versatile tool that can save you loads of hassle. It’s basically like having a third hand to help you hold things while you glue, saw, sand, grind, or drill. A good quality vise can be expensive, but you can probably fine one used on a resale app.
A pair or two of saw horses will be useful if you’re planning to do a lot of your own work. For painting, laying out larger projects — and also of course sawing — these are some of the hardest-working tools in my shop. They’re also great for setting up a temporary work surface. You can get sawhorses used; just be careful to make sure they’re the same height. It’s hard to work on a wobbly surface.