Renovating your home is exciting, expensive, and stressful. You might think the difficulty is over once the last coat of paint has dried, but there’s almost always one final step: Dealing with the leftover construction materials.
Renovation is far from an exact science, and you pretty much have no choice but to buy more material than you need. Tiles will break, wood will warp, and you will run out of paint, thinset, or nails at some point in your renovation journey, prompting a harried trip to the hardware store for an entire bucket of screws when you just need four more.
Keeping some of those leftovers as a hedge against future repairs is a good idea. But sometimes we end up with a lot of leftover renovation materials, or leftovers that don’t lend themselves to storage (no one wants to keep a one-ton pallet of bricks in their garage forever). So what can you do with all that leftover stuff aside from throwing it away? Plenty.
Donate the excess
The easiest way to get rid of excess useable renovation material is to donate it. Habitat for Humanity runs a chain of ReStores that accept donations of building materials, which will keep it out of landfills while helping folks in need repair and maintain their homes. You can drive your stuff to a ReStore location yourself, or contact the nearest location and arrange a pickup. (You’ll get a receipt for your donation so you can claim it on your taxes, too.)
For smaller renovation materials, check out Freecycle or your neighbourhood Buy Nothing group to donate to folks in your area. This is often less work (and stress) than trying to sell everything, and helps someone else out in the bargain.
Sell your leftovers
In many cases you can sell your leftover stuff on Craigslist or Facebook — you might even be able to get someone to pay for the materials you’re removing from your home if it has been handled with care — other folks might find your “outdated” flooring, cabinetry, or other materials more “classic.”
Ask your contractor, if you used one. Many contractors keep a supply of building materials to use on their jobs in a pinch, or acquire interesting architectural details like fixtures or old doors to use in renovation designs. Another option for stuff like doors, cabinets, and old drawer pulls is to look up an architectural salvage store near you and see if they’ll buy them. People are always looking for vintage pieces to spice up their new renovations, so there’s a chance someone wants to buy the stuff you just (delicately) ripped out of your house.
Make something new with them
Another option for leftover materials is to make something cool with them. Depending on how handy, creative, and energetic you are, you can transform a surfeit of construction materials into something great:
- Tile. Leftover tiles can be transformed into so, so many things. One of the simplest projects to make from leftover tiles is a cheese board or serving tray. Another super easy way to put extra tiles to use is to buy some cork and create coasters. Seriously, there are a lot of ways to craft your extra tile into beautiful things.
- Wood. Wood is incredibly flexible. If you have a little skill working with wood, you can build a cool barn door to close off your newly-renovated room, or a bookshelf for some extra storage. Extra wood flooring can be built into benches, tables, desks, or shelves.
- Doors. Got a few old doors left from a reno? They make great tables, headboards, desks, or even eclectic wall art.
Extend the renovation
Got leftover stuff after a renovation? Consider the possibility it’s the universe telling you to keep going. If you have sufficient quantities of some materials, just keep renovating:
- Bricks. Who doesn’t look at a pile of bricks and imagine Real Life Legos? If you have enough of them, leftover bricks can be used to edge your gardens, create fire pits or planters, or create a patio or walkway in your yard.
- Paint. Accent wall anyone? While it’s smart to keep some leftover paint for future touch-ups, paint won’t store forever, so having gallons of it in the basement isn’t going to serve you. Paint is tough to get rid of, however, so a better use might be to spice up another room (or rooms) with an accent wall and a pop of colour.
- Wood. You can use leftover pressure-treated lumber to build a trellis over your patio, and extra studs to build a divider wall to turn one of your other rooms into two rooms.
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