How to Reuse Extra Home Improvement Supplies

Instead of wasting your purchases, recycle them.

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Here's the scenario: You've just finished painting your living room and you really overestimated how much paint you'd need. As a result, you have an extra gallon of paint and an extra gallon of primer on your hands. You definitely don't want to use it to paint another room. You can't return it to the store, so you chalk up the $60-plus in losses.

If you own a home, then you've likely been faced with this problem at least once. Whether you bought too much pipe, too much cement, or too much drywall, you most likely just stuck those excess supplies in your basement or garage, letting them all collect dust. The good news is that you don't have to waste these home improvement supplies, or let them take up any more storage space. Here are three ways to reuse and repurpose this stuff so it doesn't go to waste.

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1. Put It Up on DiggersList

DiggersList is a website that's like eBay and Freecycle combined. But it focuses exclusively on home improvement. DiggersList allows you to sell or give away everything related to your home, whether it's a box of extra light switches, or your old stove. The cool thing about the site is that it allows you to post pictures, so if you're looking for something it's really easy to find what you want. They also work closely with many non-profits, so if you want to donate your supplies to charities like Habitat for Humanity, DiggersList makes it easy to do so.

2. Donate It

If you happen to live close to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, you can easily donate your home supplies there. The Habitat ReStore sells used home supplies and furnishings to help raise money for their community building projects. Every donation is eligible for a tax deduction, and it's a great way to help a worthy organization and give back to your community. You can also put the word out to friends and family; perhaps they could use that extra bit of drywall to cover up a hole their kids knocked out in the living room. Or, they might want your old bathroom sink for their cabin. You never know unless you ask.

3. Upcycle It Into Another Project

Upcycling your old material into something new takes some thought and creativity, but there are old standbys. For instance, many people often reuse their old kitchen cabinets in the garage or basement. But other items, like old (or extra) home flooring, can often be turned into eclectic home furnishings or decoration. Add the flooring to a small wall, ceiling or door to give it an eclectic, unique look. Old copper pipes can be turned into industrial-looking wall bookshelves, coat hooks, or towel racks. Extra paint is another common resource that can be upcycled. Although you might not want to put that same color on another wall, you can easily reuse it in another project.

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 For instance, look at your basement. I've painted the cement walls of my unfinished basement with several different colors of leftover paint. The basement used to be plain, gray cement brick and stone. Now? It's a vibrant space that could easily be turned into a child's playroom because it's so colorful. You can also use leftover paint to cover the exposed pipes in your basements. Yes, this is a bit out of the box, but it can turn a boring space into an exciting one, especially if you use several different colors.

Final Thoughts

If you own a home then you're probably always going to have extra supplies lying around. It's just the nature of the beast. But instead of letting it clutter up your basement or garage, take a bit of time to find a new home for it. You just never know who might need it, and your house will be cleaner as a result. How have you reused extra home improvement supplies?

Heather Levin writes for the Money Crashers personal finance blog, and is the founder of The Greenest Dollar, a resource about green living and ideas for saving money.