17 Free Resources More Homeowners Should Take Advantage Of

Being a homeowner often demands more money and energy than you can spare. But a trove of local and online resources are standing by to give savvy homeowners access to free products and services that can make home—and life—maintenance easier and cheaper. Click through for the lowdown on 19 freebies that no homeowner can afford to ignore.

  1. Shipping Pallets

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    Free Shipping Pallets

    Score free shipping pallets for a DIY platform bed, wine rack, or other must-try woodworking project by placing a wanted ad in the Classifieds section of 1001Pallets.com, an online resource for recycled pallets. Be sure to ask sellers if their pallets bear the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) logo, which certifies that a pallet was heat-treated or fumigated to prevent insect infestation or plant diseases.

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  2. Tools

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    Free Power Tools

    Instead of paying top dollar for a new sandblaster or paint sprayer, why not borrow pricey but seldom-used tools from the library? Tool-lending libraries, which you can locate on LocalTools.org, provide a wide selection of gently used tools for free or with a membership subscription. 

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  3. Mulch

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    Free Mulch

    In the wake of the holiday season, towns throughout the country are left with a glut of discarded Christmas trees. Many municipalities grind them down into mulch that they then offer free to city residents from January through March. Check with your city's parks department to see if you can snag some free mulch to improve the soil in your own lawn or garden.

    Related: 14 Totally Free Ways to Start Your Own Garden

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  4. Boxes

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    Free Moving Boxes

    Whether you need just a few or a dozen boxes, one of the most overlooked suppliers for these moving and storage necessities are public and private schools. These institutions receive a steady stream of computers, textbooks, and other supplies each fall, and they're left with beaucoup boxes that janitors will often give away to city residents for free.

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  5. Paint

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    Free Paint

    Some municipalities maintain chemical reuse centers where residents can turn in unwanted paint and other chemicals that have been approved for reuse. These are great places to pick up a pleasing finish for your next project. If your city does have a reuse center, be sure to call ahead. These centers may be open just a few months during the year and may have limited hours or be open only on certain days.

    Related: 10 Smart Ways to Snag Free Stuff for Your Home

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  6. Cleaning Products

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    Free Cleaning Supplies

    If you sign up for the email newsletter on the website of your favorite cleaning brand, you may be able to get your hands on free cleaning supply samples or coupons that can save you a chunk of change the next time you go to stock up. Use a separate email address when you register for these brand offers to keep your personal inbox free from spam.

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  7. Storage Crates

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    Free Storage Crates

    Mail sorters, bookcases, and many other DIY projects can be constructed from the sturdy wood from salvaged crates. Local liquor stores may have some of these wooden crates from high-end potables, and they may be willing to let you have a few of them free of charge. 

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  8. Appliances

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    Free Appliances

    Whether your microwave has had a meltdown or your fridge is on the fritz, you may be able to find a quick replacement for free on Freecycle.org. More than 9 million members turn to their local chapter of the online recycling network to nab appliances and other used goods that neighbors are trying to get rid of.

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  9. Furniture

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    Free Furniture

    Craigslist’s “Free Stuff” section is the place for fun furniture finds. Go to your city page on Craigslist, then click on "for sale." From there, select "free stuff" from the category list to see what's available. Stay safe by avoiding listings without photos and by arranging to pick up your freebies at a public place like a coffee shop or mall rather than a private home.

    Related: 8 Sneaky Ways to Furnish Your Home for Less

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  10. Electronics

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    Free Electronics

    If you’re not fussy about having the latest model TV, stereo system, or camera, chances are that the gadgets you crave are already sitting in the home of someone living not too far away. Through the Facebook Marketplace, you can snap up free or discounted electronics and other preowned items that will let you build your dream entertainment center on the cheap.

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  11. Baby Items

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    Free Baby Items

    Expectant and new mothers often pay a pretty penny for bibs, high chairs, and other items that little ones soon outgrow. Instead of buying new, score some lightly used products from fellow mamas through Swapmamas.com, an online marketplace that caters to parents.

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  12. Books

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    Free Little Library Books

    Bibliophiles tired of blowing their reading budget at a bookshop can get their literary fix from fellow bookworms. Start by checking online at littlefreelibrary.org to see if any of your neighbors maintain an outdoor mini library that you can borrow from (or even add to!). Also look at community bulletin boards in shared spaces like the lobby of your condo building or a hallway in your office that might have listings of novels, textbooks, and other reading materials that you can add to your own collection at no cost. 

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  13. Bathroom Fixtures

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    Free Bathroom Fixtures

    In a bid to conserve water, city utility departments around the country are treating residents to brand-new bathroom fixtures and hardware, including low-flow toilets (in Fort Worth, Texas) and free replacement toilet flappers (in Santa Clara, California). The savings can be significant; for example, a low-flow toilet could cost you anywhere from $100 to $800 or more at your local home center.

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  14. Toys

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    Free Kids Toys

    When birthdays or the holidays roll around, moms and dads can obtain gently used toys for their tykes from local life care centers that provide assistance to parents in need of child-rearing support. To take advantage of this offer, you’ll typically need to take a class at the center and then use the credits you earn from the class to pick up toys from the center’s inventory.

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  15. Magazines

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    Free Magazines

    Fond of flipping through magazines at the checkout counter, but not so thrilled about the cost of an annual subscription? Get your hands on free individual issues or full subscriptions to popular publications like Real Simple, O Magazine, and other sources of home decor and lifestyle inspiration at HeyItsFree.net, an online marketplace that publishes deals for free or low-cost magazines and other hobby items.

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  16. Pet Food

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    Free Pet Food

    Keeping pet food samples on hand can ensure that Fido gets fed even when you’ve run out of his usual supply. FreeSamples.org makes it easy to pick up free pet food or vitamin samples from your favorite brand, or to try different brands.

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  17. Home Repairs

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    Free Home Repairs

    Roof and plumbing repairs are among the household chores you might be able to permanently check off of your to-do list when you hit the age of 60, thanks to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Your local NAAAA chapter, which you can find at n4a.org, provides, among other benefits, free help with household tasks like roof repair and lawn maintenance for low-income seniors who live independently.

    Related: 21 Totally Free Ways to Upgrade Your Home

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  18. Free Finds

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    Free Finds

    You'd be surprised what you can outfit your house with for free.

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  19. Don't Miss!

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    Even if you've got your heart set on hardwood flooring, it's worth considering the alternatives. Sometimes, materials that only look like wood can be just as good as—or even better than—the real thing. Explore your options now!