All hail the hardware store! The sawdust-scented mecca of all things handy offers so much more than its name suggests. Between the lumberyard and garden center are aisles of products that can inspire creativity, solve problems and even save you money.
Here are six hardware-store treasures that we love:
The stuff of DIY legend is better than ever, thanks to an endless array of duct tape color options and patterns available at most hardware stores today. Whether you’re looking to mend a torn lawn chair or put a modern spin on giftwrap, no trip to the hardware store is complete without picking up a roll. Trust us, it’ll get used in some form of awesome eventually.
The spring-loaded rods used to hang shower curtains can double as storage lifesavers. Use them to turn small spaces into closets and conceal “off-limits” areas with curtains. Look for stainless steel options with matte metallic finishes (rather than chrome) to prevent other areas of your house from looking too bathroom.
No tool collection? No problem. Chances are, a single “mutli-tool” (the term for multifunctional, Inspector Gadget-inspired devices) will do the job. Some multi-tools are more complex than others, but they can all be used as pliers, wire cutters and a knife. Idea: Give them as gifts to college-bound grads or new homeowners!
The best things in life – and perhaps hardware stores – are free! Paint chips are a source of endless DIY opportunity and also happen to be free of charge. Grab a few each time you stop by to build up a stash for future projects. Note: If you’re planning a large-scale paint chip project, and want to grab them all at once, check with a hardware store employee before stocking up in large quantities.
The vinyl alphabet meant to identify mailboxes can also be a set of extra-cool, ultra-durable stickers. The classic black block letters make for unexpected monograms (or words or even emoticons!) on just anything. For some ideas on ways to use words in your home décor, read: Let’s Get Literal! Decorate with Words in Your Home.
What yellow bug lights lack in sexiness, they make up for in effectiveness. By switching your outdoor light bulbs to the yellow variety – a color that bugs aren’t attracted to – you can make great strides in eliminating nighttime critter clouds. Before you reach for sprays and candles this summer, make a trip to the bulb aisle first.