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Sustainability

5 Places to Find Reclaimed Wood and What You Can Do With It

 (modified Sep 13, 2022)

When it comes to doing your own projects, wood is often a material that will be used. Instead of buying new pieces and paying top dollar, consider using reclaimed wood. This is wood that has been used in other projects or structures that have been torn down or demolished.

Usually, you can find perfectly usable pieces of wood at these job sites for next to nothing or even free. If you are starting a project or in need of wood, here is how to find reclaimed wood near you and how to get a great value.

Places to find Reclaimed Wood

Where to Find Reclaimed Wood Near You

If you are not afraid of a little hard work, then you can greatly improve your chances of getting reclaimed wood. Popular locations include:

1. Reclaimed Wood From Classifieds

Sites such as Craigslist, Nextdoor, Reddit (local subreddit), and your local newspaper are places that people may post that they are tearing down an old structure and the materials are free for the taking if you help. On the other side, you can post an ad yourself saying that you are interested in taking away old wood and see if anyone comes to you.

2. Reclaimed Lumber Dealer

There are plenty of dealers across the country that offer reclaimed wood, usually already cleaned, processed and ready to use. It’s worth a quick search in your local area to see if you have a reclaimed lumber dealer nearby. Here are a few locations that may be near you (some even offer delivery outside their area!) : 


Woman looking for reclaimed wood

3. Salvage Reclaimed Wood From Dumpsters

Especially dumpsters ones for construction companies and home improvement stores. What the bigger projects might consider scraps can easily cover the amount of wood you will need for a smaller project. You’ll surely be able to find some good pieces that will be suitable for a project you plan on using it for.

While one man's trash is another man's treasure, you may want to look into your states laws and regulations when it comes to dumpster diving so that it doesn’t interfere with any of your cities ordinances. It's also important to be cautious as there may be hazardous materials in the dumpster. Wearing gloves and checking with care and enough light is the best way to safely look for wood to reclaim. 

4. Reclaimed Barn Wood From Old Farms

Older farms often have extra material that was kept from tearing down a previous structure. Given the size of some farms, they may be thankful to have someone carry away their old wood. You can also salvage wood from abandoned barns.

Abandoned barns can be found all around the country, all you would need to do is contact the proprety owner to see if you have the green light to take some of the wood. Reclaimed barn wood is a fairly common way of finding wood to repurpose into something new. With so many abandoned barns, reclaimed barn wood is your best avenue to find wood for your next project. 

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5. Finding Discarded Wood From Retail Stores

Another great location to find old wood to reclaim are retail stores, especially grocery stores. They usually have packaging and pallets from merchandise they've received that they have no use for. Many stores will toss them out back in a stack.

It's always a good idea to speak with the store manager before rummaging through old pallets. If the manager lets you have it, make sure to wear safety gloves when handling the old pallets as there may be nails sticking out of the wood.

These are all great options for locating the wood for your project. With many people doing some spring cleaning, now is a great time to get looking.

How to Effectively Clean Reclaimed Wood

Once you've acquired the wood for your future projects, you'll want to ensure it's properly cleaned and ready to go. You'll want to create a cleaning solution, but first, you'll need to identify if the wood has been treated or not. If the wood has been treated with a chemical to help it withstand the weather, then all you'll need to clean it is some soap and a damp wash rag. A brush may come in hand for hard to reach crevices in the wood.

If the wood has not been treated, then you can create a mixture of olive oil, white viniger and water. Use the wash rag or brush on the wood gently to ensure it's thoroughly cleaned and prepped for your project.

What to Do With Reclaimed Wood

Now that you have your wood, there are plenty of projects that you can accomplish with it. Reclaimed wood can take many forms, from plywood, old fence pieces, pallets, to perfectly good 2x4s. Before tossing out your old furniture, consider how you may repurpose it for something else. Depending on what you managed to find, here are some ideas on how to put it to use:

Cutting a piece of a wood plank

Shelves

Shelves and cabinets can easily be DIY'd from reclaimed wood. You can find plenty of online tutorials showing you how to build any size shelf or cabinet you want.

Trays

You can create small trays to set decorations on or used for food and drinks. Trays are also a great item to have on an entrance table to place things like car keys. Since they're smaller and not too difficult to create, trays are a perfect beginner DIY project.

Storage Containers

Organizers for your kitchen supplies. Make shallow boxes to put in your cabinets, or even a holder for seasonings to display on your counter and help keep your kitchen decluttered.

Clocks

Consider creating a clock for your living room space. Purchasing a cheap clock face can turn your reclaimed wood into a grandfather clock. With countless designs found online, you're bound to find the right style for your home.

Furniture

Creating furniture out of the wood is a fantastic way to reuse it. If you are able to get enough, you can make chairs, outdoor benches, tables, dressers, or just about anything else!

Gardening Boxes

Use your wood to frame a section for soil to plant a garden, or make smaller boxes to plant some herbs inside. You can even use it to create a compost box which will greatly help fertilize your garden and help you be even more eco-friendly!

The Benefits of Using Reclaimed Wood

It may be more work to reclaim wood rather than to just go to your local home hardware store, but there are several benefits to it:

  • An Eco friendly way to gather building materials by preserving natural resource
  • Less pollution from machines and factories gathering the wood
  • Can have a beautiful rustic appearance to the wood
  • The wood comes with its own history
  • Aged wood has increased strength and durability when compared to newer wood


Whether you already have an idea or not, there are plenty of ways to find reclaimed wood near you and milk tremendous value out of it. This is a fun way to complete a project while recycling unused and unwanted materials. And if you are ever on the other side and trying to get rid of your wood, Bin There Dump That can help.

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