thrifty thursday: upcycling, freecycling, and recycling pallets

Ok, I’ll admit it.  When a friend said to me, “Oh, you don’t know about Pinterest?  Just wait, you’ll be addicted in no

trash can corral with living wall

time,” I laughed thinking, “Ha! When do I have the time to create virtual bulletin boards and pin things to them?”  Famous last words.  (Then I took to blogging, and that’s a whole other post)

One of the first boards I created on Pinterest was about pallets.  There is something soothing to me about the look of a pallet–uniform, symmetrical, and open for opportunity.  Once I started trolling Pinterest for ideas, it dawned on me that I’d have to find a few pallets before I could start on projects.

It amazes me that for as many pallets as you see by large dumpsters or behind chain stores, folks don’t necessarily want to give them away.  Seriously?!  Come on, people, are you ever going to haul them to the recycling place?

So, I kept my eyes open and after a few weeks, I happened to notice a few at my daughter’s school, right by the car

compost bin with pallets and shutters

rider line.  Hmmmm. . .I watched and waited, and a few more appeared, begging me to take them home, just like the Velveteen Rabbit, and bring them back to life.  And so I did.  Much to the chagrin of my daughter.  My tween daughter.  The one who is embarrassed by a mom stuffing pallets into the back of her Subaru Outback in car rider line while other parents chat on their cell phones or let their preschool children climb through sun roofs.

Actually, finding more pallets became a game for my tween and me, and after being turned down by 3 big box stores, we struck it rich.  The guys in the last store we hit said, “Sure, take as many as you want as long as we don’t have to lift them for you.”  Yeah, ok.

Now, I am full o’ pallets.  So far, I’ve only made three projects out of them–my compost bin, the chicken play pen and the garbage can corral with the living wall.  But not far behind may be these projects.  I won’t post the photos for each one; rather, I’ll suggest join Pinterest too–there are a lot of pallet addicts, I mean artists, out there!

1.  Stack a few up and make a great coffee table or table for your deck or porch.

chicken play pen

2.  Anchor smaller ones to the wall to create bookshelves.

3.  One guy had taken all the panels off the pallets and had covered a wall in his living rooms with them then stained them all different colors of grey.

4.  Anchor smaller ones to the wall, paint each panel a different color, then add a hook on each one to create a cute coat rack (great for a child’s room).

5.  I have seen all kinds of small homesteading projects made from pallets–chicken coops, sheds, cold frames, and greenhouses.

6.  There are some great ideas for patio chairs, chaise lounges, and futon beds.

7.  Remove the panels or just fill in the gaps to create planters or raised beds.

8.  Place side-by-side on the ground to create a walking path through the landscape.  Yes, they’ll eventually break down, but it’s ok for the environment.

9.  Put casters on the bottom of them then place your heavier pots on top–makes them mobile and easier to move.

10.  I’ve even seen an entire patio with a decorative wall all made by pallets placed side by side then painted with outdoor paint.  Really beautiful!

Yes, pallets can be heavy and difficult to move–why do you think the sales guys weren’t headin’ out back to help me–but they are a great source of free wood just waiting to be reclaimed.  Even if it does embarrass your child.

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