Dumpster Diving for Pallets

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I have seen so many great ideas for repurposing wooden pallets.  I have a board on pinterest named… Pallets .  I want pallets.  The problem is I’ve seen them by the side of the road but not stopped….what if they were just out with the garbage but not really out as garbage.  You can’t buy them in a store…I’ve never seen a Pallets ‘r Us…..it’s not like you meet people who say…hey, I have some pallets….show me some cash and I’ll show you the pallets.  I was in quite the conundrum….until….yesterday.  Now, for those of you who read this and go to the same church as me….leave the page and pretend you never saw this….close the browser now and never speak of this again.  For those of you who don’t go to church with me…continue reading (please).

It was a day like any other except for one twist.  My husband and I needed to stop by the church.  Our church is expanding and building a new church so there’s a lot of construction going on.  I drove to the church….pulled into the parking lot and *insert singing* there it was in front of me….a dumpster…..and I saw it {I think a beam of light may have come down through the clouds to bring it to my attention….or maybe not}….at the top of a full dumpster….I spotted two…not one…but two pallets.  I said nothing and slowly walked into church not making eye contact {we were the only ones in the parking lot so that wasn’t hard but I’m sure my heart was beating quickly and my eyes were shifting}.  We took care of what we needed to do and began to leave the building….that’s when I sprung it on my husband….think cheetah and gazelle……I’m 5 feet 2 inches on a good day…my husband is 6 feet 5 inches tall every day….I could get in the truck without saying a word….slowly pull over to the dumpster, open the back of the truck, climb onto the running board and try to get the pallets out myself….or I could just mention it casually to my husband…..point to the pallets and have him pull them out….or head home and hate myself for not taking hold of this opportunity.  I gently mentioned to my husband that I would be so happy i.e. his ride home would be much happier, if he were to pull the two pallets out of the dumpster.  He looked at me a bit puzzled….asked whether this was stealing….of course it’s not stealing, cha!….it’s in a dumpster for goodness sake….after a bit more convincing that he wasn’t going to go to jail {if he does get in any trouble this post will be deleted and I will deny everything} he got the pallets out for me, put them in the back of the truck and we drove home slowly {actually I may have peeled out of the parking lot and sped home~my adrenaline was raised so I’m not sure}.

I am so excited looking at my pretty pallets….but now…what do I make?  If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them!

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  1. 1

    Glynis says

    Thank you for this post! My eyes are constantly drawn to all of the handy projects others are making with pallets but no one EVER speaks of where they acquired said pallets. Your take on the whole situation was entertaining and enlightening; now I have a start as to where to look to legally obtain pallets. Oh, happy day! Thank you!

  2. 2


    You can also check with furniture stores. You can always call them and see if they have any pallets they’d like to get rid of. We saw an add in the paper or Craig’s List for free pallets and it turned out to be from a furniture store. Hope that’s helpful to you! :)
    Melody´s last blog post ..My Own Game of Devil’s Advocate

  3. 3

    Aunt Bee says

    I am trying to be quiet but giggling so hard at your story I may look a little crazy to the average onlooker…as usual…oh well..

    my idea has always been to make a really cool lounge bed thingy for outside (think tanning or sitting by a fire pit). I thought add some hinges to join two together, sand and stain…..you could lay them both out flat with wonderful long outdoor cushions on them for laying in the sun…or put the hinges to good use by using one of the pallets as a seat and the other as a back…again with wonderful outdoor cushions…never have found pallets either and my husband walks away from me very quickly when I start to bring up this idea for the 40th time..

  4. 5


    “what if they were just out with the garbage but not really out as garbage. You can’t buy them in a store…I’ve never seen a Pallets ‘r Us…”

    This cracked me up! I’ve had those same thoughts!

    `a casarella

  5. 6

    Julia Stansel says

    I dated a guy once who was building a house out of old pallets. Now living in TN I know that alot of shanty shacks have been built out of old pallets. Since I am married to “Fred Sanford” I can tell you that I know for a fact there are stores that sell pallets, though they are not called pallets r us. LOL! Free pallets can always be found on freecycle.org and craigslist.com

    You can make some really pretty picture frames out of old pallets. I once painted some native americans on ultra-suede and “Fred” made me the most beatiful frames out of old pallet wood.

    Your boys would find they make excellent tree houses and forts! “Fred” says to mention that pallets are very difficult to pull apart. Of course he is a man and thus always wants to use force instead of finesse. He doesn’t understand the will of us craft ladies of steel! Pallets do make a nice rustic boarder for flower beds. In my mind I picture those rustic boards made into windmills to go in the yard or better yet a rustic gingerbread house that could become home to any number of squirrels, coons or even a favorite family pet.

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with! And don’t be embarrassed about dumpster diving. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasures!

  6. 13

    Barbara says

    My son made his chickens a fine house out of pallets last year. Then this year he added on. It was a great use of throw away good wood, and fit a young man’s budget just right. The hens love their “long house.”