You know what I wish the Home Depot would offer?
Just throwing it out there. Hopefully the PR folks would get a hold of this post and be inspired by this genius idea.
Imagine being a newbie DIYer and they offered “The Home Depot Demystified” tours where everything you need to know about shopping there, along with DIY tips and tricks, would be served up with a 30-minute tour, followed by Happy Hour.
(Okay, no alcohol. Maybe donuts. Yeah….donuts. And coffee).
Because there’s a learning curve to shopping these home improvement stores, don’t you think??
Although I’m not a DIY newbie anymore, I remember those moments of walking in scratching my head, especially when I needed to buy wood, molding, and trim.
So I thought I would share with you a few of those “AHA” moments for those of you that didn’t know these things about shopping home improvement stores, in general.
5 Truths I Learned From The Home Depot
Truth #1: We Can STOP Guessing Which Nuts and Bolts to Buy!
Have you ever needed just ooooonnneee more nut or bolt because you lost one?
It’s happened to me too many times to count! I’ve aimlessly wandered the Screws and Bolts aisle, trying to figure out what size matches, while I had no idea this little thread checker was hanging right on the wall!
You probably walked by it as many times as I have!
All you do is bring your nut or bolt from home and check to see which one it threads into properly.
Once you get a match, then you know what size nut or bolt to buy!
No more running back to the store because you bought the wrong size, or wasting money buying 2-3 packs “just in case” one size doesn’t fit!
I found that Amazon sells nut and bolt checkers and thread checkers, so if you own a workshop, getting something like this to hang on your wall would save a lot of hassle in selecting the right size screws and bolts!
Truth #2: Wood Isn’t Reeeeeally 4 Inches Wide….
There’s that moment that every DIYer learns the truth:
That a 1″ x 4″ board is not reeeeeally 1 inch thick and 4 inches wide.
Oh no, my friend.
It’s actually only 0.75″ thick and 3.5″ wide!
I did a little Googling for the reason, and found that they list the nominal size, but after the wood gets surfaced and planed to smooth it out, they end up with the following dimensions (aka: the real sizes of wood).
Yep, go on and PIN this chart now, folks. You’ll need it for future reference! I guarantee it.
Sooo…..why does size of wood matter, again….?
Oh, trust me–ahem–it matters to know this!
Especially if you ever have wanted to build something where you’ll need to buy wood and it needs to be a certain dimension.
You may be thinking that 4-inch width is perfect!
……until you get it home and realize it’s really only 3.5″ wide!
Makes a big difference in building and DIY!
My Little Screw Up
Here’s what happened when I realized my own mistake about wood sizing.
Remember when I took my kids’ bookcase that I had found on the side the road and made built-in storage on top of the bookcase?
Well, it turned out super cute.
But I had planned to buy a 1″ x 12″ board, thinking that the 12-inch width would peeeeerfectly fit the 12-inch width on top, right?
I ended up with a piece of wood too short because the 12-inch wide wood was really 11.25″ wide (or maybe it was 11.5″–I can’t remember exactly).
I ended up having to make some adjustments (which worked out better in the end), but still… The frustration of not knowing about wood sizing was quite the learning experience!
Now that you know this, you’ll be all the wiser when headed to the Home Depot!
Truth #3: Dude, Building Furniture Is Expensive!!
I don’t care what anyone tells you–building furniture is not the cheapest route!
The truth is that building furniture is expensive.
Now….when you compare it to buying something brand new from the store–yes, it’s cheaper.
But when you compare it to going to a thrift store and buying a solid wood, high-quality piece of furniture and refinishing it (see my thrift store furniture makeovers), it’s waaaaaayyy more expensive building from scratch!
Most of my furniture pieces I buy from the thrift store cost an average of $20.
But furniture like this bench with storage that I built for my family room, I think it cost about $70 – $80 to make, if not more.
The sheet of oak plywood was $50 alone (!!!).
Plus, when you’re making furniture (or even crafts), you have to buy things like iron-on wood veneer edging to finish off the raw edges of the wood. That’s about $10 average.
And don’t forget feet or legs, or any other accessories. Those are not cheap.
You’re looking at over $100 just to make a custom bench or other piece of furniture!
For that price, I can buy probably 3 good pieces of furniture from the thrift store.
Of course, it depends on how fancy you want to get, but generally, building furniture will be more costly than refinishing thrifted furniture!
Doesn’t mean I won’t build more furniture in the future, because I love the creative aspect of building furniture from scatch!
But just like sewing your own clothes (and you know how expensive fabric can be!)–you build furniture because you love it, not because it saves tons of money, right?
It’s good to know this going into it, though.
Truth #4: It’s OKAY to Take Back Stuff for Store Credit!
No, I’m not talking about returning stuff that’s opened and you’ve already used (that would be lame).
I’m talking about the extra pack of rollers you bought that you didn’t use 6 months ago when you painted your kitchen…
…or the two cans of spray paint for a project you never got around to starting.
I bet if you look, you probably have a pile of stuff you bought that you never used from the Home Depot.
Gather it all up and take it back.
They’ve got an awesome return policy. If you used a credit or bank card, they can look up your purchase to make returns easy without a receipt.
If you paid cash and don’t have a receipt, they’ll give you store credit.
And you’d be surprised what I found in my house: a whole bag of stuff I hadn’t used! (That sheet of metal was $20 alone!!).
When I took everything back, you can see here that I got over $170 refunded!
And because of that refund, I was able to afford the crown molding I needed for my cozy family room makeover!
How sweet is that?!
I don’t know if other home improvement stores have that kind of easy return policy, but I love how easy it is to return stuff here!
So don’t be afraid to take things back and buy the stuff you need now!
Truth #5: Even a Newbie Can Find Molding and Trim!
My eyes used to glaze over any time I got anywhere near the lumber department!
I was so confused about choosing molding and trim. I just had no idea!
As many times as I had walked through the Home Depot, I hadn’t noticed this handy dandy little molding display in the lumber section.
Have you ever noticed it?
People that know what they’re doing probably don’t even notice it. They just come and get what they need, and roll out.
But especially for newbies without much experience in picking molding and trim, it would be so confusing trying to figure out what to buy and where to even find it!
I was surprised to see that not only were the moldings and trims grouped by CEILING….and DOOR & WINDOW….. (so you buy the right type) but they had the little stickers to tell you which wood bin to find it, and had a little cross-cut of the decorative shape!
Yep….right where they said it would be– BIN B9!
Those labels really made it easy to find the right product.
And not only that, but they even tell you on the label: Use 6D Finish Nail x 2″ (inches)
That’s actually huge to know, especially if you’re a newbie and have never put up trim or molding before.
Takes the guessing game out of DIY!
This Isn’t a Sponsored Post
And I can’t help but point out that this isn’t a sponsored post. I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile because I was finding out these little tidbits of information during my many trips to buy wood and supplies, and I often thought, “Hmmm….I wonder if my readers know this??”
Once I learn it, I must share it!
Hopefully, we’ll be that much wiser next time we’re on the hunt for supplies.
And you never know…maybe one day the Home Depot will offer “Get-to-Know-Your-Store” tours.
But I’m not holding my breath on the Happy Hour afterward…. 😉
So have you learned some helpful DIY tips and tricks that you want to share when shopping for materials? Leave your comment below! Let’s chat about it!