From the Magazine

These 4 Easy Tricks Can Help Save You $100s on Fall Home Improvements

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If you’re among the 52 percent of folks planning to tackle home renovations this fall, you could easily wind up shelling out some serious dough to complete larger projects. These four easy tricks from home improvement expert and Kaleidoscope Living founder Tasha Agruso will help you find paint, tools, and more for much less than you’d typically spend for them. Read on to find out how! 

Shop for Supplies Online

Think your local hardware store is the best place to get supplies, such as floor tile and paint rollers? Think again, says Agruso. You could find the same supplies for 10 to 20 percent less simply by shopping online! “I comparison shop and often find the best deals at online stores such as Amazon and Build.com,” she explains.

Other smart ways to save? Visit Habitat ReStores, which sells donated home improvement items to the public at a fraction of the retail price. 

You can also do an online search for architectural salvage yards in your town, urges Agruso. “You can find great deals on doors, windows, tubs, doorknobs and beyond!”

Borrow Tools From Lending Libraries

Instead of buying a tool that you may not use again for a short-term project, why not borrow it? Log on to Local Tools to locate tool-lending libraries in your area, which are offered by public libraries for free and by maker spaces (aka community workspaces for DIYers, artists, and professionals) that share equipment for a small fee, Agruso suggests. “There’s a maker space near me that has an incredible arsenal of tools, from saws to wood shapers,” she assures. 

Easier still, you can rent tools from a home improvement store. Shares Agruso: “When I needed a jackhammer to remove the stone from an old fireplace, I rented one for $40 for one day, which was all I needed.” 

Don’t Rule Out Generic Brands

When shopping for steel hardware, such as nails, screws and staples, you’ll quickly find that prices vary widely based on brand recognition, manufacturer size, and packaging. But that doesn’t mean that more expensive versions are better, Agruso reasons. “About 99 percent of the time, I opt for the cheaper, lesser-known brands, because they’re made the same way, out of the same material.” 

As for the other 1 percent? “Some brands go the extra mile, so it helps to look at the details. For example, the Kreg Blue-Kote brand’s pocket-hole screws, which are used to build shelving or furniture, have three anti-corrosion layers, which means excellent rust-resistance, making them worth paying a bit more,” Agruso explained.

Buy Paint in Bulk 

“If you’re painting multiple rooms the same color, rather than buying a few 1-gallon paint buckets, get the most for your money by buying the larger, 5-gallon variety,” advises Agruso. “It costs about the same as four single gallons — so you essentially get a whole gallon for free!” 

If you wind up with leftovers, they can be salvaged without the need to store a big bulky can. Simply pour the remaining paint into an airtight container with a tight-fitting secure lid (such as a screw-top Mason jar) to prevent evaporation and keep paint-spoiling microorganisms out. “You can use it for years to touch up scuffs and scratches without having to pay for more paint,” advises Agruso. 

This story originally appeared in our print magazine. 

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