What To Do With Your DIY Leftovers

Even the most efficient and seasoned DIYer will confess to on occasion having a fair amount of leftover materials. Most of us who attempt to DIY is always left with a load of spare wood, tiles, extra cable, half a tin of paint; the list goes on…

Having extra materials isn’t just the product of poor measuring & ‘finger in the air’ project management; sometimes the scope of the project changes. More often than not due to increased efficiency or the good old “it might look better over there” situation.

Placing blame is usually very easy. Deciding what to do with the leftovers typically isn’t. I for one have 6 pieces of timber in the basement; which have been gathering dust for the best part of a decade. I know I am not alone in this, which is why we have decided to put together a list of options to help rid you of all those leftovers?


Where most of us go to get rid of unwanted gifts or old household products, why not use this hub of consumers to pass off some of your unwanted material? Items range from spare tiles & screws to full kitchen cabinet sets; there is seemingly a demand for almost anything. Remember when setting up your listing that; yes you do want to make some money, but you were going to take it all to the dump – don’t charge too much.

The Dump, Sorry The Recycling Center…

Located across the UK (see your local council website for details) these huge recycling centers are the staple for any DIY/renovator. Usually large landfill or drop-off centers, prospective recyclers reverse up and segment their waste by material. Dumps are very strange places, often resembling the set of Mad Max. A top tip if you need to visit one of these locations is; always bring some proof of address as over recent years there have been a lot of people deliberately using the wrong centers.


For those of you who aren’t familiar with Freecycle, it is a community of people looking to part with gifts and household items for free. You need to register to each group (location) before you can start to view or post items. In my experience demand for even seemingly random items is extremely high. So this is a great way of getting rid of items without having to leave the house. EVERYBODY loves something for free.

Return Unused Items

If like me at the end of most DIY projects you have at least one extra bag of wood screws or two tubes of sealant; don’t put them back in the toolbox. I know there is a desire to horde such items on the premise that at some point in the future you will need them. Logic however will determine that you probably have enough loose or not quite finished to complete touch-ups & alterations. New projects will also almost always require slightly different components. DIY isn’t cheap either; by not getting your money back you are practically throwing it away.


Recycling doesn’t just relate to putting your green box outside the front door with your week’s supply of wine bottles and cardboard. It relates to making a conscious effort to reuse something; which is hopefully what most of you will do with your leftovers. The first place to look is in the home; can any of these materials be put to use elsewhere? Could you use the leftover paint in the kitchen rather than buying a new color? Of course, we touched on recycling above, but recycling internally (within your household) requires a bit of a mind shift. I keep wood and some paints because I tend to horde, but also because I know at some stage I will use them. What could you use again?