I wish I had my own Home Depot

I Wish I Had My Own Home Depot For Preparedness Sake

How many of you have been slowly building up your own mini Home Depot of sorts? It’s just what happens, over time. We buy and accumulate various tools. All sorts of hardware, supplies, lumber, you name it…

Yesterday I went to my Home Depot and bought lumber to build three more raised garden beds. It got me to thinking…

Assuming that you’ve already reached a reasonable level of general preparedness which accounts for water, food, shelter, and security (and whatever else fits into your definition of ‘reasonably prepared’), you might also consider expanding into additional areas which may help you down-the-road for if and when you might need it. Such as, your own ‘mini’ Home Depot :-)

For example, whenever I’m in a Home Depot picking up supplies, a tool, or whatever, I sometimes say to Mrs.J while walking through the place… “I wish I had my own Home Depot !”.

Here’s why…

For one thing, my is about 30 minutes away. So whenever I have a reason to go there, I often pick up more than I need, so as to minimize return trips. I plan ahead. Envision future projects on my plate, and what I’ll need for it. ‘Nice to have’ things, for just in case. All within budget of course! (It’s easy to blow it, so be careful – haha).

It’s a challenge walking the aisles. What I mean is this… I wish I could buy one of everything! Although my shop will only fit so much ;)

Since I have multiple hands-on skills for DIY projects ranging from electrical to plumbing to construction to lots of things… I therefore like to keep on hand a variety of supplies and tools to accommodate such projects.

While I don’t have nearly as much as I would have if I actually had a career in any of those specific areas, I do enjoy being able to get a project done simply by utilizing what I have here at home. But inevitably I always seem to need a few things (or more) from Home Depot (or some other supplier).

With that said, now imagine if the SHTF for a time, and there were no more foreseeable trips to Home Depot (or wherever) to get the ‘stuff’ that you might need to build something or fix something, etc… Then what?? You will be relying on what you have at home. Or making arrangements with neighbors who may have some of what you may need. Everything will be ‘local’ in this scenario.

Take a look around your home. Your tool bench, garage, your shop. Take a mental inventory of what you have in this regard. Ask yourself if it would help if you had more raw materials of this or that. Or some specific hardware, tools etc.. And what specifically would those items be? I know, I know… everything, all of it, right?

Ideally, I would love to have the whole store’s inventory! But since I have not won the lottery – I make the best decisions I can about what I keep on hand. And what those things are will depend on the skill set or skill sets that you have or are gearing up for.

The simple point is, think about it… and think about it in the context of preparedness for long-term disruption.

What are your thoughts? Are there supplies (other than the ‘typical’ preparedness supplies) that might be beneficial to have on hand for SHTF – presuming you have the skills to utilize them? What are they?

One thing for sure… if you happen to live on a homestead-type property as I do, there sure are a lot of things I can think of! Unfortunately, gotta be careful with the spending!

Another consideration is as follows. Potential supply chain disruptions and shortages (now, and in the future)! I recall last year at one time when I went to Home Depot for some particular deck screws. I was shocked that nearly the entire portion of the aisle with deck screws was nearly bare! Sure gets you thinking about building your inventory doesn’t it?

[ Read: Manual Kitchen Tools For Off Grid Living ]


  1. I think back to our cabin that we stayed at when i was a kid,
    Had a bunk house with a wood stove in it and a sink with one spigot, and it had an outhouse with 2 sides, and a tin roof cook house with a big fire pit, wood stove with water tank, a shower stall accesible from outside only, and a big table with benches and a big old sink and counter top with two spigots, it had a huge screened pantry closet and open dish shelves.
    All very basic, all very rustic, and all very comfortable after a couple weeks of getting used to it.
    Im pretty sure we could manage.
    Stuff is just that, stuff. If everything went sideways we would all need to adapt. We can do it. Think about how you would improvise. I know i am.

    1. @Kula,
      “Stuff is just that, stuff.”
      Well said, thank you for the reminder.

  2. So agree with you, and that is why I purchased many different sizes of screws and nails when our local OSH hardware store went out of business a few years ago along with a few extra sheets of plywood.

    I too am building more planter boxes. At our H. D. they have a cart in the back with lumber that is called purple wood (Sprayed with a dot of purple) at 70% off. I have purchased lots of fence boards and 2 X 4 and 2 X6’s. Everything gets cut up for planters anyway. Have even found lots of pressure treated for an upcoming retaining wall and fence project.

  3. Teach your children well. That includes grandchildren. Your most valuable assets are know-how and want-to. I’m sure everyone looks at their stash of goodies. Then ya plan how ya might want to build/fix/engineer the project. You can never have enough screws, nails, bolts-nuts-washers, etc. If/when shtf, everything will be DIY.

  4. when i buy nails, screws, nuts or bolts i always buy in 30 or 50 lb boxes. nothing worse than needing a hand full of nails and having to drive 15 miles into town to finish a project. gonna need it one day and it won’t spoil.
    i am also a big fan of all thread rod. you can make a bolt as long as you want up to 8 ft. i keep 1/4″ and 3/8″ on hand, nuts and washers. it has saved me many trips and will do until i can do better.
    wire,,, i’ a wire “nut” i save every piece i come across in a large wooden box, old appliances, extension cords that i run over with the lawn mower : ) it happens.
    i guess i’m a pack rat but even old garden hoses have a use.
    i’m one of those people who will take a load of trash to the dump and come home with more than i left with.
    re purpose, reclaim and reuse.
    we are about to find out why old people washed their aluminum foil, reused their teabags and saved their bacon grease.

    1. Scout

      You and I are of the same mold. I have literately hundreds of pounds of saved nails, screws ,wire, iron ect. Plus many board feet of used lumber, RR ties, all sort of misc lumber, culvert pipe, PVC and fittings, and lots more.

      Around here, we call if “MOH”, material on hand. Has saved many trips to town.

      My storage area looks like Sanford&Sons.!

    2. Scout
      I’d love to hear what you have in mind using old wires and cords for. Can you take the wires out of an old cord and use them for something? We probably all have some old cords that we’re not sure what they attach to. I’ve kept some of that kind of thing around, thinking that the innards would be somehow useful, but don’t know how. The only thing I’ve managed to reuse is expired strings of Christmas lights to make supports for climbing plants.

      1. I use old telephone chords in the greenhouse–hang them from the ceiling for training tomatoes, controlling vines, or just hanging something to dry out of the weather.

      2. Chipmunk,
        Ham radio antenna. You can do wonderful things with old salvaged wire/tv antenna pieces/etc. Just for fun, strip all the insulation off of some old romex. Stick an old screwdriver in your vice. Place both ends of the same wire in your drill with the wire around the screwdriver. Slowly engage the drill. Magic. Beautifully twisted copper. Stiff enough to do something with it. 4 strands? 6 strands?

        Doesn’t have to be for ham radio. FM radio antenna for listening inside of a metal building, exterior antenna. Not really difficult at all. Well worth the effort and the price is zero. Play with it. Something will come to mind.

      3. Chipmunk,
        yes, wire can be used for anything, i would rather have wire than para-cord myself if i had to depend on something long term. bailing wire has been the old stand by for a hundred years. even before duct tape. HaHa

    3. My DH and I like to occasionally watch the building off the grid shows. I know it’s staged but I am always amazed at the number of times progress is halted because they ran out of nails, boards, etc. and had to make a multi-hour trip back to town or pay for boat or helicopter delivery of this or that.

      Love the all thread rod suggestion.

    4. I also save a lot of food grade plastic containers, for everyday use or a crisis clean containers are worth more then gold in my book, to store grains, water, and even construction ideas. There are times I want to share grains, or powders, I can ‘pay forward’ by giving people stuff in the clean containers. More I have the more I have discovered they really are convenient.

    5. I use the old hoses for drip lines–a T cap to hook it into the sprinkler line, cut the hose wherever you want water, use the “T” emitters in the gap. I believe it’s 1/2 inch that fits perfectly in the standard hose.

  5. @everyone, +5 on the nails, screws, nuts & bolts. I too keep all threaded rod and Unistrut on hand.
    @Scout, its not just old people that wash aluminum foil and keep bacon grease. There are so many uses for both those things. ;-)

    I don’t have as much lumber as I want, and now with prices going up my next shed would be more than 2x the last one. I’ll have the sawmill set up this summer and its going to pay for itself just on the first outbuilding.

    1. Prepared,
      i’m jealous of the sawmill. i haven’t priced lumber in a few years, you know,,, the heart attack thing :- )
      good luck with it!

      1. I know that 2×4’s used to be about $3.50 ea 2.5 years ago, now they are nearly $9.
        Also the 7/16″ OSB I use for siding was between $25 and $28 back then. now nearly $55.
        I picked it up to late in the year (actually the order was delayed by many months and I almost cancelled it) to get it out last summer so I’m making it a point to get it out there ASAP.

  6. It’s probably a good idea to keep extra tools for whatever homesteading skills you’ve developed. Me, I’m big on sewing and mending, so have gathered some extra needles, thread, darning thread, buttons, zippers, reading glasses for hand sewing, etc. Even a treadle sewing machine, should electricity not be available, though the machine is still being refurbished. Also have some things to fix shoes (shoe goo, old leather coat, sheet of Vibram).

    1. Chipmunk,
      all good things to have. its all good until something breaks, and it will happen, thank you.

  7. I’ve tried cedar, pressure treated, plain pine and railroad ties(not my favorite) for raised garden beds. They haven’t last more than 4 years. This year I’m experimenting raised metal beds from sportsman’s guide. The price is reasonable compared to lumber nowadays. It will be interesting how long they last.

    1. Peter Henderson
      Did you coat the metal on the raised beds with a paint to protect the metal? If you did not don’t expect them to last much longer than your wood raised beds. Most of that metal sold now a days is cheap, but the manufacture makes sure it is priced high. fyi

    2. Peter Henderson, AC, others……..if you use rocks to build a raised bed they will outlast you. Now you have to find a cheap or free source of rock, or used brick or concrete block. Wood is so expensive now I won’t be able to afford my own coffin, guess I’ll get cremated instead.

    3. RR Ties are full of toxic creosote, safer to eat pop tarts and slim jims… Use inexpensive and long lasting concrete cinder blocks.

      1. Or do like Hermit and make some nice concrete planters,,

        Hope ole Hermit is doin ok,,,

    4. Some people online are using cement board for their raised bed areas. I haven’t tried that method yet. The hugels are essentially a raised bed with no sides. We are putting in a few more hugels this year but plan to do it in boxes with hardware clothe in the bottom to discourage moles and mice. I understand if you use the tin on the outside, the mice cannot crawl up the sides…. It you still have corners that they can climb.

    5. Consider a gabion wall-pretty and practical
      Or cinderblocks because you can always find uses for them

  8. If HD carried God’s Word the Bible -then- it can be said that they would have everything you need ;)

  9. Ken
    H. Depot is my favorite store to shop in, over a grocery store any day of the week.🤗😁

    1. AC
      Well, then…
      You need a Menards at your local.

      We went in to our local, a couple weekends ago.
      I spent more on food stuffs, then I did building mat’l.

      No joke.
      I will no longer take the otherhalf with me.

  10. This article, to me, is funny.
    Everytime we go to our lumber yard, I tell the other half,
    If I only had only a quarter of this inventory,
    what I could do…..

    I used to scoff at my dad, keeping broken, bent fence posts, half used lumber, coils and coils of rusty wire, banged up and bent gates…
    Yeah, I’ve added to that pile.
    Any 2x, 4x, 2 ft or longer is saved.
    Estate/garage sales…..nails, bolts, nuts, washers, etc. come home.
    Good pallet 2x lumber, wooden crates from work.
    Reduce, reuse, recycle

  11. Expected this in the 70’s so pretty well set . Self employed furniture maker for 20 plus years so tools arent needed , lots of old hand tools at auction in the 70s and 80s bought cheap , no one wanted them ! Picked up steel roofing awhile back knowing everything would go up so the shop gets a new roof this summer ! If you aint got it now its going to cost you dearly IF you can find it . Best not drag your feet time is gettin short , Good Luck .

  12. As I get ready to relocate, I have a running dialogue in my head of the things to stock up on once we have moved. This is one area – tools and tool parts, hardware, lumber – where my DH will have to be involved. He is already wanting some type of sawmill as we will have woods available. The nice thing about moving – I hope – is he can organize all his shop and garage stuff to see where we are on current inventory. I suspect there is more on hand but buried somewhere than we know.

    Not as intense a job, but I gathered all the office/school type supplies from around the house tucked here and there and organized into a couple of shelves in the home office. I may never have to buy another pencil or pen as long as the lighter to the ink end trick still works on pens.

  13. My father loves Home Depot! For the last 35 years, we have referred to it as “Dad’s candy store” because he is like a kid in a candy store when he goes to H.D. Goes in for one or two items and leaves with a filled cart (or two.)

  14. On my way to the recycling center a local runs a sawmill, local custom cut you bring your logs and he mills what you want.
    Sawdust is free for the taking so I no longer buy baged shavings for the girls and they don’t seem to mind.
    The slab pile is also free and much is pine and hemlock. By careful picking I can come up with a few pieces that I can use for raised beds and small projects. I find that it doesn’t replace the lumber yard its another source of material for just my time spent.
    Oh,baged shavings at the feed store are over six dollars a bag!

    1. 6 bucks?
      Thats nothing
      5 cubic foot bale of pine bedding costs about 45$ here

    2. I worked as a cashier at a family owned lumber store one summer as a teen. What surprised me were the customers who made several trips in one day picking up additional things they needed for their project or things they’d forgotten. I couldn’t help but wonder how much they actually got done with all the trips they made. Maybe they were just happy to hang out at the store!

  15. We try to stay stocked with some items such as deck screws of different lengths as they are always being used. Also the giant lag bolts. We keep a supply of posts and lumber on hand for the quick, unplanned projects …and now that the spouse is retired, he can play with his saw mill. The Norwood was a needed addition when we first bought our raw land and we have lots of standing lumber on our acreage. He loves playing at Lowes and Home Depot and I can always find something of interest there as well.

  16. PVC parts and pipe to repair and move water. I use as many threaded couplings and compression fittings as I can get by with. PVC glue has a short shelf life once it’s opened. Shark bite fittings are a blessing.

  17. Man this article is so on my track. I built seven raised beds this spring. Moved five yards of soil to fill them. All are filled with fresh vegetables right now. Every day it makes me happy just to look at them. But here is what you helped me remember, Yesterday as I was getting something from the storage cabinet I noticed my two new boxes of screws I had bought from the Home Depot to do the job. I found my self just for a moment, experiencing this strange since of appreciation. I have so much on hand, I said thanks. My wife says Home Depot is my spiritual home. She is right. I get it man, I would have my own Home Depot if I could.

  18. I’ll take Menard’s over Home Depot any day. Not really dissing H.D., just prefer Menard’s.

    1. I had way to many problems with Menards…….worst customer service, by making you jump through hoops in order to make a return or an adjustment, I put them into the same category as a true value store….both should be renamed as “ rip-off’s “ poor quality, no service, and will always be the highest priced stores in town. My take

      1. Realist – (allegedly) Years ago John Menard was regarded as one of the meanest SOB’s in retail, almost ran the company into the ground because of it. (allegedly) Change management came in, whipped a 180 and suddenly customers were called guests, excessively and repeatedly, buttocks were lavishly kissed and refunds were given for the flimsiest reasons. (allegedly) Over time it went the other direction to where the ‘guests’ as a group became insufferable and entitled. (allegedly) Not you necessarily, but maybe the 3 ‘guests’ before you were being unreasonable. Things tend to go in cycles like that. Retail workers get burned out. The company is good but probably struggling to find the correct balance.

  19. I wish I had a home depot but I do not so I drive to town to spend some time there. Being in healthcare, I can say the same thing about a pharmacy as well. During this current time of shortage, I am glad I purchased primers years ago because I have more within my home than the local shops do. I stated this before in another post on this site: be careful about who knows about your home and what you have within your home. Within a group of 4 guys that shoot, people used to come over my house in order to use my Dillon reload press and the thought nothing of using my powder, primers, bullets and eating my food and drinking my beer.
    This was when I decided to become a bit of a recluse and retired from competitions and stuck to hunting only. I still retain the habits of looking for and purchasing supplies. Storage of primers is within the home where temperature and humidity are controlled. Some of the “entitled takers” were the same folks that shot with me on the pistol teams. Life is better for me after I put those people in the rearview mirror.
    Most of the people I meet hunting or at hunting conventions (RMEF dinners/fundraisers. Oregon Hunters Association). are a better groups of people to hang out with. It is better for me to conduct business and assist people on neutral territory like my local private range/gun club. If a member is a selfish A-hole, you can walk away without helping them at a local club versus inviting this person in your home and them finding out about your supplies and equipment. Since my relocation to another state, the takers I knew among competition shooters have no idea where I went. Part of this is my presence on social media is minimal. I live in plain site in the ‘burbs. I do not live on a mountaintop or within a ‘holler’. I’m just another dweeby dude with too many cats.

  20. It may sound counter intuitive, but a good 3d printer would help make a lot of those plumbing, small fastener, bushing, accessory part, tube fitting, actuator making, gun part, component parts. Open the McMaster-Carr catalog and almost all parts have an online 3d CAD model to import into your CAD program and make an .STL file for your printer. Now you can make cogs, pulleys, sprockets and spline drives. Yes you may have to put the right hand thread on the bolt, but it sure is easier to print a widget than make something from nothing. This is that hardware store that you wanted in your house.
    There are many videos of people taking water and soda bottles, and slicing them into long strips then running the strips through a forming heat head to make printing filament.
    The price of a usable printer is around $250 to 300. It can run off a solar power system for less than 600 watts.

  21. So when I travel, for business or pleasure, I love to stop at “Mom and Pop” type hardware stores. The more off the beaten path the better. It is amazing that as time has passed the two things that seem to survive in small rural communities are churches and hardware stores. My general rule of thumb is if I “need” 1 I buy 2. I have a small fortune in small/med drawer organizers. Walls of my shop area are either cover with the drawer organizers or peg board. As a few others mentioned going to a hardware store auction and/or garage sales are a good place to acquire a healthy inventory of hardware supplies. I like to keep several rolls of hardware cloth of various sizes and aluminum screen. Recently with oil and supply chain issues I have stocked up on extra motor oils, hydraulic fluid, etc. think about things you may have to build for yourself or for someone else like stills, ram pumps, baler buckets for wells, etc and have the materials on hand.

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