5 Surprising Kitchen Finds You Should Buy at Home Depot (or Hardware Stores)

updated Apr 30, 2019
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When you need a kitchen tool, you go to a kitchen store, or maybe a housewares hub like HomeGoods or Target. But you probably don’t think to go to the hardware store, right? That’s where people go to get lost among aisles of power tools and specialty screws, not to stock up on cooking paraphernalia.

Well, I’ve accompanied my husband on more than enough Home Depot wanderings to realize the hardware store is actually a great place to get a few culinary supplies. Of course, they weren’t intended to be used in a kitchen, but that’s precisely what’s so great about them. You see, without a “culinary aura” they’re a lot cheaper.

Here are five kitchen items you should be buying at the hardware store.

How many times have you found an unmarked container in the back of your fridge and wondered What the heck is this? and How long has it been in here? Chances are, lots of times. And chances are, you probably tossed the contents right out even though they might still be good. That’s why you should get in the habit of labeling everything, just like the pros do.

Labeling cuts down on food waste — plain and simple. And the painters tape won’t leave a sticky residue on containers. You can get 45 yards of it for around $10 at Home Depot. That’s about 18 two-inch “labels” per yard of painters tape for a total of 810 labels. On the other hand, you get just 32 OXO food storage stickers for $5 on Amazon.

Onion fumes don’t bother some people, but for the rest of us they’re flat-out debilitating. When prepping for dinner feels like you’ve been attacked with tear gas, it’s time to get some protection (and sharpen your knife, but that’s another story).

Onion goggles at Sur La Table will set you back about $22. They have cushy foam and create a nice seal, but in the end they’re just cheap plastic. Plus, they don’t fit over glasses. Spend just $3 at the hardware store and you can get the same amount of protection and still wear your glasses.

I can’t live without my microfiber towels, and use them for everything like mopping up spills and polishing the fingerprints off my stainless steel appliances. Luckily hardware stores are a great source for hardworking, absorbent rags like these. A pack of 24 costs $8 at Home Depot, or you can spend $10 at Sur la Table and get just three that you’ll be petrified of staining.

Have you tried grilling on a cedar plank yet? If not, you should. The wood not only protects delicate things like fish from fiery flames, but it also imparts subtle woodsy notes. You can get a pack of four untreated cedar grilling planks at Williams-Sonoma for about $16. (Each plank is about 6×12 inches and 1/2-inch thick.) Or you can just hit the hardware store. One 6-inch-by-8-foot plank of raw untreated cedar is $11 at Home Depot. You can ask the staff to cut it (for free) into eight 12-inch sections, making it $1 a plank versus $4 a plank. And it’s thicker, too, so it’ll last longer.

Nobody likes biting into tender, flaky fish only to get jabbed in the mouth with tiny bones. If you know they’re in the fish when you buy it, and have time to wait at the store, you can ask the fishmonger to remove them for you. But if your neighbors gifted you a salmon from their latest fishing trip, or you somehow end up with a bony fish on your hands, you’re going to need some pliers. Forget spending big bucks on Wüsthof fish pliers, which will run you about $45. All you need is a simple pair of needle-nose pliers from the hardware store for $4. Just be sure to keep them in the kitchen, so they don’t end up being used for grimy house repair jobs.