Milk crates can be used for a number of reasons from storage to home decor. However, you can’t simply go to a store and take a milk crate without asking.
Instead, read up on this list of ways to get free milk crates so you can find them legally. You may be able to find free milk crates legally, or simply buy some at a cheap price.
How to Get Free Milk Crates
There are many ways to potentially get milk crates for free. The milk crate craze took off ub 2021 when people around the globe started stacking milk crates into various structures.
Then they’d attempt to cross or climb that structure and video their falls. While this may sound fun, ER doctors everywhere discourage this potentially hazardous pastime.
Believe it or not, the milk crate challenge has made milk crate theft a common problem. So much so that some states have made a law against it.
Pennsylvania has one of the tougher laws out there, fining people up to $300 and up to 90 days in jail if they’re caught with a milk crate that doesn’t belong to them.
Milk crate thievery is costing companies tens of millions of dollars a year, which is why the laws against stealing them were put into place.
Although we don’t advocate participating in the milk crate challenge, you might need milk crates for a variety of reasons.
Take advantage of these free and cheap places to get milk crates for whatever reason you need them for.
1. Check with Catering Companies
Catering companies–especially larger catering companies–often get milk crates when they get shipments of dairy and other products in.
Because they’re serving hundreds of people at a time, the potential for them to get milk crates in is high.
And although caterers may not often serve milk as a beverage choice, milk is used as an ingredient in many dishes, which is primarily why caterers use it.
Be sure to talk to the owner or manager of the catering business, or consult with the head chef about getting their milk crates.
2. Ask at Restaurants
Restaurants also use milk crates on a regular basis. Whether it’s to get milk to serve with meals or to use milk in recipes, you can almost always find milk crates at restaurants.
As with caterers, it’s important to talk with an owner, manager or head chef about getting free milk crates.
Non-management employees may not have the authority to decide whether or not to give the crates away.
Try and visit the restaurant during non-rush time periods (i.e. outside of the lunch and dinner rush) for better luck in getting free milk crates.
3. Browse Craigslist
You can find just about anything on Craigslist, including milk crates. Look in the site’s free section to see if you can find milk crates for free.
If you can’t, you can probably find some for cheap. When I searched my local Craigslist site for milk crates, I found them for as little as $5 each.
Check other sites such as OfferUp to find milk crates as well. Most local buy and sell sites have a free section where you can find a host of items at no cost to you.
4. Ask at Grocery Stores
Grocery stores also get milk crates in–and lots of them. For example, think about how many gallons and half gallons of milk Walmart sells each day.
Almost all of that milk arrives in milk crates. That means there’s potential for you to snag some free milk crates at any local grocery store.
But again, asking is key. It’ll cost you much more to pay the fines associated with stealing a milk crate than it will to just buy a crate outright should a store not want to give the crate away for free.
5. Visit Convenience Stores
Convenience stores also get milk crates delivered in on a daily basis. Check with management at your local gas station and/or convenience store to see if they’d be willing to give you milk crates.
Any store worker might be able to tell you when milk deliveries come in so you can time your request accordingly.
6. Browse Garage Sales
Garage sales can be another great way to get free milk crates. People holding garage sales usually look to clear their homes and garages out of any number of items.
Milk crates are commonly kept items because of their storage ability, so you’re likely to find some if you go to enough garage sales.
So, if people have stuff sitting in milk crates for their sale, ask if they’d be willing to give the crates up.
If they’re selling the crates, visit on the last day of the sale and ask if you can have them for free. Hit up city wide garage sales for maximum success.
7. Ask at Factories and Warehouses
Factories and warehouses may also have milk crates you can have for free. Of course, this depends on what the factory produces.
Check factories or warehouses near you by calling or stopping by the front office of the facility.
8. Try Free Classified Ad Sites
Classified ad sites such as Freecycle may have free milk crates advertised as well. These sites are notorious for advertising items people are eager to get out of their homes.
Check many of the free classified sites or online garage sale sites, and check them frequently for the best chance of success.
Still no luck finding free milk crates? Check out these places for finding cheap milk crates.
Where to Get Cheap Milk Crates
Can’t find any free milk crates? Check out these options for getting milk crates for cheap.
Online Buy/Sell Sites
I mentioned earlier that online buy/sell sites like Craigslist might have listings for free milk crates.
If you can’t find free milk crates on these sites, you may be able to find cheap milk crates there.
When I checked my local buy/sell sites I was able to find several listings for cheap milk crates, ranging from $3 apiece in price on up.
Browse sites like OfferUp, Craigslist, 5miles and more for cheap milk crates you can buy. eBay would be a site to check as well.
And don’t be afraid to haggle for prices, especially if a listing has been on for a while.
Big Box Stores
Big box stores such as Walmart and Target will often carry milk crates as well. When I checked my local Walmart store, they had milk crates for $7.37.
My local Target store had them for $7.25. Note that not all big box stores carry milk crates, so you may want to call first.
For example, Michaels Craft Stores and Hobby Lobby stores near me didn’t have any milk crates for sale.
Michaels had wooden crates for sale, however they did not have the plastic milk crates.
Pawn shop owners know which items will resell and which won’t. Milk crates are quite popular, so it’s possible that your local pawn shop will have milk crates for sale.
And with pawn shops, there is often room for haggling on the price as well. Whether or not you’ll be able to get a lower price depends on the shop manager, what milk crates are going for in your area, availability and other factors.
As you research pawn shops in the area, make it a point to get to know which shops are willing to negotiate on price and which aren’t.
Knowing this information could be valuable for future purchases.
Home Improvement Stores
Many home improvement store chains carry milk crates as well. When I checked stores near me, I found that Lowe’s, Menards and Home Depot all carried milk crates.
I did find that prices on milk crates at home improvement stores can vary widely. As an example, Home Depot had milk crates listed around the $11 range.
Conversely, Menards had milk crates listed for under $4. This example proves why comparison shopping is so important.
Online stores are another option if you’re searching for cheap milk crates. The first one that comes to mind is Amazon.
One nice thing about shopping at online stores for milk crates is that you’ll come in contact with a wide variety of sellers.
And a wide variety of sellers means a wide range of prices as well as more chances you’ll be able to haggle a lower price.
Do your research to find the best product at the best price by conducting an internet search for milk crates. Hit the Shopping tab and see what you can find.
There are plenty of ways to get free milk crates if you’re willing to put in the time. Check the “free” section on Craigslist, shop local garage sales for a deal or ask at local stores.
And if you can’t find free milk crates you can always buy them for cheap. Whether your purpose is to create cute storage spaces, organize your home or use milk crates for other purposes, you can find what you need.