5 Legit Ways To Get Milk Crates for Free (Or Very Cheap)

black milk crates on a brick sidewalk

If you are into home organization or you are looking for a way to start a herb garden, you may be on the lookout for free milk crates. Milk crates are a great way to store, organize and reuse.

The problem with free milk crates is that they can be hard to find. Many companies still use them daily, and you must be careful how you acquire plastic milk crates. We have a few ideas that may work to get you some milk crates for free, or at least for a very low price. 

Here’s Where To Find Milk Crates

These next five options are the best places to get milk crates for free. Remember that just because you see a milk crate out in a store does not mean that it is free for taking.

Some stores have emptied the containers but will fill them back up or use them for storage. Always ask before you take a milk crate. Keep reading to find out some stores that have excellent pricing on milk crates as well. 

1. Ask for Free Milk Crates at Grocery Stores

Sometimes you can save money on groceries and get free stuff from the grocery store simultaneously.

It is true that grocery stores still use their plastic crates. Chances are they will not hand you over everything they have, but sometimes these crates start to pile up. If they have an excess of crates, there is a chance that you may be able to get some for free. 

Plastic crates at grocery stores sometimes need just a quick rinse or clean, and then they are ready to be used at home. Ask the store manager to make sure that it truly is ok to be taking the crates. Some employees may not notice that the crates are still needed. 

2. Convenience Stores Might Give You Free Milk Crates

Convenience stores also get deliveries, just like a grocery store. These deliveries sometimes leave plastic crates behind.

Although the store may use these for a variety of their own storage purposes, they will probably have more than they can use. Instead of wasting the crates, they may be more than willing to give you the extra plastic crates. 

3. Restaurants Sometimes Have Milk Crates

Although restaurants don’t tend to take in the volume of milk that a grocery store or a convenience store might, there are chances that they have some free crates around. If you happen to frequent a local restaurant, be sure to check there first. Restaurants always like to help out their loyal customers. 

Some restaurants may get quite a few requests for these milk crates. See if you can get on a list that will let you have the next available ones. It may be worth buying lunch for one of the employees. 

4. A Caterer Near You

Caterers tend to use crates when they are transporting from their main location to an event’s location. Caterers may buy crates or collect them over time, but sometimes they will have leftovers that they don’t need.

If you find a caterer that doesn’t have any crates leftover, ask them where they are sourcing their crates from. Simple questions can sometimes make the hunt for the final product that much easier. 

5. Craigslist

If you like finding and acquiring free stuff, craigslist is a great place to do it. On craigslist, you will find that people make listings for free things all the time.

If you are looking for crates, you can simply post that you are interested, and people can respond directly to you with free crates they may have. If you don’t see any for free, some could be listed for a low price. 

pink blue and white free milk crates
5 Legit Ways To Get Milk Crates for Free (Or Very Cheap) 3

Places To Buy Cheap Milk Crates

Now that we have covered how to get free milk crates let’s see where you can buy milk crates for sale for a low price. Sometimes free is not a reality, and that is fine if you can find them for a low price.

Be careful, though, when you start shopping for milk crates. Sometimes you will see them priced at $20 or more per crate; this is much higher than you should pay for a milk crate, even the heavy-duty ones.

Dollar Tree

Dollar tree doesn’t typically have the traditional heavy-duty milk crates that you may think of. However, the storage options that Dollar Tree has can be great.

If you need to organize a closet or a pantry, Dollar Tree will have everything necessary. It’s also hard to beat the fact that everything at Dollar Tree is priced at one dollar. 

  • Prices start at $1.00
  • Check prices here.


Some stores and suppliers will take advantage of the extra milk crates that they have collected and start to sell them on eBay.

Pay attention to the shipping here to make sure it makes sense to purchase the milk crates. Sometimes you can find great deals on eBay. 

  • Prices start at $3.88
  • Check prices here.

Milk Crates Direct

With Milk Crates Direct, you can go directly to the source and get some milk crates sent to your home. These will come in several different styles, and you can get them in bulk if you want to pay a little less money per crate. 

  • Prices start at $5.00
  • Check prices here.


Alibaba is a wholesale website that gets people discounted pricing on various objects. You can get almost anything on Alibaba, and the selection often changes.

You may have to wait a few weeks for the shipping of products from Alibaba, but they make it eventually. 

  • Prices start at $2.00
  • Check prices here.


Target has some basic storage containers and milk crates, but they also have some that will look even nicer than a traditional milk crate.

If you are trying to do something fun with styling or an organizational wall in your home, Target will have a great selection. If the style is more of your goal, Target will probably be the best choice for you. 

  • Prices start at $4.00
  • Check prices here.


Amazon is going to have a large number of crates to choose from. The problem with some of the products on Amazon is that people assume Amazon is the best deal.

Amazon has some great deals, but they are not always the cheapest. You might want to check out some other websites like Amazon to make sure you're getting the best deal. If you purchase from Amazon, make sure that you price out the options available. 

  • Prices start at $8.75
  • Check prices here.

Home Depot

If you didn’t know that Home Depot has some ample storage and organizational components to purchase, you should take a look.

Home Depot has excellent shelving, bins, and totes. Among their selection, you will see some options for reasonably priced, heavy-duty milk crates as well. 

  • Prices start at $5.98
  • Check prices here.


Walmart is one of those stores that has one of everything. If you need almost anything for your home, chances are Walmart will have it. Walmart has milk crates that come in a few different styles and sizes. 

  • Prices start at $6.66
  • Check prices here.

Tractor Supply

Tractor Supply may not seem like the best spot to look for milk crates, yet they have quite a selection. Milk crates can be a great spot to store things in a shop or a barn.

Since the crates are open and allow for airflow, they make an excellent spot to store certain things that need ventilation. The crates sold at Tractor Supply tend to be very sturdy and capable of holding quite a bit of weight. 

  • Prices start at $6.99
  • Check prices here.


Cabelas has milk crates as people often use them to transport goods when they go camping. Although these are reasonably heavy-duty and not going to be the cheapest on the market, you will be impressed with the durability.

Cabelas makes sales throughout the year and often has coupons; keep an eye on these if you want to get a great deal on a Cabelas milk crate. 

  • Prices start at $7.99
  • Check prices here.

Tips for Saving Money on Milk Crates

Now that you have some places to purchase milk crates and a few spots to get them for free, let’s look at a few tips for saving money on them. 

Buy In Bulk

As with anything else, the more of a product you purchase, the better chance you have of saving some money on it. If you can commit to purchasing six or twelve milk crates, you may be able to save a bit of money.

Try to look at the price per crate instead of the total overall price. You can always sell the extras that you purchased and try to recover a bit of your money. 

Ask Around

We mentioned that asking local stores for some extra milk crates is a great way to get them, however, have you tried asking friends and neighbors?

If friends or neighbors own a small business or are switching up how they organize their home or garage, they may have extra milk crates available.

Let your friends know your plans, and you may find the milk crates are relatively easy to find. 

Look For Sales

As always, if you are going to make a purchase, it pays to look for some sales. Whether you use an online savings app like Rakuten or save up some rewards at a local store, you can often find deals on milk crates.

It pays to wait until you have a chance at some sales before you head out to make your final purchase. 


Are Milk Crates Illegal To Own

Milk crates are not illegal to own, but they are illegal to acquire by simply taking them. Milk companies tend to lose quite a bit of money each year because of crates that are stolen.

If you are looking to get some crates for your crafts or home decor, make sure that you get them in a legal way. 

What Happens if You Steal Milk Crates?

If you're caught stealing milk crates, the consequences can vary depending on the value of the crates and where you live. In some states, stealing something worth less than $950 is considered a misdemeanor; in others, it's a felony.

The punishment for a misdemeanor is usually a fine or up to a year in jail, while the punishment for a felony is usually more than a year in jail. If you're caught taking milk crates from a grocery store, you could also be charged with shoplifting, which is a separate crime with consequences. So, if you're thinking about milk crate theft, you must consider the potential risks.

What Do Schools Do With Milk Crates?

Most schools use crates to store textbooks, papers, and other materials. They also transport items such as art supplies and athletes' equipment. Some schools have started using them to create seating areas in hallways or libraries.

By stacking the crates and adding cushions, students have a place to study or relax between classes. Crates can also be used in craft projects or as planters for small plants and herbs. With a little imagination, there are endless ways to put crates to good use in a school setting.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now feel as though you are better equipped to find a great deal on some milk crates. These crates can be used for so many great projects and storage needs that you will be pleasantly surprised by the price you end up paying for them.

If you can find a way to get some milk crates for free, that is even better. Always be sure you have permission to take the milk crates you come across; remember, these are not free and should not simply be taken from a store or location.