With the New Year just around the corner, a lot of people are starting to draw up their New Year’s resolutions, and one of the most common ones is getting organized. Whether we’re talking time management, home renovations or making time to clean the house more often, people are struggling with organization in this fast-moving, demanding world.

Numbers tend to point to an incredible rise in the home improvement retail industry. Online home improvement searches doubled in 2021, compared to 2020. The revenue of these stores increased by almost 9%, and as significantly fewer people traveled during the pandemic, more people found a new hobby or interest related to DIY home improvement. Moreover, according to data from NPD, faucets, kitchen cabinets and toilets were the most popular products sold in 2020, along with masks and hand sanitizer.

Simply put, consumers started investing considerably more money into the spaces where they spent most of their time. The trend is likely to continue in this fashion. While some consumers may keep their interest in the likes of Home Depot, Lowe’s, IKEA and other industry giants, they will also take an interest in discovering what their local home improvement stores have to offer. After all, it’s these smaller businesses and craft stores that tailor their products and services to specific local demands and can ease any home improvement endeavor.

Chicago’s home improvement landscape

With a wealth of such stores providing locals with endless solutions for a better home, Chicago stores are no exception to this trend. While big-box stores might be more convenient sometimes, they will never provide you with the same personal service, accessibility and attention as local retail stores. Windy City residents, take heed; these are the best local home improvement stores around!

1. Clark Devon Hardware

Despite its tiny size, it certainly feels like this store is not missing anything. You can find any hardware equipment you may need, but you can also make use of their great sharpening and outdoor power equipment services. This family-owned and operated store provides customers with solutions and expertise in everything from plumbing, locks and paint, to windows, lumber, lamps and so much more. Finally, it also offers rental services and e-mail orders for pick-up.

2. T2 Cabinet

Kitchen cabinets, custom designs, closet systems – you name it, T2 Cabinet has it. Focusing on single-unit and small-scale projects, T2 Cabinet brings affordable luxury to your home through custom-tailored cabinetry. With over 180 different stock items, they also offer quick delivery, accessories, as well as complete measurement and installing services.


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3. CityHome Vacuums & More

This vacuum cleaner and small appliance dealer has been around since 1983, successfully satisfying customer needs by offering friendly and personal service, along with expert advice. If you need vacuum repairs, air purifiers or humidifiers, you can count on these home care specialists to match your unique needs. You will also get free tune-ups, a price match guarantee, next-day delivery and an extended warranty.

4. Norridge Ace Hardware Home Center

As one of the 5,000+ Ace stores locally owned and operated across the globe, the Norridge Ace Hardware store in Chicago provides its customers with knowledgeable advice, helpful service and quality products, along with engine repair services, pick-up, delivery and quick turn-around time. Additionally, while their Christmas decorations might catch your eye right now, you will probably return thanks to their respect and professionalism.


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5. Bernie’s Saw and Supply

As one of the best spots for building supplies and sharpening services, Bernie’s Saw and Supply serves a wide range of residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Chicago area. Prices, customer service and convenience are a few of the aspects that keep customers close to Bernie’s store, along with a remarkably quick and professional service. From kitchen knives and blades to garden tools, Bernie’s has got you covered.

6. Meinke’s Garden Center

Gardeners of Chicago, this is your spot for everything you may need and everything you didn’t even know you wanted – Christmas trees, firewood, plants, greenhouses, vegetables, shrubs and even more exotic stuff that is usually hard to come by. Moreover, the combination of creative ideas, low prices and a large variety of products makes Meinke’s Garden Center one of the most respected family-owned businesses in the area.

7. Wickright

Providing both quality products and consulting services, Wickright mainly offers healthy solutions for new constructions and restorations. Wickright deals with passive ventilation, water intrusion and construction problem areas. Offering his +35 years of experience in the field, the founder of the store helps architects, engineers and contractors succeed in their endeavors.


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8. Kim’s Hardware

Education, service and convenience – this is the name of the game for this local, old-school hardware store. This neighborhood gem carries tools, plumbing supplies, housewares and even backpacks and other miscellaneous items. The efficient service, along with the friendly staff and wide selection of hardware products will have you coming back to Kim’s Hardware, as the store has already become a bit of a staple in the area.

9. Crafty Beaver Home Center

Carrying all the supplies of a big-box store but offering the personal touch and excellent customer service of a small business, the Crafty Beaver Home Center is one of the best choices when scrolling through local home improvement stores. It also offers services such as propane tank exchange, paint matching and free ship-to-store delivery, along with a great rewards program that will have you crossing their threshold again in the near future.

10. Yu Hardware & Alvarez Hardware & Mitchell Hardware Supply

Because we love mom-and-pop stores so much, allow us to cheat a bit and include three more great spots in this list for your home improvement needs. These family-owned businesses provide a wide array of services and items, great customer service and low prices. Make sure to check them out before you go for the big-box stores. They may surprise you.

Home improvement and self storage go hand in hand

Whether it’s just changing appliances, installing new kitchen cabinets or remodeling the bathroom, self storage can come in handy in a number of ways. Especially in the case of bigger DIY renovation projects, you can take a load off your mind and focus on your home without worrying about sensitive belongings by renting a self storage unit. They are inexpensive and exceptionally beneficial investments in such situations.

In other words, focus on finishing up your dream home while your belongings stay put in a safe storage unit. A 5×10 unit might be enough for a small-scale DIY project, but it’s useful to check out this unit size guide to figure out exactly how much space you’ll need. StorageCafe can help you find the perfect home for your items while you’re making the perfect home for yourself and your loved ones.


Matei is a creative writer for StorageCafe and has an academic background in urban development, governance and linguistics. Making use of these disparate sources of expertise, Matei has now turned towards the real estate industry, after covering the latest trends and projects in urban planning, regeneration and green city initiatives all over Europe.

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