The Best Alternatives for Products and Materials Facing Supply-Chain Issues

Everything seems like it's out of stock this summer. Here are reliable alternatives to some things that are in high demand and hard to find.

While the summer of 2021 has been all about slowly but surely getting back to normal, the global supply chain has had a tough time doing exactly that. Still reeling from pandemic-related issues and complications, the global supply chain has been disrupted to the point that many popular products and materials are out of stock and nearly impossible to find across the U.S.

So what do you do if something you need isn’t on the shelf? Here is a rundown of some of the things in short supply, and the best alternatives to purchase instead.

Alternatives for Lumber

Severe shortages have caused the price of lumber to increase drastically over the last year and a half, pricing out many people hoping to build a home or start a woodworking project.

While it might seem homes can’t be built without lumber, there are some specific instances where lumber alternatives are OK. Instead of the traditional lumber frame, for instance, steel and concrete can be used. Want the look of hardwood floors in your kitchen but can’t find wood flooring materials in stock? Options like laminate and tile can mimic that “real wood” look at a fraction of the price.

And if you’re itching to start a woodworking project but balking at lumber aisle prices, consider repurposed materials like crates and wood pallets.

Alternatives for Low-Stock Appliances

Looking to finally upgrade your old refrigerator to the top-of-the-line model of your dreams? Well, those specific dreams may have to wait. Experts predict the current appliance shortage will likely continue through the rest of the year.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to buy appliances in the current landscape. But you’ll have to get creative and may need to make a few concessions.

Check out independent appliance dealers in your area if the big box stores are low on inventory. Be ready to be flexible on some features and customization options. You might not get your new appliance in the exact shade of off-white you want, but at least it won’t be on back order for months.

Alternatives for Chlorine

Anyone with a pool can tell you how hard it has to find chlorine. Chlorine tablets and liquid chlorine remain in short supply, thanks partially to COVID-19 and partially to natural disaster. Last August, Hurricane Laura severely damaged the chemical plant that produces most of the country’s chlorine tablets.

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to keep your pool clean and safe without chlorine. Bromine can be subbed in for chlorine if needed, although it does work better at higher temperatures. You can also convert your pool to a saltwater pool. These are easier on your skin and eyes than chlorine pools, and much better for the environment.

Alternatives for Workout Equipment

With many people still working from home this summer, home workout equipment remains in high demand. But who needs to buy workout equipment anyway?

It’s actually simple to make workout equipment out of stuff you probably have laying around your house. It might not be perfect and it might not last forever, but it should suffice until the gear you want is back in stock at your local sporting goods store.

Alternatives for Low-Stock Furniture

Thanks to a shortage of foam, furniture is also tough to find in stock. Delivery estimates for furniture ordered online can run as far out as eight or nine months.

If you need furniture and can’t wait almost a year for it, consider going into stores and asking about floor models. Some stores make a practice of selling the furniture in their showrooms. You might even walk away with a discount.

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