Good morning, this is a guest post from Hayley who is a personal finance writer and blogger from the UK. She writes about getting out of debt – the good points, the bad and everything in between, over at her website A Disease Called Debt. You can also follow Hayley on Twitter. Let me know if you would like to guest post on MMYW.
It’s been more than a year since I started trying to get my finances in order. During this time, I’ve come to appreciate the material things that I already own and therefore tend not to waste much these days. I reuse what I’ve already got and try to repair broken things instead of throwing them away in order to get as much use as possible out of them.
Whilst I’ve been concentrating on making the most of the possessions I already have, I’ve been amazed at what treasures can be found that other people don’t want! I don’t mean to go and hunt through trash cans but if you keep your eyes peeled at garage sales, flea markets, thrift shops (especially in upmarket areas) or online sites like Freecycle, eBay or Craigslist; you might be able to find the right kind of items worth cleaning up and selling on to make a profit.
Here are a few examples of how money can be made from other people’s junk:
1. Kid’s pushchairs
It’s possible to spend an extortionate amount of money on kid’s pushchairs and prams. Some parents will spend in excess of $1000 to be able to cart their kid around in an all singing and all dancing pushchair. At the same time, if a buggy looks worn or dirty with broken parts or flat tyres, then they are often sold cheaply or even thrown away.
This is where you can pick up old clapped out models without spending a lot of money, refurbish them and sell them at a profit. It doesn’t cost much to give a pushchair a new lease of life. Just a bit of elbow grease really. Covers can be washed, tyres blown up or replaced and broken parts fixed using spares. I’ve refurbished a few pushchairs recently and have always made a profit when selling them on.
2. Kid’s toys
Kids grow out of their toys like they do with clothes. Parents often store them for a while before deciding to have a clear out and if you can be on hand at the right time, you might be able to get a real bargain for them. You can make a profit by cleaning them up and selling them separately. You could even sell them on as bundles too but instead categorize them by age suitability or toy type, to make them into a better buy for someone else.
If you have a nice pair of shoes, you can get new heels and soles fitted without spending too much money. The soles and heels are what most people look at when buying second hand shoes. Leather uppers can be polished up and fabric shoes can usually be sponged down. Designer shoes tend to sell better so if you have a pair that you don’t need anymore, spruce them up and make some money by reselling them.
Some people love fine art and really appreciate it. Other people just like nice prints which they enjoy looking at and which jazz up their homes. Picture frames can be quite expensive but in a charity shop or garage sale, they can be found at a fraction of the cost especially if the print inside them is old fashioned and not really worth anything. It’s easy to revamp an old picture frame by either cleaning it up, varnishing or painting it. You could put a cheap modern print inside or even a mirror from somewhere like IKEA and make a profit selling it on!
I know this to be a feasible business because I needed to buy some second hand doors a few years ago when I was refurbishing my home. A guy who lived locally to me had set up a successful business by collecting old doors in various shapes and sizes from local waste sites and house clearances. He then repainted or varnished them and took the handles off and cleaned them up.
6. Indoor furniture
If you’ve ever used spray paint or varnish and sandpaper before, the chances are that you could have a go at transforming an old fashioned wardrobe, table or chair into a better looking piece at worst and a bespoke shabby chic designer piece at best.
It’s possible to pick up furniture at low cost from yard sales and thrift shops. You could then sell your items online or at local craft or furniture fairs. If you’re good with a fabric staple gun, you could even have a go at reupholstering with some funky fabrics to transform an old fashioned chair or sofa.
7. Garden furniture
Garden furniture can be really expensive to buy brand new. But just like indoor furniture, it can be refurbished to give it a new lease of life. Not just tables or chairs, but bird tables, garden swings, hammocks, containers and ornaments can be spruced up too.
Where to sell refurbished products
There are a number of offline and online avenues you can explore for selling refurbished products. It really depends on the item that you’re selling. Pushchairs for example, sell well on eBay but refurbished furniture might be better sold at craft fairs or handmade market places like Etsy.
Whenever you sell anything that you’ve refurbished to make a profit, presentation should be given real priority. How many items do you look at closely on eBay if the photos and description are rubbish or even non-existent for example?
So when you’re looking to sell, pay attention to presentation. Taking good pictures and explaining as much about the item as possible if you’re selling online will really help. If you’re selling in person at a craft fair, give potential buyers the story behind your product and how you refurbished it.
This post was featured on the Canadian Budget Binder, thank you!
Have you made money from other people’s junk before?