Turn Trash Into Treasure: Make Money Re-purposing What Others Throw Away
Take What Someone Else Didn't Want, Connect It With Someone Who Does and Put $$$$$ In Your Pocket
Others Trash Can Become Your Cash
I don't know if I like the term "Dumpster Diver", I guess if I am honest I prefer the older more accurate term "Junk Man" but either way the facts are indisputable as far as I am concerned. Many Americans are lazy, lack vision, don't seem to really care about the environment and don't appear to have a problem either throwing or giving money away but here is the good news, their loss can be your gain!
That said, no matter what you choose to call yourself, and the latest upsurge in making money with refuse has spawned many titles, Up-cycler, Re-Cycler, Re-Purposer, Do It Yourselfer, and Bargain Hunter, just to name a few, there is no doubt that there are people making money, good money everyday by re-using what others throw or give away.
I am one of those people. For the last four years, I have made my living re-selling furniture and household accessories, that I have either been given, found on the curb, or bought at a yard sale, thrift store or consignment shop for a fraction of it's value, then resold for what it was worth, sometimes doing as little as wiping it down with furniture polish, My profit margins consistently remaining at 50% but often as high as 100% and sometimes exceeding that.
I realize that some of you may be skeptical and thinking "it can't be that easy" but at the end of the day, the bare bones facts are that it is. Don't get me wrong, it does take work but if you are like me and enjoying shopping anyway, like going places and meeting new people, Love finding a bargain then most of the time it doesn't seem like it.
I am retired and I have some health issues that prevent me from working either a full or part time job. I receive an income from my retirement that is enough to pay my bills but doesn't really do much more than that. When I retired a few years ago after sitting at home going nuts for a few months, I sort of stumbled onto the "Junking" for a living idea pretty much at the urging of my girlfriend and I have been doing it fairly consistently ever since.
Please understand, this is not an absolute science and I have good weeks and bad weeks but I make enough essentially capitalizing on a hobby to nicely supplement my income, sometimes in excess of $500 per week. As you might imagine this comes in handy and works nicely to pay for the little extras we enjoy such as a dinner out, a movie, a trip away now and then, gifts, etc.
The really nice thing about what I do is that it can be done virtually anywhere and all the time. Granted there are times when I want to be "off" and essentially do nothing,just enjoy the day but rest assured when I pass and old wooden high chair that someone has placed on the curb, I am stopping to pick it up. Let me ask you this if you could stop your car, get out and pick up and envelope that contained $45, get back in your car and drive away, no strings attached, would you do it, of course you would unless your crazy and how many times a day would you do that? As many as possible right?
Well that is exactly what I did, I stopped, picked up an old wooded high chair, dirty but sturdy, took it home washed it off, and sold it the next day to a client who was looking for one for $45.
I don't know about you, but I will do that all day every day for as long as some one will let me.
Consider this, that highchair, with very little work, yielded a pure profit of $45. If you did that twice a day, 5 days a week, that would yield an income, less gas of course, of $450 considering that you would have a total of about three hours a day invested, or a total of 15 hours, even if you deducted $50, a full tank of gas, that is still over $25 an hour for riding around in your car and picking up someone else junk.
So how do you get started and make your first payday in the junk business? It is pretty simple really. You just do it. You go out looking and you find something that has been thrown away, or is for sale really cheap then you get it or buy it, take it home and clean it up if necessary then resell it and "wham" you made your first money as a junker.
I know you are asking yourself, "OK, so I find it, I clean it up, then how and to whom do I sell it?"
Well, my soon to be junker friend, the possibilities to the answer for that question are basically endless. Here are just a few ideas to help get you started however.
Number 1: Facebook, Take a picture of the item and post it with a brief description and a price. Depending on the number of friends you have you may be really surprised at how quickly it moves. Also check Facebook for "Online Yard Sale" pages in your area. Follow those pages and you can post there as well. Finally, once you get rolling, you can develop a business page on Facebook and begin to build a customer base who follows your page to see the items that you have available. I sell items everyday on Facebook using all those methods and it has worked well for me.
Number 2: Craigslist, This can be a source to both buy and sell and while I don't recommend this as a normal practice, I have bought items from here and later resold them here as well, usually with some minor alterations, new hardware, painted top, etc.
Number 3: Thrift shops, I often take an item that I got for nothing to a couple of local thrifts first thing just to see what kind of offer I can get. This does one of two things, It makes me money if their offer is good is enough or it gives me a base price as to where I should start and what I should expect to receive for the item. Be sure to remember though that while you don't want to be frivolous and throw profit away even $1 that you get for an item you paid nothing for is a 100% profit.
Number 4: Word of Mouth, don't discount this sales method. You never know who among your friends might just be looking for that item you have, an odd chair, a night stand, even a coat rack and if they are looking for it they are usually willing to pay for it.
Suffice it to say this, if you are willing to invest the time to get out there and find or buy the items, finding people to buy them from you will be the easier of the two processes. Trust me the old saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure" has never been more true than it is today. Also, if you are worried about the fact that what you are selling is "used" don't be. There is a growing consensus among younger buyers that recycling is good for the environment, the right thing to do and that is true. Every time you resell a piece that was headed for the landfill it leaves a little better world behind for our kids and grand kids. You'll probably be surprised how many people are actually pleased, even intrigued with what you do.
As you embark on this adventure keep a couple of things in mind. You can always think of new and different, even better ways to do this . Swap meets, consignments stores, social media and other online outlets are cropping up every day from people just like you and me who like the idea but maybe thought of a twist to make it just a little easier to bring like minded people together. Secondly don't get greedy or stressed. If someone beats you to a deal or you are a minute late to get that item you really wanted, there is another one just around the corner. Go up the road a little further and you'll find it. Keep what you are doing simple, easy and fun and you'll be happier for it. Keep your prices reasonable and buy and sell! That is how you make money and that is what it all about. A wise man once told me "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. Here is an opportunity to do that. Take advantage of it and you will be glad you did!
So get out there and give it a try, at worst you waste a little time and it just doesn't work for you. At best you have some fun, make some money and maybe change the way you look at the world around you!
More by this Author
Wood pallets can be found anywhere, even the inner city. They are often free but never more than a few dollars. Big box stores throw away scrap lumber and are more than happy to give it away. Use It!
I started a facebook based business really by happenstance, but it has really taken off. You can do it to.
The population of our federal prisons continues to swell, and more people are faced with doing time. No one is prepared for this experience their first time.