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Recycle & Restore Furniture: Earn Income The Eco-Friendly Way

Updated on August 22, 2016
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I say out loud what others only think. I take great pleasure in expressing the hard core truth about awkward situations at Misscue.Hubpages.

Restored Table with My Artwork

Restored Table with My Artwork
Restored Table with My Artwork | Source

Recycle & Restore Furniture

There is one thing that everyone who rents or owns a home uses on a daily basis. And that is furniture, an item that you can sell quickly through a multitude of venues. Amazingly enough, there is a huge demand for affordable furniture and if your price is right, you can make some quick money. Used furniture sells within a few hours if listed on Craigslist, the local classifieds, or in an antique consignment store.

Before and After: Restored Zebra Style Furniture

"Before" | Source
"After" | Source

How To Acquire Inventory

You may need to sacrifice some pieces that you own, but it is worth it when you get money fast. You can make money recycling and restoring your old wooden furniture. Look around your house and garage and choose older pieces that can use a face lift. Don't worry though, if you don't have anything. There are a number of options available for you at no or low cost.

Used furniture is fairly easy to find on Craigslist's 'free' section. Contact the person by replying to the ad and hopefully you can claim the free piece of furniture. Stay on top of things by checking the ads regularly.

If you drive around on Saturdays, stop in at garage sales and leave the seller your phone number so that they can call you to haul anything away that they don't want to deal with themselves. Also, remember the locations of those sales and you can drive by in the evenings after garage sales are over, you may be able to pick up a few pieces when sellers just want to clear out the remainder of their sale left overs.

Keeping It Green

In addition to making money, by recycling furniture, you are saving the environment by keeping big, bulky items out of your local landfill, thus making our planet greener. When most of us think “eco-friendly,” we think of those things that affect the environment in a plainly visible way like cars, light bulbs, plastic bottles, styrofoam containers, and such. Not too many of us think of furniture. After all, how much environmental harm can be done by sofas, chairs, and armoires?

Recycled furniture materials are becoming increasingly common and an entire industry has sprung up around refurbishing and re-manufacturing. However, antique furniture, although sturdy and durable, was never designed with the intention of saving the planet.

By taking used furniture for the purposes of reselling, you are contributing to your environment by saving the Earth, one landfill at a time.

Recycled and Restored Vanity & Stool

Recycled  desk, with recycled bathroom vanity mirror.  Add a stool and you have a new antique vanity set.
Recycled desk, with recycled bathroom vanity mirror. Add a stool and you have a new antique vanity set. | Source
Restored dresser chest of drawers to match the vanity set above.  Total profit: $150
Restored dresser chest of drawers to match the vanity set above. Total profit: $150 | Source

Restoration Phase

Once you acquire a recyclable piece of furniture, you will need to restore it. In order to get the old furniture more appealing to your buyers, you want to spruce the piece up a bit. There are several methods you can use in order to get the piece ready for a quick sale.

First you want to decide if the piece can be put back to it's original condition, or if you will need to do more of a decorative effect instead. There are two deciding factors when deciding how to complete the project. First, you will want to consider how long each method will take in order to complete the task. You don't want to turn your 'quick' project into a time-consuming chore. The sooner you can get the piece ready for a sale, the sooner you will get paid. Second, the value of the item is crucial to your decision. If the piece is a valuable vintage piece then you want to take the time to restore it to original condition. If it is a piece with little value then you want to get it done as soon as possible.

Furniture restoration involves tackling any aspect of work that's required to get the piece as close to the original condition as possible. Often, it's more than just a facelift -- it's making the item usable again and possibly even adding value.

You can give it the popular distressed look by beating it up with chains and a hammer, then apply a coat or two of paint and stain, and call it 'distressed vintage'.

Don't forget to take before and after photos for your scrap book and also for the ad itself. Good photos are very important, in fact more crucial than the words in the ad. The photos can make or break the sale.

The library is an excellent source for manuals and other furniture restoration materials. The Internet is also a great resource for information and videos in which experts guide you through each step of the restoration process. has visual guides for step by step procedures.

Now Make Money

The words 'vintage' and 'antique' tend to help sell furniture quickly. I got into recycling and restoring furniture a few years back during a time of unemployment, and I made money doing it. At one point my income was up to about $400 - $600 a week! But the potential for making three to four times that is completely possible if you have enough room to store alot of pieces at once.

Currently my entire three bedroom home is decorated and furnished with items that I found either on craigslist free section or stuff left over from the side of the road!

Hand Crafted Velvet Lined Storage Boxes

Set of velvet lined boxes, made from left over plywood.  Total profit: $100
Set of velvet lined boxes, made from left over plywood. Total profit: $100 | Source

Start Your Own Business

I started my business and called it 'Side of the Road'. It was derived from my passion for garage sales and free stuff. In my town, when someone doesn't want a piece of their furniture anymore, they put it directly on the curb for anyone to grab. Since discovering this, I have filled my entire home with furniture that I have found...FREE.... and from the side of the road. Unbelievable!!!! I collected so much furniture that I had an overabundance of it. I began restoring the furniture and selling the pieces on Craigslist.

I am always so amazed at what people throw away. I have found some really nice antiques!

I built a full time business for myself just by turning other people's junk into my own treasured income. I have even since contemplated opening a storefront for my recycling and restoring service.

I place an ad in our local paper advertising my furniture recycling service for items that people are throwing out. In my opinion its better to recycle used furniture, than to fill up our local landfill. Essentially my business promotes being green and saving our planet's resources.

And on the other end of the spectrum, I also place an ad for my furniture restoration talents. I specialize in antiquing, distressing, and faux finishes on real wood furniture. It is really fun and I love the end results of my restored furniture when I am done beautifying them.

Find Customers, Find Buyers

Place an ad on Craigslist and advertise your service to haul away and pick up used furniture from people who need to remove theirs. There are several venues for you to advertise your service. You can place an ad on Craigslist, Facebook Market, or Ebay Classifieds, as well as your local newspaper classifieds...

Recycled And Restored Cedar Chest

Recycled and restored cedar hope chest.  Purchase price: $20.  Total Profit: $200
Recycled and restored cedar hope chest. Purchase price: $20. Total Profit: $200 | Source
Recycled and restored cedar hope chest.  Purchase price: $20.  Total Profit: $200
Recycled and restored cedar hope chest. Purchase price: $20. Total Profit: $200 | Source

Create & List Your Advertisement

Here is an example of an ad you can post...

Haul Away Services Offered
FREE removal of unwanted used furniture-

We haul away your unwanted furniture items, any condition-
At no charge to you – Free Pickup
We recycle your used & unwanted household furniture

Call us for
Prompt Response/Quick pickup

Contact us: We are ‘YOUR BUSINESS NAME HERE’
(555) 555-5555 {phone/text}
YOUR EMAIL@***.com {Email}

….saving our planet one piece at a time..

© 2013 Helen Kramer


Submit a Comment

  • MissCue profile image

    Helen Kramer 8 months ago from Santa Barbara, CA.

    You are welcome, Topsite.... Thanks for the message..

  • profile image

    topsite 8 months ago

    Thanks for sharing from your personal experience.

    thanks again,

  • MissCue profile image

    Helen Kramer 4 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA.

    Thank you, MsDora, for your flattering compliment! I do have fun with it, and it is really convenient when I need a quick buck!

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

    You're in good business here. You are very creative too. Thanks for sharing from your personal experience. Voted Up!

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