Earn Cash the Eco-Friendly Way: Recycle Furniture - ToughNickel - Money
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Earn Cash the Eco-Friendly Way: Recycle Furniture

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Restored Table With My Artwork

Restored Table with My Own Artwork

Restored Table with My Own Artwork

Recycle and Restore Furniture

There is one thing that everyone who rents or owns a home, uses on a daily basis. Furniture is 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





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 facelift. 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 in Craigslist's 'free' section. Contact the person advertising the piece of furniture that they want to dispose of, 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, after their sale is done for the day. 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 leftovers.

Landfill = Fill Land

Keep the good stuff out of our city dumps!  Recycle and Restore anything that is not garbage!

Keep the good stuff out of our city dumps! Recycle and Restore anything that is not garbage!

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, you are helping to make 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?

The recycling of 20th century and newer furniture materials is becoming increasingly common. An entire industry has sprung up around refurbishing and re-manufacturing. However, true antique furniture from the 1800s, although incredibly sturdy and durable, was never designed with the intention of saving the planet.

You are contributing to your environment, thereby saving the Earth, one landfill at a time, by restoring used furniture for the purposes of reselling.

Recycled and Restored Vanity and 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.

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

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 its original condition, or if you will need to do more of a decorative effect instead. There are two deciding factors when choosing how to complete the project. 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 as close as possible, to its 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 to the original piece.

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 to use in your scrapbook, and also for the ad itself. Good photos are very important. In fact, the pictures you take, will be vitally more important than the words in your ad. The photos can make or break the sale.

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

Now Let's Make Money

The words 'vintage' and 'antique' tend to help your furniture sell more quickly. I originally got into recycling and restoring furniture a few years back, during a time of unemployment, and I made decent money doing it. At one point my income was up to about $400–$600 a week! But the potential for making double or triple that, is completely possible, if you have enough storage to hold a lot of pieces at once.

Currently my entire three-bedroom home is decorated and furnished with items that I found either on Craigslist's free section, or stuff leftover 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

Start Your Own Business

I started my own restoration business, and named 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...

... 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 antique pieces of furniture!

I built a full-time business for myself, just by turning other people's junk, into my own treasured income. I have even 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, it's better to recycle used furniture, than to fill up our local landfill. Essentially, my business promotes going 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 any of the internet's local sites, to place your ad. You may want to advertise your services for hauling away, and picking up, of used furniture, from people who want to get rid of 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

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

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

Create and 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..


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Helen Kramer


Jenny Potter from USA on July 08, 2020:


I appreciate your effort in writing such a detailed content. People are using old cars and spending money on the fixing and maintenance of the old junks car. If you’re in that condition, or maybe you have an old junk car, SUV, or truck that doesn’t run any longer.

Your post covers each and every aspect or essential topics require for it. Love to read it. There are many ways to get rid of old cars. Your content is amazing. Please share more stuff regarding junk my car for cash with us.


Thanks for the share

- Jenny

Helen Kramer (author) from Santa Barbara, CA. on October 12, 2016:

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

topsite on October 11, 2016:

Thanks for sharing from your personal experience.

thanks again, http://www.fil5edma.com/movingfurniture

Helen Kramer (author) from Santa Barbara, CA. on February 20, 2013:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 19, 2013:

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