Home Business Ideas

Cool Home Business Ideas: Upcycling

Spray painted frames

I know of a woman who buys second-hand and resells her finds online.

I’m not talking about shopping at cute boutiques for earrings and handbags (though I know a few girls who do that too). I’m talking about shopping garage sales and forfeited storage facilities. For this post’s cool home business idea, I introduce to you the Millennial Junk Woman.

After being laid off a few years ago, the Millennial Junk Woman came across a steal at a garage sale. A cash-strapped homeowner was selling a bike worth more than $1,000 for less than $200. To be sure, the Junk Woman did a quick search of the bike on her phone and found that even used, the bike still sold for more than $500. She bought the bike on the spot. She took the bike home, snapped a few pics with her and listed the bike on Craigslist.org. The bike sold within just a few hours for $600 more than what she paid for it.

She was in business.

These days, she’s making her rounds to different garage sales every weekend. She buys from resale shops and Goodwill donation centers. She once bought a cute dinette set still in the box. The set was missing the screws needed for assembly. She spent $30 on the dinette set plus the cost of ordering furniture screws and sold the assembled set for $150.

She’s found a treasure trove of wonders in buying forfeited storage spaces. It’s a bit of a gamble. She gets an itemized list of the contents in the storage space, but doesn’t get to actually see the contents of the storage space until she’s paid for it. Some of them cost hundreds of dollars, but she’s been pretty successful at selling off the contents using platforms such as Craigslist, OfferUp, and eBay.

So how much does she make doing it? With no other source of income, her new-school, Sanford & Son-styled venture is enough to pay the mortgage on her home, the car note for her late model SUV, and fund the excursions of her son’s college career.

  • Skills inventory: Patience, an eye for treasures, a bit of business savvy, gut instincts
  • Physical / virtual inventory: Broadband connection, smart phone with camera helps, storage space
  • Launch cost: You need money for your first profitable purchase
  • Marketing: Online resell platforms like eBay, Amazon, craigslist; if you have an item that’s been difficult to move, consider small community newspapers


About This Post


I grabbed the image for this post from Shelterness.com, which I LOVE. Tons of great ideas for making your house your home. I love vintage furniture, but I haven’t yet developed the discipline of upcycling, so my house looks like Sanford Arms. A 40 year-old drop leaf table here, a pair of 30 year-old dining room chairs there. And they look exactly as they did when I bought them, so… Shelterness.com is a yes. #WorkingOnIt #DontJudgeMe


This article is an excerpt from my book, 70 Cool Home Business Ideas for Women Who Think Outside the Box.  Buy it from Amazon and download it to your Kindle, laptop and phone instantly by clicking here.

About Author

Content Strategist and Digital Property Manager - Things I do well: Womanhood, motherhood, sing 80s rock ballads, recite entire episodes of Frasier, turn your knowledge into products you can sell.

(8) Comments

  1. Marya Renkema says:

    I’ve always been tempted to do this. I love garage sales and good deals, but I just don’t get around to it…

    1. Me too. I don’t do many garage sales anymore, but I’m a sucker for resale shops. You can usually find some pretty great deals on books and old furniture (I love stuff from the 1970s). But I imagine getting into this as a business can take some work, especially if you don’t already know what to look for.

  2. How cool is that? I love that!

  3. Bernadette says:

    We find stuff to upcycle all the time. The kids love when they can pick stuff up and then resell it. They really enjoy adding that difference to their banks!

  4. I envy people the ability to scope out those treasures and make money. That’s a skill!

  5. I have been to thrift shops before and have seen things that could of sold well online. I’ve always wondered what I would find in one of those locked storage spaces. I didn’t know that people got inventory lists before purchasing one.

  6. Virginia Gudiel says:

    How awesome! I wish I was good at finding treasues like that! So happy for her!

  7. Lisa Rios says:

    Just awesome. I always admire such women who comes out with such great ideas to make money. I have always loved ways to find selling second-hand items online.

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