Reusable Cash

Earning Through The Second-Hand Economy: Tips On Getting Started

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Thanks to Lisa Walker for this great article and helpful links on (up), (re), and (free)-cycling!

by Lisa Walker

Many of us would love to earn extra money but it can be difficult to figure out the best way to get started. For some, finding the time to try something new is tricky, while others strive to be careful about making sure they’re still being eco-friendly. Selling items through the second-hand economy is a great way to make extra money, and the good news is that it’s environmentally sound. Whether you want to learn how to recycle items to turn them into art or just get rid of all the things you no longer need, there are plenty of ways you can earn cash by taking advantage of items you already have.

Think about the tools you’ll need to make the process easier; there are many sites and apps that will help you sell belongings, whereas recycling bins will help you keep things sorted and neat so you can easily find what you need. If you’re thinking of having a garage sale, you’ll need to prepare well with signage, display tables, and racks for hanging clothing.

Here are a few tips from Neighborhood Sprout on how to get started in the second-hand industry.

Register Your Business

When you decide to delve into the world of the second-hand economy, you need to make sure you’re operating legally. Many states have very strict rules about what constitutes a business, so if you intend to do this on a regular basis going forward, you may need to register as an LLC, for example. There are many advantages of doing so (liability protection, for instance), and the process is fairly straightforward when you use formation services to help you through the process. 

Do Some Research on Recycling

If you’re planning a future trip to Target to upgrade your office furniture, recycling the things you no longer use is a great way to earn the extra cash you’ll need. However, it’s important to do a bit of research first. Knowing how to recycle certain items or convert those items into something new requires knowledge. For example, if you want to find a new way to use something old — such as turning colored glass bottles into a mosaic piece you can sell — you’ll want to know how to do it properly and to your advantage. Alternatively, if you just want to get rid of that glass bottle, reach out to the local recycling center to see if they accept glass, as many don’t. Others don’t offer a pickup service but will accept drop-offs if you bring items yourself. 

If you’re looking to get rid of some old things and don’t need to sell them, try sitting them out on the curb for passersby to take. Known as “freecycling,” this is a great way to declutter your home without sending more trash to a landfill — a huge contributor to climate change.

Sell on an App

There are several sites and apps that will help you sell the things you no longer want or need, so look online to find out more about your options. Some apps take a small cut of your sale but offer prepaid shipping labels to make the process easier. Check out Vinted, Poshmark, eBay, and Etsy (which only sells handmade or vintage items) and read about their policies to get an idea of how you can get started.

Hold the Perfect Garage Sale

The right garage sale can help you get rid of anything you no longer use while helping you make some cash at the same time. Do some promoting with brightly-colored posters around the neighborhood, set up displays to attract attention from the street, and be prepared to barter a bit. Most garage sale shoppers love finding a deal, so you might consider pricing your items a little higher so you’ll have room to haggle.

Start an Etsy Shop

If you have a creative streak or a great eye for vintage pieces, you can find quite a bit of success on sites like Etsy, where shoppers are looking for something unique. You can recycle items you no longer want — like turning old clothes and linens into tea towels, quilts, or dresses for little girls, for instance — and earn a nice profit by using a crafty spin. 

If you’re more into vintage fare, head to your local second-hand shop or antique store and look for pieces with promise. If you can clean them up and take a great photo or two, you’re bound to find a buyer who is willing to pay a pretty penny. In fact, if you already have high-quality photos of these items on social media, you can simply use a free tool to remove background elements that you don’t want to show in the listing.

Earning money via the second-hand economy can be both fun and rewarding, as long as you feel prepared going into it. Doing a little research will help you get a great start, and you may even make a new career for yourself while doing something you enjoy.

Lisa Walker is a proud SAHM (Stay at Home Mom). She enjoys trail hiking and beach-coming with her husband Jake when not busy with her boys and home improvement projects. She created NeighborhoodSprout.org as a passion project to share her love of homeownership with others.

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
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12 Responses to Reusable Cash

  1. Oh, I would LOVE to do something like resell! Yeah, I’d never have time for it, but I love digging through thrift stores for goodies. Maybe this can be part of my five-year goals…until then, I’ll stay a happy donater! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very informative, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Schaub says:

    Hi Pam – I just sent you an interesting tidbit about Christmas and wrapping presents. This is the business editor at the all-news station I listen to. Hopefully it didn’t wind up in your SPAM filter. I WAS checking my SPAM filter daily until I got hundreds of SPAMs over the course of a few days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda Schaub says:

    Hi Pam – will send a separate comment in case this link goes to your SPAM filter … I was amazed on the stat on Christmas ribbon. My grandmother saved would save the wrapping paper, ribbon and bows all the time. We’d be anxious to see her expression when she opened a present and had to wait while she carefully peeled the tape off, folded the wrapping paper … the mindset of many people who lived thru the Depression.

    https://www.audacy.com/wwjnewsradio/podcasts/the-feldman-report-107/the-feldman-report-how-much-trash-do-you-throw-away-between-thanksgiving-and-christmas-1046250017

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Schaub says:

    I”ll bet lots of people found new hobbies in our initial lockdown phase of the pandemic. I used to see many vintage resale shops advertising clothing, home accessories, etc. before the pandemic. Some are brick-and-mortar stores; others are small pop-ups in the malls or even at local fairs. You’ve given us a wealth of info here – thanks to you and to Pam for forwarding the article.

    Liked by 1 person

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