How to Make Money From your Unwanted Household Items

Filed in Guest Posts by on April 16, 2013 2 Comments
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Reducing waste through recycling is one of the key ways to achieving a zero waste lifestyle, however there is much more to recycling than simply separating plastic from glass and putting them in the right bins.

Instead recycling covers any means in which unwanted goods can be reused.

Today there are many ways to recycle, from using freecyle networks to dropping unwanted items off at charity shops, that recycling is easier than ever – even large industrial businesses have embraced the idea of recycling. But in these economically tough times if you can make money from your unwanted items as well, it is a win-win situation for both the environment and your bank balance.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Car boot sales

To you that old mirror is a piece of junk that you’ve been meaning to get rid of for years, but to someone else it is the finishing touch to their living room they have been looking months for.

Car boot sales are where the young and old alike head to on the weekend to discover hidden treasures, and is weekly proof that the old saying ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure’ still holds true today.

So sacrifice your weekend lie-in, fill up your car and head off to your local car boot sale.


For the tech-savvy, websites like ebay are a fantastic way to get rid of one or two unwanted items. From school text books to golfing equipment these websites enable people to sell a range of items.

All it takes is a good quality photo, a bit of time on the computer and you could end up with people outbidding each other to get hold of your unwanted goods.

You just have to keep in mind that you will have to pay for the posting and packaging, or else it could end up costing you more money to sell the item than you make!


Sometimes we inherit furniture and pictures that if we’re really honest we don’t like or want. We end up holding onto these, often with them taking up valuable living space, but why not enter them into an auction instead?

It will mean they get to be appreciated by a new owner and will provide you with a bit of extra cash to buy something you really do want and need.

Use up leftovers

Using up leftovers is more about saving money than making money, but it still one of the best ways to recycle unwanted goods. You might think that using up leftovers is saved for the kitchen only, but take a look around your home and you will soon see plenty of other items that can also be used up.

If, for example, you have wrapping paper left over after your child’s birthday, keep it for when they have to go to one of their friend’s parties. Or perhaps an old chest of draws that no longer fits in with your redecorated bedroom can be re-painted and put into the spare bedroom?

Our grandparent’s generation were experts at finding inventive ways of re-using unwanted items, however with our throw-away consumer culture this skill became lost. So perhaps it is now time to embrace the ‘make do and mend’ culture again.

Written by Derin Clark a writer, editor and blogger.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (2)

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  1. Bethany Williams says:

    Since Ebay increased costs for selling items online we stopped using their website and found several free alternatives including GumTree and Craig’s List. A further advantage is that
    because local websites are offered the expense of postage and packing is saved.

  2. Heather says:

    I do love a car boot sale for getting rid of lots of things I don’t want or need any longer. I used to sell lots of things on eBay too, but as others have said the fees are getting a bit on the expensive side now. I need to look into alternatives such as eBid or Gumtree I think. Also consider your local Loot or local newspaper. Or even a card in shop windows for larger items,

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