Reusing, recycling, refurbishing, upcycling or repurposing. Call it what you will, It’s all the same to us! 

One of my favourite hobbies for most of my adult years has been to find items people intend on throwing out and giving them new life. For either my own personal use or to resell as a part time side hustle. 

Over the years I’ve found this hobby very rewarding. Giving myself a satisfying feeling knowing I’ve saved something from becoming landfill. Extending a pieces life span as well as making a bit of money on the side. 

Here are a few tips I have to refurbishing items you find on the side of the road! 

refurbished kitchen trolley
A kitchen trolley that I restored with some varnish, polish and elbow grease.

#1 When thinking of refurbishing, be picky 

When I first got hooked on picking up bits and pieces from a curbside pick up I grabbed anything I could see was still in decent condition peaking my interest. Sure, a lot of items I could reuse but there was also a lot of items that piled up cluttering my yard and shed. Ultimately ending up in my own curbside pick up. When your picking, be picky. Take a couple seconds to determine what your intentions will be for whatever you are picking. Don’t take more than you can handle or need. You’ll just end up with junk piled up at home. If I can’t determine what I’m going to do with an item. I leave it. 

Take it from my first hand experience. it can get overwhelming very quickly if you pile up items at home. 

refurbished chess set

#2 Drive by twice 

Too often have I driven past a pile once and glanced at it only to find out from someone else that there was treasure hidden in that same pile. 

Take a good look. You can usually judge the contents of a curbside pick up by just taking a second look from the car before you step out to seek treasure. 

refurbishing gym set
pile doesn’t reveal what can be hidden underneath. I found this workout bench in this pile. With a quick clean up and safety check I now use it in my home gym!

#3 Pick what you know

play to your strengths when picking. One of my strengths is refurbishing wooden furniture. When I see an item in poor condition I check it thoroughly to see whether it can be restored before I take it. I have in the past seen a lot of items like lounge chairs that could of been a great resell with some new upholstery. But unfortunately I have no idea how to do that, so it would end up as junk in my yard. One day I will learn how to but for now I choose to pick items I can confidently refurbish within my skill set. 

refurbishing
One of my be refurbishments to date. A large bench seat I restored with the help of a few friends. We ended up selling this for $250 !

#4 Always leave the pile tidy

One thing I hate is when people pick from curbside pick ups and leave a huge mess behind. If you are digging through a pile to pull out an item, put the pile back together when you’re done. Leave it in as tidy pile as you can. 

refurbish reuse recycle

#5 Be creative when refurbishing

When you are looking at items in a pile try to think of different uses for those items. If you get creative with this your options for resell become greater. In the past I have seen some great repurposing. For example, there are tonnes of items that can be used a plant pots. 

One repurpose project I recently completed, was converting some old wooden posts previously used as park barriers into an outdoor hammock slash gym in my own back yard. 

Let your imagination run and you’ll find out that there is so much potential in a lot of things. 

Old posts that would otherwise end up in landfill. Now my backyard gym slash hammock area !

#6 Resell for what it’s worth not what you want

Resell items for their worth, not for what you want out of it. Too often people get emotionally involved in reselling items. Potential buyers don’t care for how much you cared for that old rocking chair. Plain and simple. If you resell the items for what their worth or a little cheaper in fact. you’ll sell faster and easier.

What an absolute find! I found this free motorbike on the side of the road. reselling it within 2 hours for $140

End of the day the idea is to reuse or repurpose items. fighting this disposable economy we find ourselves in. Over the years I’ve found great pleasure in this hobby refurbishing. Finding the most outrageous treasures in my own community. I’ve lived in many places in my life from Australia to New Zealand and its much the same all over. 

Be resourceful, Be picky and Be respectful. You honestly never know what your going to find!

Happy picking !

We post items that we find regularly on our IG stories!

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