Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse

Upcycling: The Experimental Journey to reach $1000.

A non-rushed series of starting from $0 and upcycling goods to earn $1000. How few steps can be taken to reach this goal? How fast can I sell an item that isn’t exactly new once it’s reached my possession? This is an upcycling experiment where one mans trash is purely treasure.

Starting with absolutely $0 to my upcycling name, I’ve been on the hunt through’s free stuff section. I’ve also found that the Materials section is rather interesting with slabs of marble, kitchen cabinets, and loads of tiles. Within this test I also am not looking to turn my apartment into a hoarders paradise so it is safe to say that I shouldn’t have too many overlap sales occurring.

In the spirit of getting right to the point, lets take a look at what will create our “edge” in this experiment and a few cons as well. The goal is to reach $1000 in as few steps as possible and if you’re deciding to join along with this experiment — results will vary depending on your tools and assets.


  • Transport: Jeep Laredo — This mid-sized SUV can carry small-medium sized tables, hutches, chairs, carpets, and televisions. The seats in the back drop down to give me a bit more room. If I find something large I need to arrange pick-up and create a sale in same day to take advantage of a uHaul.
  • Purchases: — I will use, but not limited use of,, facebook marketplace, letgo, and any other site that allows listing without taking fees or profits away. Keep in mind that the more eyes that see our listing, the more likely we are to get a sale. Not everyone who uses facebook also uses instagram.

Maximizing Profits:

  • Radius — It is important to make the pick-up of your product as cheap as possible. With this you want to avoid traveling too far, passing through tolls, or dedicating too much of your time when retrieving your asset. (Find my previous post for the mathematical equation TME on how to determine what is in/out of the money in this situation)
  • Types of Goods — Not everything has a high resale value. Cups and Dinnerware are already cheap in a store for someone looking to start a new home, also eating off of a strangers plate can be off-putting. Clothing and accessories are a small margin sale item unless you stumble across a Christian Louboutin purse that would carry you straight to the goal. High margin items to maximize our investment could include: rugs in fantastic condition, kitchen tables with neutral colors and semi durable, center console pieces that aren’t bulky, hutches that can be refinished or sanded, coffee tables with a story, etc.
  • Photos — The number one mistake people make when looking to sell an item is the quality of photo. If we want to sell an item like hotcakes the quality of the setting around the item, and the item itself needs to be staged in a neutral setting and the photo cannot be blurry. Natural light is the best opportunity a non-pro photographer may have at taking a beautiful photo. People don’t live in beautiful apartments that you see in movies…. but we can stage the photo for them to envision that life.
  • Timing — The weekend is when most people are able to arrange pick ups for the goods you are selling. They may also check the listing websites for great deals towards the end of the week. Make sure you list on Thursday afternoon, delete, and relist again on Saturday morning if you don’t have any bites. This will put your listing back up at the top again.
  • Descriptions — You aren’t selling a “Small Kitchen Table”. You’re actually selling an “Intimate Glass Table for Cozy Apartment with 2 Chairs”. Your words are everything… if you think what you are selling is crap then why would anyone else think it is gold?

Off to the races:

Well there’s certainly no need to sit around here and dwell on how we’re going to create our experiment here. I encourage you to take part in the #upcyclechallenge and see how many moves it takes you to generate $1000. Set up the form below to grab an email once every week or two letting you know the #upcyclechallenge progress!

Go on to the First Flip creating over $50 in profit!