It’s that time of year again, not quite the holidays, but time to begin prepping and with that in mind, this article is focused on ways to make gifts and/or money using the items you already have in storage to upcycle or barter. Not only is upcycling, selling, or bartering unused items a great way to make money while spending little or nothing in the process, it also clears out space, minimizes your carbon footprint, and provides you with an alternative resource for acquiring items you need or want. Here’s how to get started.

Taking Inventory

The first thing to do is take a basic inventory of all the items you have lying around that you really have no use for or desire to keep. These items can be anywhere, storage, garage, crawl space, backyard, and everyday living areas. Depending on your desired use for the items, i.e. sell, upcycle, re-gift, the items can be in less than pristine condition; although sale items should be in as good of condition as possible to bring the highest returns.

Second, you want to compile a list of tools, materials, and other items that you have on hand to use when upcycling, or recycling an item into something new and exciting. Let your creativity and imagination fly in this stage of production. Knowing which materials you have will help stimulate your creative side.

Taking Action

Once you know what you have to work with it is time to sort your items in to sell, upcycle, and recycle categories. The difference between upcycling and recycling being with upcycling you make something new out of something old and recycle you reuse the materials of something old to make something new.


When you have a clear list of items that have been cleaned, inspected, and are ready for sale, spend some time researching online sales tools to see which one will work best for your needs. Some reputable online sites are:

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Cash4Books
  • Letgo


For your upcycling collection, lay them all out together and let your eye wander across your collection as if it were trying to see the picture in a pixilated wall-hanging. As you do imagine what would happen if each item were to be reincarnated into something else. What would it be? Here are some ideas from and my own crafting experience to get you started are:

  • Interesting Bottles into Backyard Lighting or Candle Holders
  • Empty Booze Bottles into Uniquely Elegant Candles
  • Skis into Wine Racks
creative upcycling bench and table wooden pallets


Recycling in this instance can be accomplished from two different perspectives. The first is very much the idea of re-gifting. When you have something that was given to you that appreciate enough to keep it but don’t use it, you really don’t honor the person who gave it to you. Instead it becomes a hoarding piece. Take these newish or never used items, clean them up and respectfully gift them to someone who really will use and enjoy the gift. Think of it as a method of passing the love forward.

The second perspective is to gather up all of your recyclable items and take them to the recycling center or a consignment store that will sell the items as they are for you if they are sellable. Make sure you clean anything going on consignment as best you can in order to make it more appealing or even antique looking not just treated poorly or old. For anything that is just too old and damaged to use remove any useful parts for future use and take the scrap metal, plastic, glass, and wood to the recycle center for instant cash.

Once you have all of your brilliant new projects completed, don’t forget to check out Browning Park Mini Storage for a safe, clean, and convenient place to store your valuable inventory.