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Love DIY furniture projects? Turn your passion into a profitable side hustle

(BPT) - Rising inflation and worries of an impending recession have Americans seeking side hustles and casual entrepreneurship to unlock extra cash and boost their incomes.

A recent consumer study found that one-third of respondents have a second job. One in six said they earn supplemental income through other means like commissions and selling goods. And while Gen Z is the most likely to have a side hustle, Gen X and millennials are also making ends meet with side income.

However, soothing financial woes isn't the only reason consumers are adopting side hustles. According to data from McKinsey & Company, nearly a quarter of survey respondents do so because they enjoy the work and appreciate the autonomy and flexibility side hustles offer. Side hustles can also help consumers turn a passion or hobby into a form of income or help them start their own businesses.

While there are plenty of possible side gigs - such as rideshares, grocery and food delivery, pet-sitting and home rentals, just to name a few - it's important to follow consumer demands to ensure an extra gig is worth your time. The secondhand market is rapidly growing in today's environment, creating more opportunities for side hustlers to earn extra cash. Additionally, services like PayPal make it easy for you to accept payments while offering protection for you and your buyers.

How to use consumer spending trends to your advantage

Inflation is changing the way people work and shop. Consumers are searching for the best discounts to buy needed items and buying secondhand or resale items to save money. According to ThredUp's 2023 Resale Report, 93% of U.S. shoppers have or are open to buying secondhand items. While inflation is a primary motivator, many consumers are shopping for used products because it makes them feel good and because it's sustainable. Many consumers are also on the hunt for nostalgia - from vintage fashion to retro home décor. Whatever the reason, the secondhand market is booming, and side hustlers would do well to pay attention.

You've probably seen plenty of resale sites that offer secondhand clothing and electronic goods, but one trend you can jump on to bring in extra income is upcycling furniture. The New York Times reported that furniture listings on Facebook Marketplace were up 40% year-over-year in spring 2022 and that the number of followers following #furnitureflip on Instagram grew 29% in the same period.

"Flipping furniture is a fun and lucrative way to earn some extra cash," said Charlotte Smith, designer, DIYer and blogger. "Check your garage or ask your family, friends and neighbors for furniture cluttering their garage and attics. These items can be easily restored or updated to attract design-conscious shoppers."

If you're interested in getting a slice of the side hustle pie and have a passion for DIY projects, check out Smith's tips for reselling these six furniture items.

1. Dressers

Dressers are a great addition to any room, especially if you have limited closet space. Find a midcentury dresser with sleek, clean lines that - with a little time, love and care - will be ready to go to a new home.

According to Smith, sometimes all an old dresser needs is paint removal, sanding and reoiling to bring it back to life and get it ready for resale. Changing legs or hardware is another simple solution for flipping these popular pieces. If wood is damaged, try using a wood filler to patch defects and then choose a classic neutral paint color that will fit in with the midcentury vibe. Suggested resale: $250+.

2. Side tables

Side tables can be used in living rooms and other common areas as a decorative accent piece and as an extra surface for drinks, lamps and books. You can easily turn an old side table into an elegant luxury dupe by gluing textured wallpaper to the drawers before finishing the tables with a coat of black or gray paint.

Smith suggests adding a pop of color to the insides of drawers or shelves for a fun update. You can create a graphic mod pattern by adding flexible molding as another unique way to upcycle your piece. Suggested resale: $100+ for a pair.

3. Nightstands

Nightstands are a popular piece of bedroom furniture you can upcycle at a profit. You can easily restore dated solid wood nightstands with a new stain or fresh coat of paint. Swapping in new hardware adds a modern finish to this piece.

As a value add, Smith recommends updating nightstands with modern touches like embedded charging stations or LED light strips. Details like gold leaf or wood appliqués can also change the look of a nightstand to update it for resale. Suggested resale: $75+ per nightstand.

4. Bookcases

For book lovers, bookcases are a must. Adding colorful wallpaper to the inside backboard of an old, tired bookcase can help your piece stand out on resale sites.

Another easy way to add new life to a bookcase is to paint it. Make impactful updates by adding ombre shelves, vertical color blocks or painting a contrasting color on the front edge of a bookshelf.

Smith suggests adding decorative trim to the front of shelves or removing existing trim work with a jigsaw can also change the aesthetic of a simple bookcase. Suggested resale: $150+ per bookcase.

5. Coffee tables

Whether you need a place to put up your feet or hold your drinks, remote or reading material, a coffee table is one of the most functional living room furniture pieces homeowners need. Make your coffee table stand out to buyers by marrying fashion and function.

A high gloss white or black paint coat will always update a coffee table. For a different but fresh update, try sanding the table down to raw wood for a modern farmhouse look.

Once you've finished upcycling a piece, don't forget to style it for a photo. Smith recommends arranging the coffee table in a clean, bright space with a few chic items on top, perfect for an eye-grabbing resale photo. Suggested resale: $100+.

6. Outdoor furniture

Outdoor spaces like patios, decks and gardens need furniture too! If you have old metal patio chairs cluttering your garage or yard, you can easily sand and repaint them to bring a pop of color to a backyard setup for summer.

Smith suggests scrubbing off the rust with a wire brush and spray painting with rust-preventing spray paint. With just a little bit of elbow grease, you can bring tired patio furniture back to life just in time to resell it for the warmer months ahead. Suggested resale: $300+ for a set of patio furniture.

Get secure, safe payment

When selling secondhand goods, make the process simple and safe for you and your customers. Consider accepting payments through PayPal as a secure, easy and flexible way to get paid for your passion projects.

With PayPal, you can 'pay it safe' and protect transactions with 24/7 fraud monitoring and data encryption. The platform also offers Seller Protection and Chargeback Protection for eligible purchases, which helps protect against fraudulent buyers, so you can focus on the important aspects of your business. Best of all, you can manage and track business transactions in one place, helping you stay organized for tax season. Don't sleep on the secondhand side hustle. Learn more about how PayPal can help you start and manage your side jobs.

Disclaimer: This article shall not be considered financial advice. If needed, please reach out to a financial advisor,


June 28, 2023
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