Creative Ways to Make Money: The Drive-by

I'm totally that girl ...

I was driving through my neighborhood to the grocery store the other day.  On the way there, I saw what looked like a solid piece of furniture in decent condition sitting out by the curb.  Given the fact that I was on my way out, I hesitantly left it there, telling myself that if it was still there when I returned I'd check it out.

Fast forward an hour and a half (yes, grocery runs take a long time with two kids).  I drove back by, and it was still there!  After a slight minute of vehicular maneuvering - like, say, a u-turn and three-point backup into an unknown neighbor's driveway - I hopped out of the car to take a look.

Solid wood.
Relatively decent paint job, though scratched in some places.
Nails and screws looking good.
A little dusty.

Score!  I popped the trunk of my car open and somehow fit it into the back of my tiny sedan between an umbrella stroller and my emergency roadside box.

Yes, I was totally that girl.

But before you judge, let me tell you that I spent 2 minutes wiping it off, 1 minute taking measurements and a picture, and 3 minutes listing it on Craigslist.  I sold it yesterday for $10.  $10 for a total of maybe 15 minutes' work, if I include the loading, and answering the door when the buyer showed up.

A picture is worth ... hey ... $10!
Ahhh, yes.  The drive-by pickup!  I am not embarrassed at all to say that I am that girl.  Nor am I hesitant to ask you to be that person with me!  Wave heartily at the neighbor, ask how their kids are doing, and load up as much as you can in your car.
Take it home and clean it off!
     Tighten the screws,
          re-nail the nails,
               measure it and describe it,
                    and list it for sale on Craigslist!

The great thing about this way of making a few dollars is that you literally didn't spend ANYTHING on that item, so you can let it go for super cheap.  Also, you won't feel personally insulted when a buyer offers you half your asking price.

Of course, be honest ... don't start stealing stuff off neighbors' porches or out of their yards that aren't clearly discards!  I'm not telling you to do that at all.  I'm just trying to let you know that there is a market out there!  Ten dollars here, fifteen there ... it will add up!

PS.  Wouldn't it be awesome to fund an entire charitable donation to your favorite organization on "trash" like this?  Or, to treat you and your family to a weekend getaway?  Or take your friends out for a movie?


  1. WAY to go! It is so satisfying to obtain and re-sell stuff on CL...especially when you got it for free and/or had to do no work to it, like this example! One of my own greatest achievements along these lines was a big bar we got from a friend's parents clearing out their basement, which we took off their hands and I sold for at least $75. yippeee!

  2. Drive-bys or hand-offs ... it is all somewhat addicting! $75 is awesome, by the way ... my drive-bys are not quite as significant!