Money Making, The Katy Wolk-Stanley Way

by Katy on October 1, 2010 · 15 comments

I like to make money. Not enough to work full time or regularly pick up the tantalizing overtime that my hospital pays, but I crave it nonetheless. (There is a direct inverse relationship between my job satisfaction and how many hours I work.) I get a thrill from selling thrift store finds on Craigslist and I’ve been carting unwanted reading material to used bookstores for longer than I care to admit. When a neighbor put a recycling bin full of old books on the curb, I drove them over to Powell’s and made a tidy profit, which is exactly what I did at the end of a garage sale when all the books were free. Sure, this all happened years ago, but I still remember how good it felt to use my ingenuity to make a few bucks when money was tighter than Nicole Kidman’s forehead.

I now enjoy teaching my kids how to make money the Katy Wolk-Stanley way. And they’re as happy as clams to water neighbor’s plants, sell old toys on Craigslist or schlep a box of books over to Powell’s. I feel that these techniques are life skills that will serve them into adulthood. Earning a regular income can take years to achieve. But if they can absorb these lessons early in life, they’ll always have the ability to provide for themselves.

Am I raising future pickers? Probably not, but to quote Mike Wolf:

“When other people see junk, we see dollar signs.”

Which I totally love.

Are you a fan of making extra money through your creative ventures? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy October 1, 2010 at 9:06 am

I picked up a free bike on the side of the road and sold it for $15 at a garage sale.


Katy October 1, 2010 at 9:13 am

Cool! I did the same with a pair of Keen mary-janes that just needed a scrub.



leslie October 1, 2010 at 9:25 am

I good-naturedly refer to my extra $$ making efforts as “hustling.” I have no qualms with taking unwanted gear off friends’ hands (they end up happy) and reselling it (I’m happy!). I use,,, ebay, etc. It’s thrilling!! I am also happy to do odd jobs, barter, and so on. 🙂


Annie Jones October 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

tighter than Nicole Kidman’s forehead

Thanks for the chuckle.

I’m guilty of visiting our friends’ homes and assessing (just in my head, of course) what kind of profit I could make if their belongings were mine to sell.

Yep, I’m just a good friend that way.


Katy October 1, 2010 at 10:45 am


I had to read that part about how you’re scoping out your friends’ stuff over the phone to my sister.



Molly On Money October 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

My aunt recently gave me a pair of Daskos that didn’t fit her well. They were not my style so I promptly took them to the consignment shop. I feel a bit guilty but I figure I will take her to lunch with the $!


A. Marie October 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Scoring frugal finds, and turning over the ones I can’t use, constitute my fourth hobby (along with Jane Austen-related activities, gardening, and birdwatching). I make about $300 a year by picking up tossed-out deposit containers in my bottle-bill state; like Katy, I’m a long-time patron of secondhand bookstores (both buying and selling); I’ve recently found a consignment shop that snaps up what I call my “Salvation Army mistakes” in clothing; and I regularly participate in the neighborhood garage sale. Obviously, I’m not going to be able to retire on what I make this way, but it’s a nice “underground economy” dividend!


Ann October 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm

A. Marie, you sound like you really have a handle on things. What I hate is just downright carelessness. Buying things you don’t want, will never use, and never return. Grabbing a default gift for a relative just because you have to have a gift. We don’t have so many relatives anymore so that’s not much of a problem. My parents will accept gifts , in fact require them, but won’t give any gifts to adults these days. Well, we are all adults.
My mother and father moved into “independent living” a few years ago and had to unload. She had boxes upon boxes of commerative plates and things from the museum catalogs, all in their original boxes. Never touched. Multiple pieces of fake jewelry from Coldwater Creek to give as gifts. What a waste of money. Why couldn’t her family just called off the gift giving since no one used any of the gifts. I had given her 8 limoge butterfly handpainted plates to use at her Bunco club, for a cost of $200. The tissue paper was barely turned back to see the pattern.


Practical Parsimony October 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

One of my little ways of earning money is through collecting cartridges and toners to recycle. I turn them in to Office Depot or Office Max for credit in the future. For Christmas of 2009 I acquired a $189 camera for $22…in January of 2010. Deferred gratification = me! Now, I have 12 printers with 2 cartridges apiece and one with a toner. That makes 25 x $3=$75 that I will have to spend on a camera there for my gdaughter this Christmas. Oh, I already have $6, so that makes $81 I can “spend.” Considering I have spent $10 on the printers to get the cartridges, I really will have a $71 profit. Or, you could look at like a Christmas Savings Account. OM hsa really strict rules, so check out the rule at all three places before you recycle. You must spend money to get the free benefit. That is not true at Office Depot and Staples.


Tracy Balazy October 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I sell items on eBay sometimes, and I have a couple of coats I’m going to take to a local vintage clothing store. I recently sold my 1984 Gunne Sax prom dress on eBay, which tickled me.

Speaking of making a few bucks on the side, this weekend I earned the distinction of making my first sale as a customer at someone else’s garage sale. I was perusing the goods Friday at a sale near my home, and when I saw the Tupperware tackle box where the homeowner was keeping her sale cash, I commented on how useful those are, and she said her friend has been searching all over for one. I have five, bought at garage sales. I can spare one. So, the next day, I rode over on my bike with the box and handed it over. She was thrilled and gave me a couple bucks for it. Really, I just wanted to share it.

The only other garage sale I went to this weekend, I commented on a pair of wrought iron chairs in the backyard (not for sale) and said I have the same two chairs at home. The homeowner was astonished and offered to buy mine. I like ’em, but he seems so genuinely interested, I think I’ll take them over there this week. I like to do that. That’s why I like Freecycle so much.

In a related incident, while volunteering for the local animal shelter today, another volunteer mentioned that at a garage sale yesterday, she saw a woman walking away with just the black metal CD rack she’s been looking for. I have one of those in the basement, too, not currently being used. I think I have another delivery to make.

I learned this weekend that I can clear my house of clutter just by telling people about my stuff, haha!


Katy October 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Love it!



Kariann October 3, 2010 at 8:50 am

I am horrible at this. I was just given a wool rug with some beading on the edge for free. It still had the tag of $1,299. They told me I could do whatever I want with it. After deciding it wouldn’t work for me I thought I might sell it on Craig’s List after reading all of your posts. I figured even $50 would be a help to me and a great deal for someone else.

Where is the rug now you ask? It is by the side of the road with a free sign. I posted a free add on Craig’s List.



Diane October 4, 2010 at 6:58 am

I had a garage sale this weekend and made $350. Best of all, I used a friend’s house on the day of their annual neighborhood garage sale, so no advertising/sign making costs. Unfortunately, there still seems to be a lot of clutter in my house, sigh. Baby steps, I guess.


Nicole October 11, 2010 at 6:08 am

I have just recently moved to a new apartment with my boyfriend, and my cost of living has increased ever so slightly. Rent has gone down, but with him in the house, I have to eat actual meals on a regular basis instead of the pseudo-meals I usually eat.
To counteract this, I have set myself a goal of making $50 a month from alternative ventures for the next 6 months, and I will double that every 3 months after that. I will do this by clearing out clutter and selling at various stores, selling my hand knitted items, and picking up odd jobs.
I am going to keep a spreadsheet of everything I do and see what is the best for me.


michelle September 10, 2016 at 6:33 am

I recycle the kids clothes through Plato’s Closet or Once Around a Child. I have a consignment shop near me that I drop off decor and my clothes. I get a check every month for anywhere from $22 to $115 for clutter I don’t want. I have a fabulous thrift store near me that I have found really cute clothes for as little as 9 cents. I would like to try my hand at flipping these deals. I’m thinking of Ebay to make some extra money.


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