Two bedside tables, a bookcase, a wooden filing cabinet, sandpaper, drill bits, paint-stained tarps and cans of paint – our little apartment looks more like a carpentry workshop every day.
Why, you might ask, did we cram extra furniture into our tiny house, painting and sanding the evenings?
Simple. It’s our sleight of hand.
This is what my generation does, both by choice and largely by economic incentive, according to Fortune. In the wake of job uncertainty related to COVID-19, crushing inflation and completely inaccessible real estate prices, it is difficult to get by with the usual 9-5. So instead, my husband has two jobs, I have one, and we have our furniture upside down.
We are not the only ones who feel the need to hustle. According to Side Hustle Nation, about 45% of Americans have some sort of side hustle, and 54% of side hustle hustle are between the ages of 18 and 34. And of all these secondary scammers, only 12.2% are able to earn more than $5,000 per month. The median monthly income of secondary scammers is around $200.
We’re all digging into our hobbies and interests, wondering what we can monetize after finishing our daily chores – all hoping that maybe this side gig might become a day job. But for most of us, the efforts go unrewarded.
My husband pitched his furniture flipping idea to me this summer after first thoroughly researching a car detailing idea. Thanks to the great teacher, YouTube, we learned from other furniture enthusiasts about the best types of paints, finishes, and tools to invest in. Then began the treasure hunt through online marketplaces, Goodwill and garage sales for interesting pieces.
Tips for making profit
For budding furniture lovers, here’s what we’ve learned so far.
When researching parts to buy, the most important considerations are materials, style, and durability. A slightly scratched solid wood shelf can be sanded and repainted, but particleboard covered with wood veneer should be painted – and wouldn’t be of the same level of quality.
Plan to spend between 3 and 8 active hours on a piece, depending on its size. A good Saturday can be enough to finish a few small pieces like bedside tables and side tables or a large piece like a chest of drawers.
Selling a piece is as much about presentation and staging as it is about the quality of the refurbishment. You will need a clean and simple background, good lighting and props to set it in scene. For example, if it’s a coffee table, a few books stacked on top with a plant or a vase of flowers can help readers imagine what this piece might look like in their home.
A scramble for the American dream
Although our side business was born out of a desire for extra money, it became an outlet for our creativity, an opportunity to get up from our daily work desks and work with our hands. But that creativity is up against deadlines imposed by a median cost of a single-family home that costs more than half a million dollars in Utah and an inflation rate that is driving up grocery budgets by 13, 1% – this is where the hustle really comes in.
Is this the new path to the American dream? The American upward push that makes us grab more jobs after quitting our other jobs? Or is it, as some have called it, a jerk? A fake beacon of “work hard and you’ll get to the top” that urges us to normalize the state of our economy? As The New York Times puts it, “Our jobs are now ‘flexible,’ even if we contort ourselves to work around the clock.”
How many of us would be scrambling if we didn’t feel the overwhelming anxiety draining from our savings accounts in our exhausted expressions as we stare at the balance owing on groceries, the price tags of used cars or completely off-budget housing costs?
But if you’re like me, you feel that stress. And if you’re like me, you have to do something, even if some say it’s futile.
And who knows, maybe our side business will take off and become more than just evening fun – we all hope to be in that top 12.2%. But for now, we keep sanding, painting, cleaning and staining our wooden living room occupants, mixing up our rent money each month and moving forward, hoping our hustle and bustle will bring us closer to those high housing prices. .