How to get rich selling demolition waste

Our story so far: The demolition phase of converting our old Methodist church into a home included a couple of dumpsters and a lot of trips to Goodwill.

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We tried to be good stewards of our unwanted demolition waste. To avoid filling a landfill, we gave away a lot of things, but when the opportunity to presented itself, we were open to selling items. With mixed results.

I packed up a box of Christian books and tried to sell them at Half Price Books. I got $2.80. I immediately invested in a $3 copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World’s Religions. I figured any woman who thought living in a church was a good idea really ought to educate herself on all things spiritual.

Then, after the second guy in a beat-up pickup truck stopped to ask if he could haul away the scrap metal we’d piled up outside next to the church, Tyler and I took it upon ourselves to see how much it was worth.

One warmish afternoon in January, Tyler and I piled all the siding Reroofer tore off the belfry and about a hundred miles of suspended ceiling grid into the back of our beat-up pickup truck and drove to a scrap metal yard about ten miles away.

We stopped for lunch. Because we worked up an appetite filling up the truck.

We spent $14.23 on a couple of bowls of homemade soup and a salami club sandwich, which we split. And, because it was a bakery, Tyler got a dynamite apple fritter for dessert.

We proceeded to the scrap metal yard where a couple of overall-clad fellows helped us separate the more valuable aluminum siding from the steel scrap. Our booty was weighed, and they handed us a check for $30.24.

After factoring in the gas required to transport our scrap metal, we each earned roughly $7 an hour plus lunch.

Which was a vast improvement compared to how we spent the next two hours. We priced bathtubs, kitchen cabinets and flooring to use on the ceiling of the second floor. Big price tags, them all.

We still hoped to sell the exterior staircase at some point. Surely someone—with a cutting torch or a long trailer—needed a fire escape.

exterior staircase
For sale: One fire escape, barely used.

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Tomorrow: What we didn’t find during demo. Click here to read it.


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