Flipping a Trash Bookshelf

Written by Jessica Mitchel

I've been flipping furniture for profit for over eight months. I like to share all of the tips, tricks, and learning lessons along the way.

May 21, 2022

Let’s flip trash!

I found this bookshelf out for trash several months ago and it’s just been sitting in our garage because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with it.

I was originally thinking about turning it into some sort of bar display shelf, but I knew that was going to involve a lot of time and money and wasn’t sure how it would sell in our area.

The problem with this little table is that it’s kind of small. I believe it was meant to be a small tv stand, but it just wasn’t working anymore.

So I started flipping without a super clear path in mind. I knew that no matter what, I’d want to fill in the holes where the screws were so that that sides were smooth. I also knew I’d want to add legs to the piece, so the bottom would need to be flattened out

With those basics in mind, I got started!

I started off with my prep work. So I cleaned it with krud kutter and water and filled in the holes and scratches.

To make the bottom flat, I needed to cut off the sides. Now, if you’ve been following for awhile, you know I’m not very confident when it comes to using saws, but I wanted to get it done.

So I flipped the bookshelf over and attempted to pull out the wheels. I thought the wheels were screwed in so I tried twisting the wheels, but they wouldn’t budge. I figured they probably weren’t that deep in the wood, so I would be able to cut the wood and they would come off with.

Well, turns out they were pressed into the wood and they were pretty long. Which means, I accidentally cut through the metal wheel. Luckily, I realized and stopped, but I kind of messed up the blade a bit.

After that, I realized the legs would pull out, so I grabbed some pliers and yanked them all out. And then I finished the cut.

But, I didn’t want to do the other side at that point, so I asked John to do the other side for me. The side I cut, definitely took off some of the bottom, but thankfully it didn’t matter.

The next step was bringing it outside to sand. I leveled out the areas that had been wood filled and made sure the bottom was as level as possible. The rest of the bookshelf just needed a quick scuff sand.

Now that the prep work was done, it was time to figure out what to really do with this.

My mom had a great idea of flipping it as a kid’s bookshelf. Whether or not the buyer ends up using it as whatever I have intended, it just makes it easier when I have an idea of what it could be as I’m flipping it.

I had a pink paint that I’ve been holding onto and this piece seemed perfect for it.

But before I started painting, I covered the entire piece with Zinser primer. I only did one coat of primer, which I was a little bit worried about since I was going in with a lighter paint, but it was all I needed.

I then went in with three coats of Melange Paint in the color Wallflower.

Once the paint had fully dried, I went over the paint with a coat of matte poly.

The last step was adding legs. I ended up using these gold legs that I originally bought for the Gatsby bar cabinet, but decided not to use.

I drilled out some pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting. I don’t know if this is always a necessary step, but I like to do it just in case. Then I screwed in the legs and the piece was done.

So here’s the before… And the after!

Honestly, I don’t love the legs with the piece since the front and back overhang a bit. But it’s not bad enough that I want to change it.

Let me know what you think of the legs in the comments.

Overall, I spent close to $33. I spent about $12 on paint, $16 for legs, and $5 for primer, poly, and sand paper. I ended up posting this bookshelf for $100 to account for about 3 hours worth of work.

After two days on Facebook Marketplace, this bookshelf sold for $90. I was a little shocked how quickly this bookshelf sold because of it’s odd shape and pink color. But the customer was happy!


After expenses for supplies, I made a $55 profit!
Flipping a Trash Buffet

Flipping a Trash Buffet

Let’s go through the process of flipping this buffet that was originally found in the trash.


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