From trash to treasures: This social media-famous DIY-er turned her neighbors’ discarded furniture into a new career

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Maggie McGaugh says flipping furniture is environmentally friendly, something everyone can do, and, most importantly, fun. Plus, it’s made her pretty famous!

FORT WORTH, Texas — The cliché rings true for Maggie McGaugh: One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. 

For McGaugh, that’s about as literal as it can get, too.

Her favorite current pastime started in 2020. That’s when McGaugh’s husband, looking for something for him and his wife to do, suggested they look around the neighborhood for a piece of unwanted furniture to flip. 

It was something he’d done before they met. 

So they hopped in their truck, and McGaugh found and flipped a piece they found in someone’s curbside trash. They sold it for $50.

“It’s not a lot,” McGaugh said. “But I knew I wanted to be creative, and I love making money so I was immediately hooked.”

With a degree in marketing and a background in social media management, flipping furniture wasn’t exactly where McGaugh saw her future going. But a few viral videos later, and now with more than a million followers on Instagram and TikTok each, plus nearly half a million on Facebook, flipping other people’s trash has become her full time job.

While the “flipping” part could be as simple as it sounds, the hunt for furniture was not always so. McGaugh said she spent a long time figuring out the rules of bulk pick-up in different cities and areas of town, and which neighborhoods reputably had unwanted furniture worthy of picking up.

“I had to learn which sections of Forth Worth did trash pick up,” McGaugh said. “I’ve learned which city areas have the best trash. I also learned the first and third weeks have the best finds.”

Not everything is worthy of picking up. McGaugh is quick to remind people that it’s possible to get things like bed bugs or fleas from mansions or single-family homes alike. This is why she tends to err on the side of caution with upholstered chairs, couches and other fabric pieces. Mostly, she sticks to sturdier materials, like ones made of real wood.

For the finds she ends up not being able to repurpose or refurnish — or simply no longer wants to deal with — McGaugh said she leaves them out for bulk trash pick-up for a different furniture-hunter to find.

McGaugh said that, while encouraging competition for the best trash finds will make her life more difficult, she believes that everyone can do what she does.

“I used to be the girl who wanted to be creative but didn’t know how,” McGaugh said. “A lot of times, I’ll see those comments on my videos saying, ‘I want to do this, but I’m just not creative enough’ — and that is the biggest excuse to give yourself. Because I’ve been there. But creativity grows.”

McGaugh calls her trash-to-treasures work an amazing hobby, a solid source of income, a much-needed creative outlet, and even a way to be environmentally friendly.

Since going full-time with her furniture flipping and embracing her social media career, McGaugh has created online courses for how to find pieces worth flipping, how to look at a piece and determine how to repurpose it and sell it, and how to figure out what to spend and charge for different pieces. 

To learn more about McGaugh and her online courses, check out her website.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.