Upcycling: just a click away

April 8, 2016

There is a new frontier in upcycling and it exists through the wonderful world of online shopping. Jessica Morris looks at the pros and cons of purchasing used goods online to answer the question: Is online upcycling really worth our time?



Upcycling has become the new normal in recent years. Instead of purchasing furniture at the store, we’ll head to a Salvo Store and pick up a well-worn table on the cheap. A few hours later, with a bit of love and lacquer and voilá, we have a perfectly ‘new’ table sitting in the house that the guests rave about.

It is estimated Aussies spent a whopping $19.2 billion on online shopping in 2015. In fact, online retail has more than doubled in size compared to traditional retail sales in the past year. Clearly, Australia has joined the online upcycling bandwagon and, according to Salvos Stores eBay coordinator Ekaterina Shchukina, this is for good reason. 

‘For somebody who’s looking for a particular item, it’s so much quicker to search for it online. And then you’re given a lot of options,’ she explains. ‘You choose the best price and the most suitable option without having to go anywhere. You have so much more choice.’  

Aside from this, any items purchased from Salvo Stores—either online or face-to-face—directly benefit the lifesaving work of The Salvation Army. ‘The good thing about it is that everything people buy through us, they’re also essentially donating money to The Salvation Army,’ says Ekaterina.

If you’re an online newbie, or are just a bit unsure about this ‘upcycle’ fad, you don’t need to worry. I’ve navigated the world of online upcycling for you and uncovered some of its pros and cons.


  • The veritable plethora of options available to you

  • Sign-up is free

  • Communication with the previous owner

  • You save time and energy choosing an item

  • The ability to research different ideas and gain inspiration from other DIY enthusiasts.

  • Online tutorials and advice is available at your fingertips

  • Online items are generally cheaper



  • Often, you are unable to physically view an item before purchasing.

  • The time it takes for shipping if pick-up is not available

  • The (often excessive) cost of shipping and handling

  • Loss of social interaction

  • The variety of options can be overwhelming


My advice? Ask a friend who knows the web to help you find the perfect upcycle item. They’ll show you how to navigate online stores and find the best prices. Soon enough, you’ll be an online upcycling expert and can show your friends how to find the perfect rustic piece for their next DIY project—all with the click of a button.


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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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