Olio Stories: Turning trash into treasure

Olio Stories 4 min read

When lockdown hit during COVID in the UK, Steph was keen to keep himself busy and decided to kickstart a new woodworking hobby. His wife, who was already a Food Waste Hero for Olio, rescuing and redistributing food in her local community, suggested he had a look on Olio to see if he could find any materials being listed that would otherwise go to waste. 

I started woodworking during the lockdown, initially I just started in my shed, getting some basic tools and trying to follow tutorials on YouTube. Since then we’ve moved house and I’ve got a garage here, which is now my workshop where I can do a bit more stuff. To be able to use Olio has been fantastic. I’ve picked up bits of reclaimed wood, a lot of people give away tools, just last week someone from around the corner was moving house so I got some old furniture and a dresser.

I’ve collected bits of furniture off Olio, restored them, we’ve used them for a while and then I’ve moved them on using Olio as well. It’s nice that it works both ways, with Olio you can find things you want and then just as easily you can move them on when they’re not useful anymore.

Steph started on projects for his house but it didn’t take long before he was getting inundated with requests for his woodworking expertise to be put to use…

Now I’ve started to get a bit of a reputation as someone who can make things, I’ve got a lot of requests coming in. Some people nearby were moving and they had an oak decking board listed on Olio, so I’ve been making various projects out of this oak and the latest one is a coat rack for my mother in law, she’s got some shelves on the list next! I post a lot of my work on Instagram and people often reach out so I might find myself with an Etsy store at some point who knows.

Tools notoriously only get used a few times in their lifetime and are often left gathering dust. (Did you know that the average drill is only used for a total of 8 minutes!?) [source] Steph keeps an eye on the ‘Borrow’ section of Olio in case he can ever offer a neighbour a helping hand by lending them any of his tools. It was here that he came across his neighbour, Hugh, who’d built up a library of tools on the app that could then be lent to others in their local community,

Hugh was saying how people were always going to him for things like drills, saws, screwdrivers, that kind of stuff. So he’s basically been building up his collection and lending them out using Olio. I’ve taken him some old drills and that sort of thing which he now shares out on Olio. 

Steph’s hobby has certainly come a long way since he first started in his garden shed a few years ago, and we’re thrilled that Olio has been able to support him on his new venture! You can see more of Steph’s wonderful woodwork creations on his instagram page @lesteph

What do you love the most about using Olio?

When you drive around, you see so much stuff in skips or left out on the street and what I love about Olio is that even though it might be rubbish to one person, it’s probably still useful to somebody else, whether it’s scrap woods or broken bits of furniture, or an old tool that’s cluttering up the garage, there’s always somebody who actually needs it. It’s amazing when you list something, how quickly it can go and how happy people are to get it.

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