Clayton student turns free finds into extra cash

Clayton student turns free finds into extra cash
From his Clayton kitchen, Matteo Mitchell scans websites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist in search of free items he can resell. (Contributed photo)

CLAYTON, CA (Aug. 21, 2023) — Clayton Valley Charter High School is known for putting out exceptional graduates, and Matteo Mitchell can certainly be counted among them.

The hammer-throwing college sophomore just wrapped up his first year as a USC athlete and has found a way to use his summer at home in Clayton to raise money for his education.

Mitchell resells items he finds on platforms like Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace – everything from workout equipment to furniture, most of which he obtained for free by staying active on these apps. He has earned more than $3,000 this summer and is contributing it to his household to ease the burden of paying for school.

Mitchell’s older brother graduated from UCLA just before Mitchell started at USC, so Mitchell is fully aware that back-to-back college educations are a considerable financial strain.

“USC is an expensive school, and things aren’t getting any cheaper,” Mitchell notes. “If I could help as much as possible to ease the burden on them, that’s kind of my goal.”

Starting small

Matteo Mitchell unloads golf clubs to resell to help pay for his college.

Mitchell had done a bit of selling on Facebook Marketplace for $10 or $20 here and there, but upon returning home from school he started looking around Marketplace with an entrepreneurial eye.

It all kicked off in a big way when Mitchell borrowed his father’s truck to pick up a new elliptical machine someone was giving away for free. “I set it up in the living room, took some videos of it and I put it up for sale,” recalls Mitchell, who ended up making $400 on the sale.

After seeing the potential of reselling in action, Mitchell went all in.

“When I wake up, pretty much the first thing I do is check Facebook Marketplace.”

He shares a little about his process: “I search free, and I have a 15- to 20-miles radius around that distance, and I just scroll until I find something that I think is undervalued.”

If the person with the item says he can pick it up, “I’m out the door in the next few minutes.”

He keeps at it all day. “I go to Craigslist, and then I go to OfferUp. I check those in the morning, and then if there’s nothing on there, I check it later in the day and then I check it at night.”

Mitchell has gone as far as Oakland, where he picked up a drum set that earned him $200. He jokes that he became addicted to the thrill. Clearly, finding a way to earn more than he would at a traditional job without having to physically clock in has awoken the entrepreneur in him. Already in school for a business degree, Mitchell is well on his way to a bright and bold future.

Read more stories by Vince Martellacci.

Vince Martellacci
Vince Martellacci

Vince Martellacci is a somewhat new resident of Clayton who loves to spend time in the town center and in Concord. He represents musicians across the Bay Area in the media when he’s not writing. Contact him at