Thrift Flipping 101: How to Resell Thrift Store Treasures

The internet and modern technology have made a plethora of career paths possible.

More folks now have the opportunity to supplement their income or turn their hobby into a full-fledged business thanks to these avenues. 

However, one of the oldest ways to make money is to resell something for a higher price.

This is how thrift store reselling usually works. 

But how does one even begin the process of reselling thrift store items?

Exactly which products can be resold with the least amount of hassle and the most potential for gain?

Read on if you’re interested in knowing that and more!

What Exactly is Thrift Flipping? 

what exactly is thrift flipping

It’s called “thrift store flipping” to buy things from thrift stores with the plan of reselling them for a profit.

You can sell these things at garage sales, online platforms, apps, or even in your own business.

Most folks usually go to thrift stores to find inexpensive, previously-loved goods such as clothing, home goods, and furniture that need some TLC (tender loving care).

Dealers in secondhand goods, however, see things in a different light.

They are aware that secondhand stores and yard sales typically have items for sale at prices significantly lower than their current market value.

People who “flip” things at thrift stores are always looking for high-demand items that they can buy cheaply and then sell for a profit.

Items that cost them $2, $5, or $10 may fetch $20, $50, or $100 or more when resold!

How To Run a Thrift Store Flipping Business

Locate Where To Source Your Inventory 

locate where to source your inventory

You must have a passion for thrifting if you’re hoping to make a profit by buying and selling secondhand goods.

You will have the best success finding stuff to resell if you look in as many different areas as possible, which are: 

Thrift Stores 

Local thrift stores are probably going to be your bread and butter.

As new items are constantly being added to their stock, savvy buyers can find incredible bargains that fetch 10x or more than their initial cost when resold.

Also, don’t just shop at the typical thrift stores.

Those family-run secondhand shops may offer some real gems that go unnoticed by the big-box retailers.

The Goodwill Finds

At Goodwill Finds Outlets, stuff is most likely unclean and (most importantly) dirt cheap.

Because they sell everything by the pound, you can get stylish apparel for pennies on the dollar.

Public Auctions 

Eventually, everything bought with taxpayer money is auctioned off to the general public. 

Schools, military units, churches, maintenance departments, fire departments, and, more often than not, sell surplus or liquidation items.

Liquidation Outlets 

Instead of shopping at secondhand stores, you can save money by purchasing goods in large quantities.

As for the size of “bulk,” it might be anything from a box to a truckload.

You can find practically anything, from gently worn to brand-new garments to seasonal wear.

Yard Sales 

Yard sales can be a treasure trove of merchandise if you live in or are able to go to rich neighborhoods. 

People often avoid donating “too nice” stuff to thrift stores, which means you can score some amazing prices on these products.

It’s ironic that thrift stores typically charge more than twice as much as the person hosting a yard sale for the same items.

Experienced yard sale goers know the importance of arriving early.

If you can, time your visit such that you arrive either immediately when they open or just as they close. 

If you don’t get in on the early bird specials, don’t be afraid to negotiate a hard bargain; the seller would usually rather see the item go to a good home than be donated.

Mystery Boxes 

Why not try a mystery box if you enjoy the thrill of thrift store shopping but are unable to leave the house at the moment?

For those in the reselling business, mystery boxes are a fantastic alternative for acquiring low-priced stock that may (or may not) turn out to be of high quality.

ThredUp and Goodwill both sell mystery boxes with good items in them.

You won’t become rich reselling this stuff, but it’s a solid backup plan in case you can’t find what you need at a thrift store.

Facebook Marketplace 

Finally, you may always look to local classifieds, like those found on Facebook Marketplace, to find what you need.

You can make money off of just about anything if you’re ready to hustle.

Determine the type of items that resell well. 

determine the types of items that resell well - thrift flipping

The reality is that it’s not hard to find items of resale value in thrift shops.

Thrift stores have thousands of items that can be sold for more than double their original cost.

The issue is that with a reselling business, double your initial investment isn’t quite enough.

Here are examples of items that generally sell well.

Don’t worry; you’ll be spotting these things like it’s second nature to you in no time.

Designer Clothes 

High-end labels are always popular among consumers. 

You might find some great designer clothes that you can then turn around and sell for a profit.

You just need to have the patience to sift the racks of your local thrift shop. 

Thrift store flippers may reach a global audience of customers on eBay, making it a prime venue for reselling name-brand items.

Assuming you have located any potential products for sale, you should inspect them carefully to ensure they are in good shape.

Describe your thrift store finds in as much detail as possible when listing them on eBay.

This can help you find the proper customers for your items and fetch the highest possible resale price.

Books and Textbooks

While individual books may not bring in a lot of cash, book sets have historically done fairly well on online auction sites. 

Consider the “Harry Potter” series as an example.

Used box sets (both paperback and hardback) in good condition retail for roughly $30 to $50 on eBay, and you may obtain whole sets for much less.

They’re not hard to come by, either. 

There are several other popular box sets that sell well, like “The Lord of The Rings,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “Little House on the Prairie,” and “Hunger Games.” 

A single book from one of these box sets might fetch more than the price of a standard paperback because collectors are always on the hunt for new additions to their libraries.

Also, keep an eye out for college textbooks, which students may donate without first determining their resale value. 

However, not all are worth their weight in gold, so before shelling out cash for a possibly out-of-date textbook, it’s a good idea to check the market prices on auction sites.

Video Games 

Some popular games and game genres are in high demand because they bring back fond memories for avid players. 

Avoid games released on consoles that are too current to be considered classic, like the PlayStation 2 or Wii, as these tend to sell worse than older games. 

However, there is often a healthy market for games designed for the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo Entertainment System. 

Glassware and Pyrex 

Glassware is resilient, so it’s likely that you can discover a good supply of it in a secondhand store. 

The fact that some glasses are considered collectors, however, sets them apart from the rest and makes them more appealing to potential buyers. 

Glassware fans adore antique Pyrex cookware and all sorts of glass vessels in different forms and colors, so keep an eye out for anything unusual. 

Look for whole glass sets if you have trouble locating blue glass or ornamented kitchen tools.

Tumbler sets tend to sell better in person than individual glasses sold separately on websites.


frames - thrift flipping

There is a good chance that a thrift store near you will carry artwork, but it’s always a gamble to acquire artwork with the intention of reselling it.

However, if you take a step back from the painting itself, you can focus on where the true opportunity lies: the frame.

High-quality, elaborate picture frames are always in demand. When selecting a painting from a rack, pay special attention to the quality of the frame. 

Larger frames are better for selling locally, while smaller ones can be sold to a new owner with or without the painting.

Sporting Equipment 

New sporting equipment is pricey, so thrift store shoppers are generally on the lookout for gently used products that are in good condition and free of damage.   

Be mindful of sporting goods that show evidence of sweat or have an unpleasant odor, as these can be difficult to remove.

Record Players and Records 

Used record players and LPs can be found in many different types of thrift stores.

Many record players may be found on eBay for $20 to $50, and some can even be found for as little as $10.

Albums on vinyl are also rare and expensive, so if you want to buy albums with the intention of reselling them, you should use your online investigative abilities to learn as much as possible about them beforehand. 

The amount of money dedicated listeners are willing to spend on albums may come as a surprise to you.


You could make a lot of money by reselling used furniture.

Thrift stores are excellent places to find gently used furniture at a low cost.

Simply by repainting it and adding new hardware, you might sell it for a substantial profit.

Shipping costs are the major deterrent to those considering furniture flipping as a business.

Selling products that other people don’t want to deal with can be a great way to profit from this situation.

If they really admire a piece of furniture, they are willing to pay a lot of money for it.

Most of the time, they will be willing to shoulder the shipping costs or pick it up themselves. 


Sometimes, thrift stores will offer vintage silverware at a reasonable price.

A silver item may appear unappealing to the untrained eye due to its tendency to tarnish, yet after being polished, it will shine as brightly as when it was first purchased.

Real silver is not always easy to spot by appearance alone, so you should always check for hallmarks.

One silver teaspoon, for example, might bring $10 to $20 due to its rarity and high market value. 

Always keep an eye out for complete sets, as they can fetch considerably higher prices, but any silver you come across may be worth buying to resell on eBay.

Vintage Cameras 

Vintage photographic equipment, especially cameras, and lenses, is always in demand. 

Vintage cameras are fun to play around with for both amateur and professional photographers.

If you find a nice deal on a lens, don’t wait for a camera to sell it off.

Please note that lenses that are dirty or have scratches will not fetch as high a price secondhand.

Watch out for camera accessories like satchels, straps, and storage containers.

New photography equipment is costly, but used equipment often sells for a healthy profit on eBay.

Related Reading: How To Resell Yeezys – Learn Here.

Decide on a platform to list your items on. 

decide on a platform to list your items on - thrift flipping

You’ll find that some of the most popular online marketplaces for buying and selling have considerably higher fees than others. 

The big corporations, such as Amazon and eBay, have higher fees but also attract a large number of visitors. 

These online marketplaces are the best option if you want to make a quick sale.

Finding a buyer on a smaller site could take more effort if you’re looking to optimize your profit.


Anything you can think of can be sold on Amazon, albeit there are some niches where you’ll need Amazon’s approval and a premium selling plan. 

Depending on your chosen selling plan, Amazon may charge you a variety of fees when you make a sale.

Your cost per sale with Amazon’s Individual Selling Plan is 99 cents plus a referral fee. 

A typical referral fee is between 8% and 15% of the item’s final selling price (including delivery but not taxes).

There is a $1.80 final value fee for the sale of media such as books, movies, and video games.


Similar to Amazon’s pricing model, eBay allows you to auction off and sell a wide variety of products.

It costs money to list an item on the site, and it costs more money to sell it. 

Price, category, and seller efficiency are only a few of the variables that affect these costs. 

Included in the final sale price of most items are shipping fees, sales tax, and a handling fee of $0.30. 

If you list more than 250 goods on eBay in a given month, you’ll be charged 35 cents for each additional listing.


Like its competitors, Amazon and eBay, Bonanza offers a vast selection of merchandise. 

It takes a percentage of the item’s selling price and adds on to that the amount of money it costs to transport the item if that amount is more than $10. 

Accordingly, if you made $20 on a sale and $13 on shipping, your commission would be $23. 

There is a 3.5% fee added on by Bonanza, which works out to around 80 cents in this case. Any item has a fee of at least 50 cents.

Sale prices of $1,000 or more incur a 3.5% handling fee plus 1.5% of the item’s final sale price.

Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and OfferUp 

You’ll have to meet your customer in person and handle the transaction yourself, but unlike with some other marketplaces, these apps and websites don’t always take a part of your purchases. 

Not at all like the usual online auctions and sales; this has its own unique set of perks and drawbacks.

Keeping things online-only is a good idea if you’re not confident in arranging a meeting with a complete stranger.

You can have a friend tag along during the sale, meet the buyer in a public place, or do neither. 

The ease of this transaction is what sells it: no shipping, no fees, just cold hard cash.

However, if your buyer turns out to be a flake, you have little recourse in these marketplaces.


Poshmark is a combination online marketplace and a social network for fashion and accessories.

It has a flat $2.95 fee for all transactions under $15 and a 20% fee for all transactions over that threshold. 

You can print a prepaid mailing label from Poshmark, package your clothing, and ship it to your customer for the expedited shipping fee of $7.67. 

Ruby Lane 

It costs $25 each month to keep your Ruby Lane store up and running.

If you manage to list at least 15 goods during the month, you will receive a $25 credit. On top of the fee you pay, Ruby Lane adds a 9% service fee.


Etsy is the place to go to sell your handmade arts and crafts, antique, or thrift store items.

When selling an item on eBay, you’ll pay 20 cents to list it and 6.5% of the final sale price (not counting delivery costs). 

There will be a 3% plus 25-cent fee added to your total if you choose to pay with Etsy Payments.

Gazelle and Swappa 

On Swappa, you may sell your old electronics at a price that you determine based on comparable listings and then have the item sent to the buyer without any middlemen.

You can get a price from Gazelle on your mobile device and then send it on to the business.

You can find the best deal by comparing the data provided by these sites.

While their processes may vary, both of these sites make it simple to turn your electronic finds into instant cash.


The LetGo app is remarkably similar to the OfferUp app, with the exception that it does not perform ID verification and does not offer to ship some things. 

You should check out their platform to see whether it meets your requirements, but they are also a widely used solution.


Mercari is a marketplace where nearly anything may be purchased or sold.

In addition to the price you choose, the app will add a 10% fee, which will be reflected in the final sale price to potential customers.

The charge is collected by Mercari upon the sale of the item.

Books, video games, cell phones, e-readers, and smartwatches can all be found here for sale, as well as other old media and technology.

Legos are also popular because they can be bought and sold by the pound.


Rather than selling to individual customers, you can sell all your finds to Decluttr.

They pay for shipping both ways and will pay you as soon as they receive the products, provided they are in acceptable shape. 

One drawback is that you can’t establish your own pricing and must instead accept what Decluttr gives.

This is an excellent option if you’re looking to unload a lot of things. 

Related Reading: Flipping Furniture – Learn How To Do It Here.

Last-Minute Tips For Flipping Thrift Store Items

last-minute tips for flipping thrift store items

Following fashion bloggers or influencers is a great way to stay abreast of the hottest new looks and labels. 

Items from the past, especially the 1990s, including clothing from that era, are very trendy right now.

Quality outdoor clothing labels also consistently outperform other items.

Be honest with your listings. 

While it’s true that items in pristine condition are more likely to find buyers, even if they aren’t, you still might be able to sell them if you’re honest about the condition they’re in. 

Additionally, positive feedback on apps and other online selling platforms is often a direct result of being trustworthy.

Dishonest thrift flippers don’t keep getting business.

Do a little DIY. 

There are hidden gems everywhere.

Think about the possibility of getting a higher offer if you do a fast clean-up, paint job, or hardware replacement. 

Related Reading: How To Flip Shoes – Learn That Here.

Final Thoughts 

Making a profit by reselling goods online or in person can be a great hustle.

Finding and researching new items with the potential to generate a profit can become a fun game in and of itself.

Thrift store flipping also doesn’t call for a large initial investment of money.

But you’ll need to put some time into shopping to find items that can be flipped for a profit.

Even if there are a lot of other people looking to resell thrift store items, there is still a lot of room for you!

Just try it and see if your hustle turns into a full-fledged business. 

If you’re prepared to put in the time and effort, you might potentially increase your monthly income by several thousand dollars.

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Brooks Conkle Banner Image
Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an entrepreneur, father, husband, & follower of the golden rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a Finance degree from Auburn University. Addicted to starting new business projects, he believes in creating multiple income streams and a life of flexibility. Business should work around your life, not the other way around. He creates content on his website, sharing his projects to help other hustlers in marketing, personal finance, and online business.