5 Tips for Successful Thrift Store Flipping

62% of Gen Z value sustainability when shopping. This is why thrifting became a rising culture to oppose the harmful effects of fast fashion. The recommerce industry is even expected to grow bigger by 2029.

People also made it a side hustle — thrift store flipping. It refers to buying and reselling pre-owned items. In this article, you’ll learn how to earn money through thrift flipping. 

How to Make Money with Thrift Store Flipping?

Ninety-two million tons of garments are discarded annually. However, thrift flipping helps lessen the waste that goes to landfills since items are recirculated. 

It is a great source of money since it does not need large investments. Here are tips you can follow to start your thrift-flipping journey:

  1. Know What Items to Resell

A thrift store holds thousands of items, but not everything is sellable. You have to know what items yield profits. Below are some of the best things to resell: 

  • Clothes

Clothing is the best item to thrift since you can commonly see it in stores. Start with jeans, hoodies, and workout wear. Clothes with tags or designer labels even have a higher resale value. 

The market for secondhand apparel is also expected to rise by 52% from 2023 to 2026, so now is the time to start thrift-flipping.

  • Handbags

Handbags are hard to find in thrift stores. Designer ones are rarer. However, getting one designer bag guarantees a hefty profit. 

Find camera, sports, leather, and branded bags. Those are easier to sell.

Secondhand bags also experienced a 6.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in 2022, and the market is predicted to continue growing in the next ten years. 

  • Shoes

Pre-owned shoes are expected in thrift stores and yard sales. The challenge is looking for marketable pairs. 

Search for sneakers and boots in good condition. Branded pairs are even better and more sellable.

The market for pre-owned footwear is calculated to grow by 12.5% (CAGR) from 2022 to 2032. 

  • Books

You should consider hunting for books when you go thrift shopping. 

Find first-edition novels, college textbooks, and classic storybooks. These sell well with students and collectors. 

The demand for secondhand books experienced a 5.5% growth in 2022. This may be due to the pandemic keeping everyone cooped up. 

  • Furniture

People have been moving and renovating recently. That’s why you can spot more furniture in thrift stores. 

Furniture requires more capital since you must repaint or reupholster it. However, it is highly profitable — especially if you come across antique pieces.

The secondhand furniture market is expected to reach a 6% CAGR by 2028. 

  • Collectibles

Signed posters or baseball cards are extremely rare. Collectibles hardly come by in a thrift store. However, those items generate maximum profit.

Search for funko pops, comic books, and vintage collectibles. These items produce 2-3% returns, so it’s a guaranteed win for you. 

  • Electronics

Some stores carry pre-owned phones, cameras, and other electronic devices. Obtaining such will be tough, but the profit is worth it. 

The demand for these items is expanding. In 2020, the market for secondhand phones went up by 24.4% and will reach 27% by 2024. 

  • Video Games 

Video game consoles and cartridges are rare finds. 

You’ll come across broken ones most of the time. But if you’re lucky, you can get something that needs a minor fix. 

Classic consoles and cartridges from Sega Genesis, Nintendo, and Atari have a higher profit margin. 

  • Toys 

Donated toys usually end up in thrift stores. Look for Legos, beanie babies, dolls, and vintage toys. Collectors will often pay extra for a toy you bought for a penny. 

  • Musical Instruments 

Thrift stores rarely carry instruments. However, once you see one, grab it right away. 

Some instruments need minor repair and maintenance to give you maximum profit. The demand for musical instruments shows a steady 2.6% CAGR

  1.  Look for Thrift Stores in Your Area

Do your research. Check for nearby thrift stores, by-the-pound outlets, and consignment shops. Watch out if they have ongoing promotions. 

You can start searching for items at these shops:

  • Goodwill

Goodwill has 3,300 stores in US and Canada. With over 2,000 new things added daily, there’s always something to flip here. They have outlet shops where you can buy a pound of items for only $1.29. 

  • Savers

Savers owns 151 shops nationwide. They also have a pound program with discounts. It’s the best place to go if you’re looking for cheaper resources.

  • The Salvation Army Thrift Stores

The Salvation Army is a non-profit organization that operates family thrift stores. They offer discounts for seniors, students, and the military. You can also buy many things here for only $1.29 per pound.

  • ThredUp

ThredUp is an online thrift store that sells high-quality used clothing. They have rescue boxes of heavily-discounted clothes that need minor fixes. One box costs around $34. 

  • Depop

Depop is an Instagram-like online thrift store. They feature vintage clothing for as low as $12. It’s also an excellent platform to sell your repurposed items.

  1. Check the Quality of the Items 

Now that you know what and where to shop, scrutinize each item. Look at the condition and details. Check for stains, tears, holes, and missing pieces to assess the needed fix. 

Remember that brand is king, so keep your eyes open for branded items on the pile. Be cautious of fakes, too!

  1. Sell Your Items 

You can list your items on online marketplaces after you’ve ensured they’re in marketable condition. Make sure to research the market prices before listing. 

Here are five shopping platforms you can try: 

  • eBay

Your first 200 listings are free on eBay. They only charge 10% of the item’s value. No need to worry about getting customers, too. 60% of listings on eBay had mobile touchpoints.

  • Amazon FBA

Amazon is the world’s top shopping app, with 80.64% mobile users. It is convenient since you’ll just send them the items, and they’ll do the rest. However, their service comes with fees.

  • Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace offers a broad audience and free listings. It’s a great starting place for first-time sellers. Remember that you’d be doing most of the work on the platform — from posting to packing. 

  • Craigslist

Craigslist is a classified advertisements website. They will put up ads for your items on their website depending on the category and frequency you choose. Ad prices can cost over $1 daily

  • Poshmark

Another popular marketplace is Poshmark. You can list your items on their website for free. They provide free prepaid labels. However, they charge a flat rate of $2.95 for items below $15. Items over that price are charged 20%.

  1. Track Your Sales

Once you start thrift flipping, track your earnings. Monitor what sold the fastest. Take note of your profit per item, so you will know what to shop for next time. 

Bottom Line

Thrift flipping means digging through piles and racks of different items. It requires a ton of research, patience, and effort. 

However, this practice helps you recirculate items that could have gone to a landfill. Plus, it adds extra cash to your pocket, too!


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