Thrift Flipping: Make Money Selling Thrift Store Treasures

Updated on November 15, 2016

Thrift Flipping Is a Great Way to Make Extra Income

Savers Thrift Store in Fort Smith, Arkansas
Savers Thrift Store in Fort Smith, Arkansas | Source

Making an income using the Internet is not a new concept by any means, but what the Internet has done for entrepreneurs everywhere is open a door that didn’t exist before. Back in the olden days one would need to have a substantial investment to open up a resale store, and this meant that a lot of collectors had to sell their items at auctions or at swap meets. With the advent of online auction sites and the new slew of sales apps for smart phones this has changed.

Thrift flipping involves finding a high dollar or rare item at a thrift store. I have been experimenting with this concept for a few months now. I have discovered that it is pretty easy to find items that are resalable, but it takes quite a deal of trial and error to get it right.

The Shoe Experiment

When I began a few months ago I decided that I was going to find high dollar woman's shoes and sell them online, unfortunately I found out that there is more to it. I purchased my first pair of high heels, a size 10 pair of Steve Madden heels for $14.99. They have a list price of $179.99, and I listed them for $60.00 on an auction site. The problem with these was the size, which I failed to realize, and the competition for the same pair of heels. There were about thirty pairs showing up, with a considerably lower price point. I listed the heels for about a month, and finally I decided to just remove them as they were not selling.

A Niche Item: Typewriter

I decided to research further into the subject, and what I found out is that it is smarter to stick to a niche market. My next purchase was an electronic type writer, one that still had all of the factory stickers on it and still looked like brand new. I purchased the type writer for $16.99, I listed it online with some bright well taken photos and the unit sold not even four days later for $96.73 online. This was a considerable profit, and the winning bidder was a screen writer who didn’t like to use computers to write his screen plays. I learned that finding a niche product where there is less competition is the best method for making a profit, and over the next few weeks I went on the hunt for rare and hard to find products.

Flipping a Book

My next great find was actually a Bill O’Reilly book, something that I didn’t think would be easy to sell. I purchased the book Killing Lincoln “ISBN: 9780805093070” for $99 cents from my local thrift store, I checked out the comparable copies which were going for about $13.50 to $15.00 online, this lead me to list my copy for $11.00 with $8.00 three day shipping. To my surprise the book sold in a day, which meant that I made about a $10.00 profit off of this book.

Finding the super rare items is not easy, and finding that million dollar antique only happens every once and a while. However finding a a niche item is much easier with a smart phone and a little bit of time invested into your thrift store trip. I generally spend at least an hour carefully combing the isles of each thrift store, I begin in the books section and then on to electronics.

A Beanie Baby Find

I have stayed away from trying to resell clothing as there is too much competition, but I have done great with small electronics and rarer items such as beanie babies. I recently acquired Peanut the Blue Elephant for $1.99 which I found out is worth $3,000.00 to $5,000.00. This is one of the rarest beanie babies ever produced, and there are few in truly pristine condition like the one that I found.

Although it can be time consuming, I have found reselling online to be a viable second business. With a little research and some free time you can definitely make extra money to cover monthly bills or extra expenses. Most people who thrift flip spend their time searching for vintage clothing, but I have found much better luck seeking out smaller and rarer items. I believe that this approach is better for the novice, and if you are already a collector this is a more profitable approach.

I already thoroughly enjoy collecting odd-ball items anyway, so reselling them was a natural progression for me to take. I have always enjoyed the antique television shows, and over the years I would periodically search for that one item that was worth a great deal of money. Some people might think that thrift flipping is a waste of time, but the second hand market is actually very worth it and you can stand to make good money doing this. Like finding treasure? Well, give thrift flipping a try.

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