More and more people have been turning to thrift stores not only to get great bargains on things they want and need, but to make money flipping items. Thrift store flipping involves buying used things, cleaning it up a bit, and then reselling it to a for-profit thrift store. You'd be surprised at what types of items are great sellers, and it's not hard at all to get started. To make the most money, always buy low and sell as high as possible. Here are ten things you should be on the look out for that can net a nice profit.
1. Vintage Glassware
Milk glass, old school hobnail glassware, and jadeite pieces not only look interesting, many are valuable because they're collectors items. Pieces from manufacturers such as Fire King tend to turn a nice profit, and it's best if the glassware is free from chips, cracks, and significant blemishes. If you're considering a set, it's fine if there are pieces missing -- the thrift store will probably separate the pieces when they're put out for sale anyhow.
2. Valuable Books
You can resell just about any book, but vintage items, first editions, and collectible books can bring in a significant amount of money. The important thing to remember is that you need to sell valuable books to places that recognize that value. For example, a local thrift store that has a huge variety of items and generally just tosses the books on a shelf probably won't pay top dollar for your find. However, a thrift store that has a display for collectible books is a better pick. There are even used book stores where you can take these items and make a good profit.
3. Work Tools
Because they're so expensive when purchased brand new, work tools and power tools sell well at thrift stores. Before buying, test the item if at all possible to make sure it works. Having its accessories or a complete set will make the item more profitable, but as long as it's undamaged and functions well tools are well worth considering. You can even resell ladders, and it's not uncommon to see them at thrift stores and even pawn shops selling for $50 or more.
4. Clothing with Tags
Even if you find clothes that aren't name brand, you may want to pick them up if the tag is still on it. With the tag there, there will be few disputes about the value of the item when you go to your local thrift store to resell it. As with most pieces of clothing, the higher end it is, the more money you'll stand to make. Just check out the original price on the tag to get an idea of whether it's worth your time to pick up. For instance, a shirt that retails for $12 is something you can pass on, but a jacket with a tag on it that reads $79 is a better choice.
5. Music Instruments
If you've ever checked out the cost of a new musical instrument, you know how expensive it can be. Those who are looking for instruments often head to thrift stores, which is why these are a good pick for reselling. It's even fine if the instrument doesn't have its case, but all essential components such as mouthpieces and bows should be there. It also needs to work well and not have any dents. Brass and woodwind instruments usually hold up well, and quality electronic keyboards are also good sellers.
6. Sports Gear
You can sell sporting goods, sportswear, and equipment year round, but it's especially in demand during the warmer months and when school starts. Look for pieces that aren't broken or damaged, and also be careful to buy gear that comes with all of its accessories -- without each essential piece, you'll have a hard time reselling it to any thrift store. If you find any collectible gear or sportswear that's signed, you should also think about picking it up.
7. Kids Clothing
If you have a thrift store near you that specializes in reselling kids and baby clothing, that would be the best place to resell these items. However, even general thrift stores typically have a kid's section. Focus on buying pieces from brands that are pricey, as buying bargain brands won't make much money. Some names to look for include Cavalli, Boden, Hanna Andersson, Alex and Alexa, and Crew Cuts. Even brands such as Gap Kids and Gymboree are good picks if you can find it for a low price.
8. Quality Cookware and Dishware
You may question why anyone would buy cookware at a thrift store, and the answer is because it's a great way to find high quality brands and pieces at a great price. Those who cook know what a deal it would be to find a high end Dutch oven for $25 at a thrift store instead of paying over $300 retail for a new one. Look for names that will make the most money, such as Staub, Le Creuset, Emile Henry, and Fiesta Ware. Heavy, well made cast iron cookware can also bring nice profits -- if it looks rusted, just clean and re-season it before you go to resell it.
9. Designer Handbags
The reason your local thrift store has handbags for sale is because most women don't mind buying a used one as long as it's clean and in good condition. If the purse is a designer handbag you'll score an even bigger profit. If the handbag comes with its dust bag and authenticity card that's best, otherwise you'll need to verify that it's real and not a fake.
10. Sterling Silver Pieces
If you find any genuine sterling silver flatware for a good price, especially pieces with an interesting pattern or a complete set, you'll definitely want to get it. Sterling silver is a hot item because many people not only collect it but actually put it to use. Sterling silver bowls, vases, and serving pieces are also good to resell.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker