What are The Best Thrift Store Finds to Sell Online?: Top Items for Maximum Profit

By Chris Shaffer •  Updated: 10/02/23 •  20 min read

Thrifting has become a popular way to find unique, and sometimes valuable, items at a fraction of the cost. You can score some amazing finds at your local thrift store that can be sold online for a profit. With millions of potential buyers worldwide, platforms such as eBay, Poshmark, and other online marketplaces have made it easier than ever to showcase and sell your thrift store treasures.

Some profitable thrift store items that you may come across include designer clothes, video games, and used books. 

It's important to familiarize yourself with current trends and potential high-value items before hitting the thrift stores.

Keep in mind that location plays a role in the variety and quality of items you may find. For instance, thrift stores near colleges often have a great selection of textbooks that you can resell online. 

By understanding the best items to sell and paying attention to market demands, you can turn your thrifting hobby into a lucrative side hustle.

What is Thrift Store Flipping?

Thrift store flipping is the process of purchasing items from thrift stores at low prices and then reselling them online for a profit.

It's an excellent way to save money and take advantage of the discounts found in thrift stores while making extra income.

As a thrift store flipper, you'll develop an eye for finding valuable items that others might overlook.

You'll learn how to spot high-quality, branded, or vintage products with the potential for high resale value.

To be successful in thrift store flipping, it's essential to research the market and understand which items are in demand, have the potential for profitability, and where to sell them.

In your journey to become a thrift store flipper, you'll visit various thrift stores, garage sales, or discounted retail outlets.

By doing this, you'll not only save money on your purchases but also discover hidden treasures that can be resold at a significantly higher price online.

Platforms like eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari are popular choices for reselling thrift store finds, as they attract millions of buyers from around the world.

To maximize your profits and increase your chances of success, focus on the following aspects:

Thrift store flipping can be a fun and profitable venture if you're willing to invest your time and effort into finding the right items to resell. With practice, research, and persistence, you can turn your thrift store visits into a successful business opportunity.

Finding Valuable Items

When visiting thrift stores, it's essential to know what items are popular and can potentially be sold online for high profits. By conducting some research, you can become confident and knowledgeable about the most valuable items, making your treasure hunt more enjoyable and lucrative.

One of the best categories to search in thrift stores is clothes, specifically name-brand and designer items. These can often be sold for a profit on platforms like eBay. Make sure to check the item's condition before purchasing.

Books can also be a profitable find; look for first editions, signed copies, or out-of-print titles in good shape. Additionally, collectible items, such as glassware, vintage toys, and board games, can attract buyers if they are rare or well-preserved.

You may also come across vintage Pyrex or other branded kitchenware, which can be valuable if in mint condition or featuring unique patterns. Keep an eye out for quilts and vintage area rugs, as they are popular items among those who prefer antique and classic decor.

Tools and furniture can be another profitable area to explore. Well-built and unique pieces or those from recognizable brands can sell for a premium online.

In the housewares section, look out for sterling silver items, as their value goes beyond their design or brand. Buyers are often interested in sterling silver flatware, serving pieces, and even decorative items.

To make your thrift store experience more fruitful, pay close attention to the details and labels on items, and always check their condition. By keeping yourself informed and maintaining a keen eye, you can increase your chances of finding valuable items that can be sold online for a substantial profit.

Tips for Inspecting Items

When shopping at thrift stores, you want to ensure that the items you find are in good condition before listing them for sale online. Here are a few tips to help you inspect items effectively.

First, carefully examine each item for any visible damage. In the case of clothing, look for rips, stains, and tears. Check the seams to ensure they are still strong and not frayed. With other items like electronics, furniture, or toys, look for any noticeable cracks, chips, or other imperfections that could affect their usability or value.

Next, use your smartphone to check the value of items you are considering purchasing. A quick online search can inform you of the current market price and demand for similar items. This will help you determine if the item is worth investing in, and at what price to offer it for sale.

When inspecting items, also evaluate their cleanliness. While some stains or dirt can be easily removed, others may be permanent or too difficult to clean. Keep in mind that potential buyers will expect the items they purchase to be clean and in good condition. Factor in the cost and effort of cleaning items when determining your potential profit margin.

Finally, it's important to know your limitations when it comes to repairing damaged items. If you are skilled in sewing or fixing electronics, you might be able to make a profit on items that others might pass on. However, if you don't have the skills or tools required to fix damaged items, it's best to focus on items that are in good condition and ready to be sold.

By conducting thorough inspections and utilizing your smartphone to research the value of items, you can confidently select the best thrift store finds to sell online.

Key Selling Platforms

When it comes to selling your thrift store finds online, several platforms can help you reach a wide audience and maximize your profits. Here are some of the top-selling platforms to consider:

eBay: This classic resale site is still going strong and is an excellent option for selling an extensive range of items, including clothing, accessories, home decor, and personal tech. eBay allows you to reach buyers across the globe and offers an auction-style format to potentially fetch higher prices for your items.

Etsy: Known for its focus on vintage and handmade items, Etsy offers a fantastic marketplace for those looking to sell unique thrift store finds. The platform has a passionate community of collectors and enthusiasts who are always on the lookout for special items.

Craigslist: As one of the original online selling sites, Craigslist provides a simple and local-focused platform for selling your higher-priced thrift store items. Its broad categories make it a suitable choice for furniture, cars, tools, and more. Keep in mind that it's essential to practice safety measures when organizing in-person transactions.

Amazon: While primarily known for new products, Amazon also has a thriving marketplace for select pre-owned items. For thrift store sellers looking to offload popular and sought-after products, Amazon could provide a viable selling platform with a vast potential customer base.

Chairish: This platform caters to those looking to sell high-end, vintage, and designer furniture, decor, and lighting. If your thrift store finds include unique or luxury home items, Chairish can be a perfect venue to reach an audience of design enthusiasts and decorators.

Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace offers a straightforward way to buy and sell items within your local community. It's suitable for various thrift store finds like clothing, furniture, and electronics. Its user-friendly interface and secure transaction features make it a popular choice for both sellers and buyers.

In summary, the platform you choose for your thrift store sales will depend on the type of items you have and the audience you wish to target. Utilize these key selling platforms to turn your thrift store finds into profitable online sales.

Photographing and Listing Your Items

When it comes to selling thrift store finds online, the presentation is crucial for attracting potential buyers. To increase your chances of making a sale, you should pay close attention to photographing and listing your items.

Firstly, make sure you take high-quality photographs of the items you wish to sell. Use a clean, well-lit space and a neutral background to let your items stand out. 

Try to use natural light whenever possible, but if that's not an option, invest in proper lighting equipment. 

Take multiple shots from various angles and focus on important details. For items like picture frames, make sure to highlight their unique features, such as intricate designs or antique finishes. 

Also, remember to photograph any imperfections to avoid any surprises for the customer.

When listing your items, make your description thorough and accurate. 

Clearly outline the item's features, measurements, and condition. 

Emphasize aspects that will appeal to your target audience, like designer brands, rarity, or exceptional quality. Transparency is key in your descriptions as it builds trust and ensures customer satisfaction, which will, in turn, lead to positive reviews.

As you work on your item listings, make sure to optimize them for search. Use relevant keywords in the title and description, but avoid stuffing them in a way that feels unnatural. This will make it easier for potential buyers to find your items when they search online.

Lastly, be responsive to any inquiries or questions from potential buyers. This will not only help you gain their trust but also improve your chances of securing a sale. Providing excellent customer service will reflect well in your reviews, further enhancing your online reputation as a reliable seller.

By following these tips, you'll be able to showcase your thrift store finds effectively online and maximize your chances of turning a profit.

Packing and Shipping Tips

When you've found great thrift store items to sell online, it's essential to ensure they reach your buyers in pristine condition. Here are some packing and shipping tips to help you minimize costs and maximize customer satisfaction.

Choose the right packaging material: To save on packing costs, select the appropriate packaging based on the item's size, shape, and fragility. Cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts are excellent materials that offer protection at a reasonable cost. Don't forget to reuse boxes and packing materials, and look out for free shipping supplies from carriers, as they can help you save money.

Weigh and measure your items: Accurate measurements of your package dimensions and weight will help you calculate shipping costs more precisely. Investing in a scale is a wise decision, as it helps you avoid both overpaying and underestimating shipping charges. Additionally, accurate measurements ensure your packages conform to carrier size restrictions, reducing unexpected fees and delivery delays.

Compare shipping options: It's essential to find the balance between affordable shipping and quick delivery. Research different carriers to find the best rates and services for your specific needs. Many carriers, like USPS, UPS, and FedEx, offer discounted rates for volume sellers or small businesses.

Consider offering free shipping: Buyers often appreciate and expect free shipping, especially when purchasing from online marketplaces like eBay or Poshmark. By incorporating shipping costs into your item's price, you can maintain a competitive edge while still covering your expenses.

Provide clear communication: To maintain a positive seller reputation, always provide your customers with tracking information and an estimated delivery date. This transparency will help prevent misunderstandings and encourage repeat business.

By following these packing and shipping tips, you'll be well-equipped to deliver your thrift store finds safely and efficiently to your buyers, while keeping costs manageable.

Profitable Book Flipping

In the world of online reselling, flipping used books can be a lucrative endeavor. With the right knowledge and approach, you can turn a hobby into a steady stream of income. To begin, visit thrift stores, used bookstores, and even garage sales to find valuable books. Keep in mind that certain types of books are more likely to yield higher profits, such as textbooks, college textbooks, first edition books, and popular series.

Flipping books, textbooks, and college textbooks can be particularly profitable. These books are often in high demand and can be expensive to buy new.

By sourcing them at a lower cost from thrift stores and selling them online, you can make a significant margin on each sale. Remember to check the edition and publication date of the textbooks, as the most recent editions are generally the most valuable.

Flipping first-edition books can also prove to be a worthy investment.

Examples of collectors' favorites include the “Anne of Green Gables” series, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and the “Little House on the Prairie” books.

When searching for first editions, pay attention to publishing details, the condition of the book, and any distinguishing features, such as author signatures.

To optimize your book-flipping endeavor and make it as profitable as possible, consider the following tips:

By adhering to these strategies and continually honing your knowledge of valuable books, you can successfully turn thrift store finds into profitable online sales. Remember to remain persistent, patient, and adaptable in your book-flipping journey, as each find can bring new profit opportunities.

Selling Clothes and Fashion Items

When you're looking to make a profit from your thrift store finds, clothes and fashion items are a great starting point. With many people on the hunt for unique, affordable, and designer items, selling second-hand clothes online can be quite lucrative.

eBay is a popular platform for reselling thrift store clothing, as it exposes your items to millions of buyers worldwide. Make sure to thoroughly check each clothing piece for any wear and tear or damages before listing it. Designer clothes are especially sought after, so keep an eye out for high-end brands that are likely to fetch a higher price.

Another platform to consider is Depop, a creative community marketplace and social app where you can sell clothing and accessories. Its trendy vibe appeals to the younger crowd, making it a perfect place to sell items that are in line with current trends and styles. High-quality photos and unique staging are essential on this platform, as presentation plays a significant role in attracting buyers.

For those looking to sell high-quality secondhand clothes at up to 90% off retail prices, ThredUP is also worth exploring. This online consignment and thrift store allows you to buy and sell items while contributing to a more sustainable fashion industry.

In addition to clothes, don't overlook other fashion items such as blankets. They can be a profitable find, particularly if they are made of high-quality materials or boast unique designs. Items like vintage blankets or those made by well-known designers can fetch excellent prices on resale platforms.

To successfully sell thrift store finds online, remember these key points:

By following these tips and staying up-to-date on current fashion trends, you'll increase your chances of turning a profit from your thrift store finds.

Selling Housewares and Furniture

When searching for items to sell online, housewares and furniture offer a wide range of profitable options. With a keen eye, you can spot unique and valuable pieces at thrift stores to resell on online platforms.

Furniture is generally a significant investment for homeowners, and many are willing to pay a premium for well-crafted and stylish pieces. When sourcing second-hand furniture, prioritize quality, and consider brands like Kaiyo, or platforms like Bonanza, which specialize in higher-end furniture. Ease of pickup, delivery, and assembly can also increase the appeal of your listed items.

When it comes to home decor and interior design items, an understanding of prevailing trends is crucial. Collectible items such as vintage glassware or unique statement pieces can attract buyers looking to enhance their homes' aesthetics. Be on the lookout for popular design styles ranging from mid-century modern to industrial to farmhouse chic, as these can also increase your profit margin.

Dishes and kitchenware offer a potentially lucrative niche market as well. High-quality dishes, particularly those made from materials like porcelain or stoneware, hold value. Pyrex dishes, known for their durability and strong glass components, are sought after by collectors, so be sure to keep an eye out for iconic vintage patterns and shapes.

To maximize the appeal and value of your housewares finds, take the time to research and present accurate descriptions of the items. Properly cleaned and photographed items will make a better impression on potential buyers, increasing the chances of a successful sale.

Remember, when selling housewares and furniture online, a blend of selective sourcing, understanding the market, and appealing presentation will help you maximize your profits and ensure a satisfying transaction for both you and your buyers.

Selling Sports and Hobby Items

When it comes to selling thrift store finds online, sports and hobby items are among the most sought-after categories. People are always looking for affordable and quality sports gear unique and rare board games or hobby items.

Sports Gear: Keep an eye out for popular name-brand sporting goods like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. High-quality equipment such as golf clubs, tennis rackets, and sports apparel are often in demand and can fetch a good price online. When evaluating sports gear, ensure it is in good condition and relatively modern, as older equipment may not have the same features or appeal to today's athletes.

Board Games: Look for classic and popular board games in good condition, especially those with complete sets including all the necessary pieces. Vintage or limited edition board games can be particularly valuable. Scan the games section of thrift stores for titles like Monopoly, Risk, Clue, or Catan, as these have a broader audience and can be sold quickly. Remember to check for any missing pieces or damaged components before committing to reselling a board game.

Hobby Items: Collectible and niche hobby items can be profitable when reselling online. Be on the lookout for rare action figures, model kits, and trading cards, as collectors may be willing to pay a premium for these items. Art supplies, such as paint sets and high-quality brushes, are also popular among artists looking to save on their supplies. When inspecting hobby items, ensure they are in good condition and, if possible, include original packaging, as this can increase their resale value.

By keeping these categories in mind, you can make informed decisions about which sports and hobby items to resell from thrift stores. Take advantage of the discounted prices to create a profit, and enjoy the process of unearthing these hidden gems.

Final Thoughts on Thrift Store Flipping

Thrift store flipping can be both an enjoyable hobby and a profitable venture. By understanding the market and focusing on the right items, you can achieve a nice balance between customer satisfaction and generating profit. Remember, the key to success in this business is research and maintaining a clear, neutral, and knowledgeable approach.

Consistently sourcing high-quality items at low prices is crucial for any successful flipper. Keep an eye out for designer clothing, home decor, and other valuable finds at your local thrift stores. When reselling items, make sure to accurately describe their condition and highlight their unique features to attract potential buyers.

Make sure to keep track of your profits and learn from your experiences. Monitor customer reviews and feedback to continually improve your products and services. Use this information to refine your strategies and choose items that have high demand and a more substantial profit margin.

Finally, always prioritize customer satisfaction, as happy customers are more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your online shop to others. Building a strong reputation and providing excellent customer service will help you achieve long-term success in the world of thrift store flipping.

Remember to approach thrift store flipping with a confident and knowledgeable mindset, and you'll be well on your way to turning your flipping hobby into a lucrative business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Items Have High Resale Value From Thrift Stores?

Items with high resale value from thrift stores include designer clothing, vintage items, collectibles, and electronics. Look for quality brands, unique pieces, and items in good condition for the best chance of making a profit when reselling.

Which Clothing Brands Should I Look For To Resell?

When searching for clothing brands to resell, focus on designer and high-end brands. Some popular brands to look for include Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein. However, don't discount lesser-known brands if the quality and style are comparable to higher-end labels.

How Can I Find Valuable Items In A Thrift Store?

To find valuable items in a thrift store, you need to be patient and have a keen eye for detail. Start by visiting different thrift stores regularly to familiarize yourself with their stock. Pay close attention to quality, labels, and any identifying marks that could indicate value. Consider using your smartphone to research items on the spot to help you make informed decisions.

What Are Some Tips For Spotting Expensive Clothes?

To spot expensive clothes in a thrift store, look for high-quality materials such as silk, wool, or genuine leather. Check the stitching, hardware, and overall construction for signs of quality workmanship. Expensive clothes often have designer labels, but also be on the lookout for subtle branding or logos that may indicate a higher-end piece.

What Are The Most Profitable Items To Sell From Thrift Stores?

Some of the most profitable items to resell include designer clothes, collectible items, vintage furniture, and electronics. These items tend to have a higher perceived value and can often be sold for more than their thrift store price. Keep in mind, that the profitability of a specific item may also depend on its condition and rarity.

How Can I Be Successful In Thrift Store Reselling?

To succeed in thrift store reselling, you must be knowledgeable about the types of items that have resale value and where to find them. Develop a consistent sourcing schedule by visiting multiple thrift stores regularly, and be prepared to invest time and effort in listing, cleaning, and repairing items as needed. Finally, experiment with different selling platforms, such as eBay, Poshmark, or Facebook Marketplace, to determine which one works best for your inventory and target audience.

Chris Shaffer

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.