Even junkyards and flea markets can offer exciting finds for anyone willing to do the work.
With the right approach, thrift store flipping – the practice of purchasing items from a thrift shop or discount shop with the intent to resell them – can go from a hobby to an additional income stream. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores are not your traditional thrift stores but their offerings include new and used items, such as building supplies, appliances, furniture and other household items – all at discounted or extremely competitive prices. ReStore selections are vast and vary too, as donations arrive daily from throughout the Oklahoma City metro area.
Now, not every trip is going to yield a set of Baccarat crystal stemware, but learning more about thrift store flipping just might give you the incentive to look a little closer the next time you’re checking out the local store.
Here are some quick tips on how to ensure you turn a profit from your next thrifty find:
Always Check Online First:
Your smartphone is your best friend when flipping for a profit. Make sure you have a reliable connection when you’re out shopping, because the best way to ensure a profit is to perform a quick search on eBay before you buy an item. It acts as a pretty reliable measurement tool for an eventual selling price and can give you a baseline to work from.
Many thrift store treasure hunters hit up the shops multiple times a day. But even if you can’t pop in that frequently, don’t worry about what time you get there. ReStore shipments arrive daily so you never know when a treasure is going to hit the shelf.
Not sure if that classic wooden armoire is worth anything? Check for stamping somewhere on the piece, look up the stamp online, and see how that corresponds to resale value.
When someone is packing up boxes of old stuff to donate, chances are they’re going to hang on to family heirlooms like jewelry. But that’s less often the case when it comes to seemingly unglamorous sets of dishes and glassware. They’re breakable, need to be boxed up and require room to store, so they’re often given away without a second thought. And they can be worth a lot.
Furniture can be very expensive and often holds it’s value fairly well, especially high-end furniture. Any solid wood furniture will usually have a pretty high demand. Quality desks, all types of chairs, nice couches, bookshelves, dining tables, dressers, and armoires and mirrors can return a quick profit if bought at the right price. ReStore offers a free donation pickup service and will send a truck to pick up bulky items like furniture, which means when someone’s downsizing to smaller place, calling in that pickup can be a tempting alternative than dealing with hiring movers or putting stuff in storage. Thus, high-end pieces of furniture worth hundreds or even thousands can wind up at your local ReStore with price tags of $200 or less.
Power tools are great because of their regular demand from both professional contractors and the average weekend warriors. Sometimes contractors change professions or businesses may just need to make room for new equipment so they donate their excess supply. Whatever the reason, ReStore regularly receives a variety of power tools that they make available for sale. Buy them for a remodel project, and sell them for a profit after you’re done!
ReStore stocks lawnmowers, weed eaters, leaf blowers, chainsaws, chippers and shredders, power washers and generators. These items can be especially lucrative if you learn how to repair and clean small engines. And use the seasons to your advantage – buy in the winter and sell in the spring.
Where to Sell:
The obvious choice for reselling items is through an online auction site such as eBay. It gives you access to a massive customer base and simplifies the selling process with online tools and a great mobile app. If you have antique goods, you can also try selling them on Etsy.
If the idea of shipping an item simply isn’t feasible, local sales work best. You could advertise a piece on Craigslist, or have a yard sale. If you resell often, you may want to look into local flea markets and farmers markets, where you can rent a cheap booth and sell your treasures. The crowds are already there and shoppers are usually looking for original antique pieces and fun knick-knacks.
Ultimately, the amount you make boils down to your research. By confirming that an item is actually worth more than the thrift store price and that you can easily sell it at its higher value, you have a pretty good chance at scoring a profit.