If you’re looking to increase your cash inflow but you enjoy shopping a little too much, we might just have the perfect solution for you: flipping thrift items.
We appreciate that flea markets and charity shops are not exactly as glamorous as London’s Oxford Street, yet the shopping experience can be even more rewarding when you find the perfect pieces. All it takes is an eye for good brands a little entrepreneurial flair and you can make some great profit on the resell value of each item.
- Before You Start
- Collectable Items
- Designer Brands
- Sports Equipment
- Old Tech
- How to Flip Thrift Items
- More Ways to Make Money
Before you start buying thrift products there are a few things you should consider. Firstly, check on websites like eBay to see for what value a similar item sells in that condition. This way you can decide whether it’s worthwhile buying it in the first place.
Secondly, check for irremovable marks or sensitive materials that require dry cleaning; this will only use up more of your profits. Finally, work out any additional expenses of that product including shipping fees and what platforms to use for reselling it.
One of the most difficult parts of flipping thrift items is finding the right items that have a strong demand. To help you out with this, we’ve created a short list with some of the most profitable thrift pieces:
Be it an old branded toy that is no longer manufactured or a limited-edition comic book, there will always be a market for collectible items.
In some cases, passionate collectors are willing to pay large amounts of money for a special item. Other collectables to look out for include rare vinyl records, like Beatle’s 1968 White Album or vintage board games. It doesn’t have to be very old, either – think of limited edition themed Monopoly games, for example. The rarer an item is, the more valuable. As long as you do your homework on some of these categories, you might be able to make some big bucks
Although not always an easy find, designer items are most likely to sell quickly and for good profits, particularly if found in pristine conditions.
When it comes to aspirational lifestyles, there is a huge demand for pre-owned items that show a certain status or belonging to a group. So, if you find any type of designer bag or attire that has a decent condition or can be improved, it will most likely be worth purchasing.
High-end designer bags such as Chanel, Hermes or Dior might be difficult to find, but be on the lookout also for mid-range designer items, such as Kate Spade or Kurt Geiger.
When it comes to books, other than the collectable first editions, there are two main types that it’s worth keeping an eye out for – popular book sets and university textbooks. The Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Lord of the Rings book sets sell on eBay for around £50 depending on the condition. Also try to find a bargain price on one of the classic and timeless book sets, like Little House on the Prairie, they can be a great investment.
Although most university textbooks update their editions each year, most changes are only minor, while the structure and main content stay the same. While lecturers use the latest editions, they often encourage students to buy the older versions due to their smaller prices and almost identical content. However, even second-hand textbooks can sell for £30 a piece depending on the edition.
When people take up a sport, it oftens feel like breaking the bank. Most professional sports equipment is quite expensive. For example, a new pair of Latin dance shoes for women sells for over £100 in stores!
As long as the item is in good condition and can be re-used, you may find a lot of eager buyers for pre-loved sports equipment. You can even sell it in sets – a football, trainers, and uniform for example – ideal for new sports enthusiasts. These can be great items to sell, just make sure that the shoes and clothes don’t have unpleasant smells that cannot be removed from a wash.
Many charity shops sell cooking equipment. Have a good rummage and do your research – you’ll find things like iron pans, Pyrex, or even a rare vintage pottery find will fetch a pretty penny!
Cast iron cookware, for example, can be bought from thrift shops for a fiver and sold on websites like eBay for £20-£30. Vintage retro designs are increasingly popular, too – and often end up in charity shop piles.
Another category that might have not crossed your mind is old tech equipment – old laptops, iPads, iPods, old play station consoles, etc.
You’ve got two choices here: buy broken items and break them up, to sell for the different components. Or, you can repair them yourself and sell as a complete product. It all depends on your skill level and time availability.
Start by looking around the house! We all have old phones or broken tech we’ve stashed in a drawer somewhere. Make sure you wipe any hard drives and put things back to factory settings before selling.
Vintage games consoles
Look for vintage computers and games consoles, too. You’ll be surprised how much these can fetch! A pristine, working-order Nintendo 64 could easily fetch you upwards of £50, more if you have games, too. Other tech, like Super 8 camcorders, can also be picked up for next to nothing and sold to collectors for a LOT.
Some of the furniture from thrift shops are made out of high-quality materials and some can even be classed as vintage pieces. With those items, you can just try to resell them as they are because there are a lot of people that refuse to pay large amounts of money for new furniture.
For more basic furniture pieces, if you are a creative individual and enjoy DIY projects, you can get inspiration from platforms like Pinterest and redesign the entire piece. That new and unique item can be the exact missing element for someone’s room, and they might be willing to pay hundreds for it!
When you’ve decided what you want to flip, it’s time to get started! Trawl your local charity shops – and online shops like Oxfam – to find bargains. Sometimes, you’ll need to go back to the same shop a few times before you find a gem.
Visit car boot sales, antiques fairs, and flea markets, too. Here, you can haggle on the price even more so be ready to go in on a low offer and negotiate to an agreed price. Never feel swayed to pay more than you think something is worth – be ready to walk away!
Prepare your item for sale
Clean the item up – you might need to make minor repairs, too. Take great photos: use natural light wherever possible, or for smaller items set up your own light box. The difference between a good and an average photo is reflected in the final price you get!
Some items, like furniture or clothes, need more than a basic clean up. However, this is where the real profits can be made! Turn something into another – such as an old and broken chest of drawers into a garden planter, or a large old shirt into a dress. This increases the appeal and means you can charge a lot more for it, too.
Set clear terms
Whether you’re selling on eBay, local Facebook groups, the NextDoor app, or Gumtree, set out the condition of the item very clearly. Be honest! You’ll come across ‘tyre kickers’ who want to view a product then try to knock the price down. Don’t let them waste your time: lay out the condition of the item and the terms of the sale (such as ‘buyer must collect’) in the product description.
Promote your items
When you’ve got a few items to sell, consider creating a brand for yourself. This will help you market your items across social media channels and online. You can even create your own website using something like Wix or WordPress if you want to turn this hobby into a full-time career!
Register with HMRC
If you’re making consistent profit from flipping thrift items, this counts as a business. Anyone earning over £1,000 a year from hobbies like this must register as self-employed with HMRC and file a Self Assessment tax return by January 31st every year.
Flipping thrift items is just one way to make money in your spare time. Check out these articles next for more ideas!