- Jun 13, 2018
I love digging through thrift store bins. There’s a special thrill when you find something valuable that many other people have passed up. Buying stuff online just can’t compare to that thrill. Mainly because in thrift stores, you never know what you’re gonna get. You walk in on the day new shipments drop hoping to get something good. Most days, I end up empty-handed. But the days I do find something good are pretty memorable to me.
As a shopaholic, I sometimes end up buying stuff I don’t really want or need. If it’s rare or desirable I usually snap it up. I justify this by trying to flip what I can online. It’s actually pretty fun. I spend a few enjoyable hours digging through the bins and clothing racks, and then sell my finds online at a tidy profit!
I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and have developed a keen sense for spotting items that will sell. Here’s a list of the things I usually look for. The next time you go thrift store shopping, keep an eye out for these items - you just might be able to sell them at a profit!
1. Vintage audio gear
Vinyl has made a pretty surprising resurgence recently. (Ironically, CDs are kind of losing ground these days) People are rediscovering their love for analog audio. Records don’t play themselves; these people are also willing to spend money on vintage audio equipment.
I usually look out for gear I can resell, specifically turntables. If you find an old Technics turntable (especially the SL-1200 model) snap it up; those things command a high price among audiophiles.
2. Vintage Photography Equipment
While film photography hasn’t made as big a comeback as vinyl records, there’s still a large market for old-school camera equipment. Buyers of these items are usually experts and connoisseurs – casual photography buffs usually go for more modern gear.
You should also buy boxes of film, even if they’re expired. Many film photographers actually appreciate the character of expired film. The strange coloring gives the images character. If you can get film for cheap, don’t pass it up!
3. Designer clothing
No surprises here. Lots of people go to thrift stores looking for designer items. I once lucked out and nabbed a Kate Spade handbag. I kept the bag for myself, but I’ve sold other thrift store finds for much more than what I paid for them.
Legos are, by far, the easiest toys to flip. Demand for Lego is so high, they were even deemed a better investment than gold! Sealed boxes sell better, of course. But even open packages with missing parts get snapped-up quickly. That’s because builders need a large pool of parts for their custom creations.
The last item on my list is not as sexy as the previous items, but it’s also a great seller. There will always be a demand for textbooks. Granted, textbooks do become obsolete, which is why you should only buy textbooks released in recent years.
Here’s another tip: avoid IT textbooks. Technology advances at such a fast rate, that by the time an IT textbook hits the thrift store bins, the contents of the book is most likely outdated already. And speaking of what to avoid…
Three Items to Avoid
Now, for the flipside. These three groups of items may look enticing at first glance, but they’re usually busts.
1. Star Wars Toys
For starters, Star Wars toys are usually overpriced, even in thrift stores. It seems like every shop thinks all old Star Wars toys are collectible. The truth is they’re not. The ones that fetch top-dollar in the collectible market are toys that are still in their original packaging. If you luck out and find one, get it. Otherwise, pass.
2. Beanie Babies
The 1990s was a crazy decade full of flash in the pan collectibles. Probably the most notorious of those items were Beanie Babies. These things sold for top dollar back in the day. But they over-produced these things, saturating the market. Avoid these at all costs!
Comics suffer the same fate as Star Wars toys; everyone thinks they have a rare item on hand. But only a relatively few comics command top-dollar. Most of these feature the first appearance of a notable character. If you can’t leave a pile of comics uninspected, go ahead and check their value online. But they’re mostly likely going to be chaff.
Reselling thrift store finds is a legit way to make a profit! You need to have a discerning eye to know what you can resell online, but keep at it for a bit, and you’ll be nabbing and selling stuff like a pro!
This post is based on my experiences reselling stuff I’ve found in thrift stores. Now it’s your turn to share!
Let’s hear about your all-time greatest thrift store finds!