Your 2024 Guide: How to Start a Thrift Resell Side Hustle

by Yvette in Comment — Updated May 15, 2024

The idea of starting a thrift resell side hustle has emerged as a great choice for those seeking a low-risk & high-reward venture.

But first, what exactly is a thrift resell side hustle, and why should you consider diving into this potentially profitable market in 2024?

So, a thrift resell side hustle involves transforming unwanted items into a profitable business.

From vintage clothing and designer items to old books and electronics, resellers create a unique inventory sourced from garage sales, flea markets, and online platforms.

You guessed it – this is a side hustle – or, in a more formal way – a flexible and scalable model that allows you to dip your toes into entrepreneurship while managing other commitments.

Another thing I’d like to add before I kick off this guide is that with the rise of online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and the ease of setting up your own e-commerce business, the barriers to entry are lower than ever.

Why not start now? Let’s explain everything better!

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Key Takeaway

  • Thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, garage sales, flea markets, online marketplaces, and storage units are great places to source inventory to resell at a profit. Look for items in excellent condition, collectibles, valuables found for a low price, and products in high-demand categories.
  • To sell items online, take high-quality photos, write detailed and accurate descriptions, and price items competitively after researching similar listings. Good platforms to sell on include eBay, Amazon, Poshmark, and more.
  • Provide excellent customer service by responding promptly, clearly communicating policies, resolving issues quickly, and focusing on buyer relationships.
  • Maximize profits by keeping costs low, seeking out items with high resale value, using affordable packaging, pricing intelligently, and staying compliant with sales tax laws.

Finding Inventory to Resell

Creating an online business for selling clothes.

I don’t want to take up too much of your precious time, especially if you’re in a hurry to sell your stuff online and earn some extra money (maybe even start a LuLaRoe business), so let’s get into it.

Besides knowing how to price vintage, it’s important to know the best places to find inventory to resell.

Thrift Stores

Definitely, the first thing that comes to my mind (and yours surely) are the thrift stores.

Thrift stores are the cornerstone of any successful reselling venture – trust me.

The sheer diversity of items – from vintage clothing to collectibles – provides plenty of opportunities for resellers.

Also, when perusing through thrift stores, keep a keen eye on the condition of items – it’s kinda important.

Well, not kinda, but 80% of the importance carries the condition where you find the item for reselling on the rack. Nobody’s going to be satisfied with something that needs additional attention.

Would you?

Here’s a pro tip: Look for signs of wear and tear, potential damage, or any imperfections that might affect the selling price.

Yard Sales

In our last article, we covered garage and yard sales – with a good reason – and now we come to this.

So, yard sales are not just about catching a good deal; they’re a goldmine for resellers, too – lucky for you.

Here, authenticity often meets affordability.

You should build a convo with sellers to gain insights into the history or significance of items, adding a layer of storytelling to your reselling strategy.

Yet again, estimating the condition of items at yard sales is crucial, so don’t shy away from inspecting thoroughly.

The point is to open all four when looking for clothes for your reselling business!

Estate Sales

Selling items online on online marketplace such as Facebook

Estate sales provide a unique opportunity to acquire high-quality items, often with a rich history – which is a plus for those looking for items with some added value.

From furniture to vintage clothes, these sales can offer a diverse inventory.

Garage Sales

This type of sales are not just about clearing out your space; they’re a chance to discover local gems with character or sell yours. Many people sell their precious belongings during garage sale season to hunt for extra cash.

An important tip here is to consider negotiating prices based on the condition of items. Also, a friendly approach can often lead to better deals and establish connections for future sourcing – trust me.

Flea Markets

You already know that Flea markets are a haven for resellers seeking eclectic items. There’s basically anything and everything you can find there. Just name it; a flea market probably has it somewhere tucked away.

Here, as you might have guessed, diversity reigns supreme.

Try to engage with vendors to understand the stories behind the items, providing you with unique selling points.

Ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge of current market trends to make informed decisions about what to pick up and what to leave behind.

Online Marketplaces

Photo of a woman who wants to start a reselling business

There’s no steering away from online shopping. Some of us are addicted to “add to cart,” and there’s no denying it.

To the consumer’s luck, online marketplaces offer many opportunities.

Platforms like eBay, Poshmark, and Craigslist provide access to a global market (we will discuss how to find the best online resale business later in this article).

Facebook, in particular, stands out for its local focus.

Basically, it allows you to connect with potential buyers in your community. When sourcing from online platforms, pay attention to shipping costs, ensuring they don’t eat into your profit margins.

Storage Units

Although it might seem like an outdated source of shopping for items for many resellers, it’s an extremely profitable venture.

What are storage units, by the way, and why do people use them?

Well, storage unit auctions provide a unique and adventurous sourcing option. However, it’s essential to approach these auctions with caution.

While you might stumble upon hidden treasures, there’s also the risk of acquiring items with unknown histories or damage.

Always factor in the potential costs of clearing out a unit and be prepared to move quickly.

What Do You Look for When You Want to Start a Reselling Business?

A couple reselling items online.

You should definitely keep an eye out for collectibles that stand the test of time and hold significant value. But, on the other hand, there are way more things that can bring great profit.

So, here are some categories to focus on:


Trading Cards: Believe it or not, from classic sports cards to niche collectibles, trading cards can fetch impressive prices in the resale market.

Sports Memorabilia: Autographed memorabilia or vintage sports items often attract passionate buyers and bring big bags of cash.

Vintage Clothes: Brands with a timeless appeal, like Levi’s or vintage band tees, are sought after by fashion enthusiasts.

Beanie Babies: Once again, believe it or not, certain rare Beanie Babies can still command a high resale value.

Valuable Items Found for a Low Price

Highly profitable resale items.

One of the highest and most exciting thrills of thrift reselling is discovering valuable items at a bargain. Here’s where your keen eye and knowledge come into play:

Items in Great or Excellent Condition

Take notes on this one!

Good Condition means the item shows minimal signs of wear. A well-maintained product can justify a higher price.

Excellent Condition means the item is in pristine condition, like new or with original packaging. It’s a gem for discerning buyers.

High Demand Categories

Basically, understanding high-demand categories is key to staying ahead in the reselling game. Here are some categories that are always in trend:

Video Games: Classic and rare video games often have a dedicated fan base.

Look for limited editions or vintage titles. Also, imagine how many gamers will be known in 2024. You have an enormous target group of customers who can fight each other to get to the video game they want.

Cell Phones: Stay updated on the latest models and keep an eye out for well-maintained, unlocked phones.

Musical Instruments: Quality instruments from reputable brands can fetch a premium – believe me. But don’t forget to ensure they are in good working condition.

What Could Go Wrong?

Ah, the ultimate question: What could go wrong with my reselling business?

Playing devil’s advocate is crucial in the excitement of finding valuable items. How? Well, consider potential challenges like hidden defects, authenticity concerns, or oversaturated markets.

Here’s a tip that you should write somewhere in big, bold letters:

Always factor in shipping costs and possible repairs, ensuring your profit margins remain intact.

Reselling on Online Platforms

The online marketplaces, as we know it, offer unparalleled opportunities for aspiring thrift resellers like you and me.

This section will be your best friend for reviewing the list of items for sale and setting competitive prices that ensure success in your thrift resell side hustle.

How to list items? Where to start? Ah, the daunting question!

No worries, I’m here with the answers to all your troubles.

List Items for Sale

A woman reselling items in her online store to make money

Here are the three essential tips on how to list items for making money online.

Take High-Quality Photos

People always say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in online reselling, it can also be worth a thousand sales.

When presenting your items to potential buyers, the importance of high-quality photos cannot be overstated!

Here is everything you need to know about high-quality photos:

  • Capture clear, well-lit images that showcase the item from various angles.
  • Highlight any unique features, defects, or distinguishing marks to provide a comprehensive view.
  • Ensure the photos accurately represent the color and condition of the item.

For a professional presentation:

  • Invest in a decent camera or phone with a high-quality camera for crisp images.
  • Use neutral backgrounds to avoid distractions, allowing the item to be the focal point.
  • Consider using a tripod to steady your shots and eliminate blurriness.

Write Detailed Descriptions

Creating business model and customer loyalty program for an extra income

While images grab attention, the detailed descriptions seal the deal. A compelling narrative entices potential buyers to envision the item in their lives.

Here are some tricks and tips:

  • Begin with the item’s history or provenance. So, start from the very beginning.
  • Be transparent about any wear, tear, or imperfections. Don’t lie, don’t deceive.
  • Use language that resonates with your target market. Well, don’t use excessively complex and complicated terminology.

Also, accuracy is key when we talk about descriptions. Here’s what you should do:

  • Provide accurate measurements and specifications to manage buyer expectations. Details are important.
  • Clearly state the item’s condition, whether new, gently used, or vintage. As mentioned, a lie is not an option.
  • Update listings promptly to reflect the availability status of each item.

Set a Competitive Price

Determining the right selling price requires balancing maximizing profits and offering a compelling deal. Here’s how you can navigate this pricing game:

Research and Reflect:

  • Conduct market research to understand the going rates for similar items. You can find similar items online in just a few seconds.
  • Consider the unique attributes of your item, such as brand, condition, or rarity. Is your item from the 18th century? The value can also be 18 times more.

Appealing Price Points:

  • Entice buyers with competitive prices, positioning your items as attractive deals. Get that great “SALE” sign.
  • Leverage psychological pricing strategies, such as pricing just below a rounded figure. This one is, in most cases, a deal-breaker.
  • Try to offer occasional discounts or bundled deals to encourage multiple purchases.

Best Places to Sell Online

Ebay - one of the best business model for selling online

If you plan on becoming a profitable reseller business on the famous online marketplace, there’s a high likelihood that the site you’re dressing your items on will collect sales tax.

Now, with that in mind, let’s get into the sites:

  • eBay
  • Amazon (Amazon reseller)
  • Etsy
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Craigslist
  • Poshmark for clothing
  • Mercari

How to Grow Your Reselling Business

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First, I want to congratulate you on taking the first steps into thrift reselling – looking for information in articles like this.

That’s the first step if you want to enter a reselling business!

In this section, I’ll explore the essence of providing excellent customer service sales through retail arbitrage, private labeling of your products, and adhering to best practices.

Back to work!

Provide Excellent Customer Service

In the reselling business, customer service isn’t just a box to tick; it’s the cornerstone of your success. Your buyers aren’t just transactions; they’re potential long-term relationships, right?

But I will not leave you empty hands. Here are some hot and juicy tips on how to provide customer service at some level:

  • Responsive Communication: Respond promptly to inquiries, messages, and feedback.
  • Transparent Policies: Communicate about your return, shipping, payment policies, and the options you want to provide your customers. Transparency is the key!
  • Resolution Excellence: You MUST handle issues or disputes professionally and promptly. Turning a problem into an opportunity showcases your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Scale Sales with Retail Arbitrage

As your reselling venture gains momentum, consider scaling your sales through retail arbitrage. This involves sourcing products from retail stores at a lower price and selling them for a profit.

Don’t forget to explore clearance sales, discounts, and promotions to maximize your profit margin.

Elevate Your Brand

Venturing into private labeling allows you to establish your brand identity and elevate your business.

So, you should create a unique brand that sets your products apart. Also, focus on quality, design, and packaging to build brand recognition.

Follow Best Practices

Sustainable growth requires adherence to best practices, right?

So, keep meticulous records of your inventory, sales, and expenses. Also, regularly review your financial reports to identify areas for improvement.

And don’t forget to stay informed about market trends, pricing strategies, and emerging niches.

Create a Network

Networking isn’t just for corporate giants; it’s a valuable asset in the reselling world, too.

Here’s how to build alliances and strengthen your position within the community:

Online Platforms: Go and join reselling groups on social media platforms to exchange insights and tips. Don’t just stand there – Participate in discussions, share your experiences, and seek advice when needed.

Local Events: Attend local flea markets, swap meets, or resell meet-ups to connect with fellow resellers. My last tip for this chapter is to stay agile, be open to change, and continuously refine your business strategy.

You should monitor trends and customer preferences and adjust your approach accordingly.

Your reselling journey is not just about making extra cash; it’s about building a sustainable and fulfilling side hustle.

Maximize Profits

A garage sale full of people.

Keeping costs low is the key to profitability!

Every penny saved contributes to your bottom line in the reselling heavens, right?

First, explore various sourcing options, from yard sales to thrift stores and online marketplaces. Also, seek out items with high resale potential but low acquisition costs.

How do I pack my items and save up?

Basically, invest in cost-effective packaging materials without compromising item safety. Also, consider eco-friendly options that align with current market trends.

Another profit key is increasing the profit margin on items!

Understanding how to price your items appropriately is crucial to boosting your profit margin.

So, don’t forget to factor in your acquisition costs, shipping expenses, and desired profit margin when setting prices.

Knowing that you must pay sales tax and its laws guarantees you stay compliant!

First, navigating the labyrinth of state sales tax laws is a crucial aspect of reselling. Failing to comply can result in financial headaches – been there, done that.

How to learn?

Well, research the sales tax laws and keep abreast of updates and changes in tax regulations to ensure ongoing compliance.

The Final Verdict on Selling Items Online

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To conclude this comprehensive yet very informative guide, it’s time to recap the key insights that can pave the way for your success in the reselling world.

Whether you’re aiming to pay off bills, save for a special goal, or simply enjoy more financial freedom, reselling is a great way – but we’ve established that so far, am I right?

So, from established online marketplaces to niche platforms catering to specific audiences, casting a wide net ensures your products reach potential buyers far and wide.

Oh, and don’t forget – one of the most remarkable aspects of reselling is its accessibility!

The most important thing you should know is that success in reselling is not an overnight feat.

It’s a journey that requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to continuous improvement!

Good luck, resellers!

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