Could You Make a Decent Side Income by Reselling Used Goods?

by Ashley Eneriz · 3 comments

I never intended to make a side income from reselling used items. About three years ago, I stumbled upon YardSaleMommy.com (the site is up but hasn’t been updated since 2012). The lady behind this blog bought kid’s items at garage sales, used them, and then sold them for a profit. I didn’t have any children of my own, but I wanted to try it out, too.

The first item I resold was a baby play mat. I made a $9 profit on it, and I was on top of the moon. Afterwards, I had mild success with reselling garage sale and thrift store finds, but it wasn’t until I became pregnant that I did really well.

You see: buying and selling kid’s items when you don’t have any kids can be a hit or miss business. Once I became pregnant, however, I was much more aware of what would sell well. I also had more luck in scoring great deals when I was hugely pregnant.

My best find yet was a baby Burberry outfit for $1.99 at a thrift store. It was in perfect condition, and it sold within a day on Ebay for $75. I haven’t stumbled across any more designer baby items like that, but I have had luck flipping kid’s items for $15-30.

Here are some of my highest profit sales:

  • Radio Flyer wagon  – $25 profit
  • Kid roller coaster – $21 profit
  • Bugaboo stroller  – $150 profit (This was my husband’s find and sell, so I can’t take the credit)
  • Hardy Boys series – $30 profit
  • Set of Disney dresses – $40 profit

All of these sales took less than an hour to clean, list, and meet the buyer. Now that I have a toddler, thrifting has an added benefit: I use a lot of the stuff I buy. It’s nice to get a whole wardrobe for less than $20 and toys for 50-75% off their in-store price.

So not only do I save money by buying used items for personal use, but then I get all of my money back or make a profit once I’m done with the item and resell it.

How to Get Started Reselling

  • Find your niche: It helps to sell items you are knowledgeable or passionate about. I could never resell electronics because that’s not my field of expertise.
  • Know where to shop: I find most of my good items at charity or school sales. If you want to resell clothing, then go during a time that’s half-off, and be the first one there. Try to buy things in bulk to get a better discount.
  • Know where to sell: If it’s small and valuable, it belongs on Ebay. For the heavier items, sell on Facebook Groups or Craigslist. I’ve also had a lot of success selling at children’s consignment sales. Though it seems obvious, many people still ignore this tip: clean items with good pictures always sell better.
  • Give yourself grace: When you first get into buying and reselling items, you may end up with some duds. I’ve had several, but I learn from my mistakes and move on. Anything that doesn’t sell well ends up in a yard sale for a low price.
  • Calculate your cost per hour: Whenever I sell items, I try to evaluate my cost per hour, and I stay away from items that won’t earn me much. It’s not fun to make $5 for an hour worth of work, but it’s awesome making $25 for 30 minutes of work.

Good luck selling! If you’re already a thrifter and reseller, we’d love to hear about your BEST find. 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Good suggestions and I hope motivational enough for me to try to get into this a bit. I have always figured that the profit just wasn’t enough compared to my other activities, but I have recently found another motivation.

    A lot of folks are facing hard times and unless there is a huge change in our world conditions are not going to get much better anytime soon. It seems to me that re-selling our old things (many are in fine shape) is one way to help others out as well as giving us some return for our efforts.

    What I need now are some good tips on how to go about getting started in a way that works. Personally we have never had great luck with yard sales except for very low priced items. From your comments it sounds like eBay and Craigslist may be the best way to go.

    • David Ning says:

      Try eBay if you like taking pictures and writing good descriptions.
      Otherwise, Craigslist is good but you will have to be good at negotiations.

      Both can work though.

      And if you start thinking that selling is tiring, it may prompt you to buy less on the future!

    • Ashley Eneriz says:

      Hey James,

      I hope to write more on this subject this month. Just to clarify, I don’t resell items for a profit at yard sales. Like you said, yard sales are for getting rid of unwanted items not making a huge profit. I instead get a lot of the stuff I resell at yard sales. For example, I found a kid’s roller coaster for $9 at a garage sale, allowed my two-year old to play with it for a week, then listed it on a local Facebook selling site for $30 (which was too low, guessing by how many responses I received). Hope that helps 🙂 Good luck!

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