How to Make Money Thrifting

Two Parts:Finding the items in thrift storesSelling the items

Why not make a little money while browsing thrift stores. Below you'll find some tips on how and what to purchase that you can resell on your local Craigslist or other local selling site.

Part 1
Finding the items in thrift stores

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    Research what thrift stores are in your area. If you already enjoy thrifting, you'll know where to shop.
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    Spend some time on your local Craiglist and other local selling websites to see what's selling. You can also look on Etsy, eBay, and Amazon but your local sites will be the best indicator as to what prices are like. Decide what you'll be on the look out for and pick your specialty.
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    Hit the stores! Start shopping on a day when you're not rushed and have the time to browse.
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    Pick up different items and research the shape that your item is in before anything else. There's no use in getting your heart set on something only to discover that its about to break. When items are donated, they are generally checked for holes (in the case of clothes) or broken pieces (a wooden dresser) or it should be marked accordingly.
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    Do some on site research with your smart phone. For an example, this article uses finding a dresser. Are there any markings in the wood? Google the name. Do all the drawers move smoothly? To make an easy flip, the better shape its in, the less repair work you will have to do. What is the price? Are you able to make any money if you list it on your local Craigslist site? Consider the time you're going to put into it too - taking it home, storing it, possible meeting with potential buyers, delivery? Check for insect damage too; people won't buy furniture with borers inside.
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    Purchase the item. If you think you can make some money on it, buy it. Make sure you have the ability to get it home, such as a truck or SUV, if needed. If you need to pay to take it home, this decreases or even wipes out your profit margin.

Part 2
Selling the items

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    Take pictures of your item and always take more than one. What did you look at when you just bought it? You looked in the drawers to see if they were clean. You checked the top surface for scratches. Take pictures of the item in your home vs. the one you took in the thrift store.
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    Post the ad online. Make sure you post it in the correct category and that you have a catchy headline. Post measurements if needed and keep your description simple and to the point.
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    Be truthful when selling. If someone asks 'how long you've had something' there's no need to make up a story that your grandma has had the dresser for the last 30 years. There's no shame in buying and reselling from thrift stores and you'd be surprised how many people do it!


  • Become an expert in a category you're passionate about. There can be a lot of money in flipping furniture so learn some buzzwords and what to look for when thrifting. Learn how to tell the difference in real wood versus particle board. Learn what dovetail lined drawers are, and the difference between the types of woods.
  • Take a tape measure with you. In the case of buying furniture, you'll need to know what will be able to fit in your car and how much storage room you have at home.
  • Make the decision if you're going to invite people into your home to sell the item, or if you're going to meet them in a public place (like a mall parking lot) or deliver it directly to them.
  • Create a new email address to do your selling. No need to bog down your personal email address if reselling is going to before frequent. There's also the anonymity in selling so your personal email address isn't advertised to the world.


  • Be careful of scammers on the local selling sites. Sometimes they'll ask you to ship and item and they'll 'wire' the money to you at a later date. If it sounds fishy, it usually is.
  • Be safe when meeting up with someone to sell your items. Take a friend with you. Meet outside your home whenever possible. Take your phone with you. If you ever feel uncomfortable, walk away from the sale.

Article Info

Categories: Buying Wisely