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In 2019, there are plenty of ways to make extra money: lawn mowing, shoveling driveways, painting, consulting, tutoring, ride sharing, and the list goes on. Then there’s my personal favorite: finding items to flip to make money.
I learned this skill from my Grandpa long ago. We drove around to flea markets, garage sales, and stores in search of items to flip to make money. Grandpa was a pro, and he successfully flipped many items for crazy profits.
As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Grandpa knew that, and he was willing to comb through piles of junk in search of items with value or potential.
If you have a similar mentality and are willing to learn, there are many ways to find items to flip yourself and make hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month. You can do it in your spare time, after work, or even on the weekends.
In this post we’ll identify over 25 of the best items to flip, where to find them, and how to sell them to make money fast. We’ll also break down how you can find free or cheap items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, thrift stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army, and garage sales and sell them online using Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, and more.
Finally, if you want to learn how to flip and resell items and make it your full-time job, we’ve got you covered, too!
Yes, this isn’t just a side hustle you see on TV – real people are doing it right now in your area, and some of them make a full-time income doing it! Some even make over $100,000 per year – like my friends Robbie and Melissa (more on that in a moment!).
Ready to get started? Read on!
Free Online Workshop for Making Profit Flipping
This free workshop hosted by professional flippers can help you turn a passion for visiting garage sales and thrift stores into a profitable business. Learn the secrets that have propelled 500 students into profitable flipping over the last 3 years. Register for the workshop here.
Step One: Know What Items to Flip
The number one key to successfully flipping items for profit is knowing what items are valuable. To be successful, you need to know what items that will actually resell for a profit.
There are always exceptions to every trend, as most experienced flippers will tell you, but in general, the following items tend to carry good resale value:
Antiques of All Kinds
People love old items, and nostalgia has a funny way of affecting an item’s value (in a good way).
Tables and Chairs Made of Real Wood
You can find these at almost any thrift store or estate sale. They often need sanding and a new coat of finish to look brand-new, which is easy to do (and makes your profit margin high).
Lamps can be hit or miss, but many vintage lamp styles are currently in style.
I have seen many disgusting chairs get new life after a professional reupholstering. Older chairs with wooden legs were built to be reupholstered, not just thrown out when they experienced wear and tear. You can do it yourself or pay an upholsterer, which isn’t as expensive as it sounds.
Believe it or not, record players are still very popular. Check out this vintage record player for sale on Ebay, for example.
Many people are in the market for record players and jukeboxes which have been retrofitted with Bluetooth speakers. If you’re a competent DIY-er with a bit of creativity, you could make a big profit on this project.
Porcelain Sinks and Bathtubs
These are rare, and this job isn’t for the faint of heart, but reglazing clawfoot bathtubs can often be profitable. Here is a helpful guide.
Often old canvas paintings are worth very little, but once in a while you may find a good one!
Old Coffee Mugs
More people collect coffee mugs than you might think.
Vintage Small Kitchen Appliances and Tools
Old school meat grinders, butcher tools, mixers, and the like are incredibly popular, even if people just want to use them as decorations.
Vintage Pyrex and Tupperware Containers
These continue to be extremely popular, especially if they’re really old.
Vintage picture frames are highly-sought after items. They tend to stay in families for generations, but sometimes they pop up at estate sales and thrift stores.
Brand-Name Clothing (Especially With Price Tags Still Attached)
If you’re willing to spend the time looking through clearance racks and discount bins, this can be a huge money maker! Be sure to inspect clothing very carefully, as most sellers will not honor returns or refunds.
Sometimes it just needs a good power washing or resealing to look like new again.
Original Edition Board Games
You may be able to pick up an old Monopoly game for a few bucks and flip it on Ebay for $30 (see below).
Your old baseball card collection may not be worth what you thought it would be when you were a kid, but it definitely has value. Rare items, especially if autographed, will definitely be more profitable.
Lego nearly went out of business years ago, which would have made Lego sets even more valuable. But they’re still sought after today.
Light-Up Ceramic Decoration
My parents still have a light-up ceramic Christmas tree that my aunt made for them when I was young. They have become very rare finds.
Vintage Mason Jars
Concerns surrounding BPA and other chemicals have made Mason jars very popular.
Video Game Consoles (Atari, NES, SNES, etc.) and Game Cartridges
Many old-school video games are worth far more than the average person understands. If you are or were a gamer as a kid, this is your chance to put that knowledge to good use! You can often find games for as cheap as $1 and resell them for over $50 if you are smart. Read more here.
The older the better.
Items With “Made in the USA” Tags or Imprints
This could be just about anything: furniture, clothes, antique goods, etc.
You’ll be mostly limited to local reselling of globes, but it can still be quite profitable.
Records and Record Sleeves
People will need something to play on the old record players they buy, right?
Cameras and Camera Lenses
I’m not a photographer, but I have heard that many older SLR lenses work well on newer camera models. If you can pick them up at discounted rates, the profit margin potential is huge.
Other High End Items
If you’re looking for high end, expensive items to flip, you’ll need to have an even greater understanding of your profit margins. These kinds of flips tend to be high-risk, high-reward, but the profits can be extremely high. Here is a list of some of the most profitable high end items to flip:
- Power washing equipment
- Boats, jet skis, and other water crafts
- Vintage cars
- Antique arcade games
- High end custom furniture
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a great starting point for newer flippers. You can often resell many of the items without repairing or refurbishing them, while items in need of repair may not require too much effort or special skill.
Pro Tip: I recommend keeping a fully-charged mobile device with you when looking for items so you can quickly check their value online using Google, Ebay, or other sites. This will help you determine the approximate value of an item you are considering purchasing and also quickly calculate potential profit after any necessary expenses to repair or sell the item.
Step Two: How to Evaluate An Item’s Condition and Determine Your Profit Potential
When you’re looking for items to resell for a profit, knowing how to properly evaluate an item, gauge its condition, and determine just how much money you could make on it is critical.
Here are our best tried and true tips for making sure you can turn a profit on items before you buy them or pick them up for free:
Check Out What the Item Sells For Online
Before you buy or pick up any items to resell, conduct a few quick searches for similar items on Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
- When researching on Ebay, pay attention to the number of similar items currently for sale, how many days they have been listed, and the range of current prices. If items have been listed for a lengthy period of time without selling, that’s usually a red flag.
- Craigslist can be a bit tougher to navigate, but it’s another useful barometer for evaluating items before you buy them. It’s also one of the easiest ways to determine how well an item may sell in your local area.
- Facebook Marketplace is an underrated tool for both evaluating the profitability of an item and selling it quickly. Be aware that many people underprice items on Marketplace, so it’s a good idea to cross reference any prices that seem low with similar items on Ebay and Craigslist.
Carefully Evaluate an Item’s Condition, Age, and Size
One of the biggest indicators of an item’s value is its condition. Sure, most goods will have some wear and tear. But you’ll want to be especially vigilant to be sure that any defects, like marks, scratches, or tears are minor.
When it comes to clothing and items with fabric, you’ll want to avoid stains and smells, as they greatly reduce the resale value of items.
You’ll also need to check most goods for signs of age. When researching on Ebay, you may notice major price variances among similar items based solely on age difference.
Finally, it’s important to consider an item’s size before you buy, as you’ll likely need to ship it to a buyer eventually, especially if you sell it on Ebay.
Step Three: Where to Find Items to Flip
Once you know what items to flip for a profit, you can begin searching for new items to get started.
Finding Items to Flip Around Your House
Your own home is a great place to start, as you likely have many items sitting around in your basement, attic, or garage. If you’re in doubt about the value of a specific item, a quick Google or Ebay can usually give you a ballpark figure.
Garage Sales and Estate Sales
After searching your home, garage sales and estate sales are often the next place to start. If you focus on high-end neighborhoods and luxury communities in your area, you’ll likely find many items, especially furniture, in “like new” condition.
Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to flash cash when trying to get a good deal on items. Use “walk-away power” to your advantage to get the best deal possible. People used to chase me and my Grandpa down the street as we drove off to give him the deal he wanted after he ended negotiations!
Thrift Stores, Consignment Shops, and Discount Retailers
After checking your home and local garage sales, thrift stores like Salvation Army and Good Will, and even discount wholesalers like Big Lots are good places to turn.
Many of these stores may even run “discount day” promotions in your area, which can increase your profit margins significantly.
Step Four: Get Your Items Ready to Sell
Once you’ve hauled in a variety of items to resell, you’re almost ready to start making money.
However, there are a few simple things you can almost always do before you list your items to make sure you maximize the profit potential of each item you flip:
- Clean up dirty or dusty items. This only takes a few minutes, but it will make the photos you post on Ebay or Marketplace look much better.
- Make small repairs. For example, tighten loose screws, sew any small rips or tears in fabric, and polish glassware, ceramics, and brass items.
- Plan how you will ship your items. It’s never too early to consider how you’ll ship an item to a buyer once it’s sold. If you are forced to scramble to ship an item once it sells, you’ll most likely have shipping costs eat into your profit. In general, you’ll want to price check your options, especially when you’re just starting in resale.
Step Five: How to Resell Items Online for Profit
After you’ve purchased items and repaired/refurbished them (if necessary), it’s time to sell them. Thanks to the power of the internet, this task is much easier today than it was for my Grandpa many decades ago.
Here are a few pro tips to help:
Sell Items as Cheaply as Possible
No, I don’t mean price your items cheaply. Instead, you want to be sure that you’re selling items in a manner that doesn’t cost you money.
I recommend trying to sell your flipped items in the least expensive way possible to start. If you have many quality items ready to sell, have a garage sale or list them for free on Facebook Marketplace.
You could even list them for sale on your personal Facebook page. Just make sure to post well-lit pictures with good descriptions.
You can also find and join local garage sale and item swap Facebook groups in your area and request to join them. Many people try to use these groups to unload junk, so your quality finds will really stand out, especially if you take crystal clear pictures and provide vivid item descriptions.
Leverage the Power of Craigslist
If Facebook isn’t working, selling items on Craigslist is still a perfectly legitimate way to flip many items. Your exposure will definitely be higher than on Facebook groups, but the Craigslist interface is a bit old and clunky, in my opinion.
That said, Craigslist is still around for a reason. It works!
List Your Items on Ebay
Finally, Ebay is on obvious and easy option for selling your items. Even if you’re not already familiar with how to list items on Ebay, the process is a breeze.
Step Six: Items Not Selling? Checkout These Apps for Reselling Items Online
If you’ve tried the traditional routes (Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist) but your items aren’t selling, checkout some of the best apps for reselling items:
The Decluttr app is one of the best ways to sell unwanted items online, and it’s easy to use. Here is how it works:
- Start your own Decluttr account. It’s quick and free to sign-up.
- Get a free evaluation of items you want to sell.
- If you accept an offer on your item, you’ll receive a pre-paid shipping label to send off the item via UPS.
- When Decluttr receives your package, you’ll get paid via PayPal, check, or direct deposit.
The best part about Decluttr is you’re not selling items to individuals. Decluttr buys your items directly from you.
Like Craiglist (but in app form), OfferUp is a popular way to unload items you just can’t seem to sell for free.
In some areas, OfferUp is incredibly popular, so you’ll want to check out how many offers you see in your area before deciding if this app is worth your time.
You can learn more here.
LetGo is increasing in popularity in many areas as the go-to free app to buy and sell unwanted stuff.
Like Craiglist, you’re kind of on your own when it come to listing items, but it’s easy to use and effective.
Check out LetGo here.
Is Flipping Items and Reselling Them for Profit Ethical?
Some people may have personal and ethical reasons why they may not want to flip items for profits. I personally believe there are both honest and dishonest ways to find items to flip and make a profit. If you can resell items that provide value to others, help them save money, and also earn money for yourself at the same time, you’re helping people. What could be wrong with that?
On the other hand, if you’re ruthlessly out to put your local thrift stores out of business, it’s probably time to reevaluate your approach.
Ready to Start Making 4 Figures Every Month Flipping Items?
Whether you’re looking for an interesting money making hobby or hoping to earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month, finding items to flip for a profit is a great opportunity. It requires patience and a discerning eye for diamonds in the rough, but you can definitely make significant money if you build your business the right way.
How can you get started and become a flipping pro? You need Flea Market Flipper University.
What is Flea Market Flipper University?
What if I told you that one husband and wife team were able to earn $42,000 in 2015 and $133,000 in 2016 just by flipping flea market finds?
It’s true. My friends, Robbie and Melissa, did exactly that. And they’re still taking their craft to new heights.!
Would it change your life if you were even able to make a fraction of Robbie and Melissa’s earnings this year?
Flea Market Flipper University is hands down the best best resource available for anyone who wants to make flipping a major side hustle or even full-time job.
Robbie will walk you through the core of the business model, from finding items to sell, negotiating prices, setting up an Ebay account, avoiding scams, and scaling your business.
Here is just a sampling of what you’ll gain from the course
- Learn how to find the best items to flip and avoid items with poor resale value.
- Create appealing listings on Ebay, Facebook, Offer Up, and Craigslist and get items sold quickly.
- Learn how your smart phone can be your biggest weapon when flipping for profit.
- Ship items to maximize your profits every time.
- Make more money (potentially) than virtually any other side hustle around today.
Flea Market Flipper University is as real as it gets. Robbie and Melissa do this full-time, and they literally show you everything you need to do to start flipping yourself.
They’ve taught over 500 people how to do this in the last 3 years. They make a six-figure income in only 20-30 hours per week.
It’s the real deal.
You can learn more about Flea Market Flipper University here.
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- 21 Side Hustles for Busy People
- 4 Easy Ways to Make Money Online
- The 20 Best Survey Sites to Make $200+ Per Month
Financial Panther saysApril 5, 2017 at 9:10 AM
Great tips here. I’ve been going with flipping my trash finds. Best part is, it’s 100% profit and I save a perfectly good thing from ending up in a landfill.
In terms of platforms, Craigslist is where it’s at, but I also recommend throwing up stuff on OfferUp as well. Always good to get more eyes on your stuff.
Hero saysApril 6, 2017 at 4:55 PM
You are the master of flipping junk for profit, that’s for sure, FP!
Tommy saysMay 10, 2017 at 11:35 AM
Jukeboxes are a good option for a classic DIY project, even if you are using a small Bluetooth speaker, it’s that mixture of modern with classic that counts.
Melissa Stephenson saysNovember 7, 2017 at 7:19 PM
This is a great list! Some of our good flips are high end appliances, strollers and patio furniture.