Reselling Thrift Store Finds. Is it Worth it?

I’ve recently become interested in starting a side hustle reselling suuuuper cheap thrift store items for decent – but profitable – prices. Think about it: You can purchase something from Goodwill for a dollar. Even if that thing isn’t worth just a whole lot, if you resell it for $10, that’s a comparatively large profit margin! There are a surprising amount of people out there who make good money doing just this. In fact, some of them make reselling online their full time job and are six-figure earners. Now, I don’t have any plans to do anything remotely that involved since I have a full time job already, as well as a 9 month old, but a little extra income always helps.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

What I do plan on doing is sourcing a few items from my local thrift stores about once a week, and reselling them on either eBay or Poshmark. Vintage or quirky knick knacks, figurines, glasswear, pottery, etc. will go in my eBay store, and (clean) clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories will go in my Poshmark store (called a “closet”). There are differences between the two selling platforms that are important to consider. When selling on eBay, you pay about a 10% fee, plus the 3% PayPal fee. Poshmark takes a 20% fee, unless the cost of the item is less than $15, in which case they take a flat $2.95. Seem like a lot? It is, but the main advantage Poshmark has over eBay is the buyer pays shipping on Poshmark, a flat $6.79 for USPS Priority Mail. The buyer can pay shipping for eBay purchases as well, but the seller must arrange all the details and pay for the shipping up front before being reimbursed. Poshmark’s shipping policies take all the guesswork out of it for you. That being said, the seller can offer free shipping on items listed on eBay, which tends to attract a lot of traffic. The seller will have to pay for shipping somehow, which will likely need to be built into the price of the item, but how many of us have purchased something online just for the “free shipping”?

I’ve been to a couple of local thrift stores already, but I’ve been so overwhelmed that I left with either nothing or almost nothing. The Goodwill near me has decent inventory, but I am not quite learned enough in the finer things in life to know if what I’m looking at is something nice or just junk. I didn’t even go to the clothes section, as I was not initially considering reselling clothing, but next time I go I figure I’ll spend the majority of my time there. Today I went to a local thrift store called Hangers of Hope where I had clothing in mind. The prices surprised me! I could have gone to an upscale resale store and bought pieces for the same price these donated pieces were going for. Disappointed, I looked around at the housewares instead, but quickly realized I had no idea what I was looking at. That, and I had a baby who was starting to get fussy. I left empty handed, but I am NOT going to let that deter me!

So there you have it. I’m going to actually try a thing. I’m hoping I can get some good deals here pretty soon so I can start listing more. For now, my items are things already from my actual closet I was going to be reselling anyways. I have an embarrassingly small inventory, and I may be pricing things entirely too high, but this is a learning experience! Hopefully I’ll have some luck though, and I can check back and share my experiences with you. Check out Poshmark and eBay and see if you can make reselling work for you, too!

One year update:

Wow what positivity I had in the beginning! I still stand by my observation that some people can be resellers full time and make a decent living. Those people are creative, motivated, and have the necessary time to fulfill the demands of running such a business. I learned a lot in my reselling journey, but have landed on this: I do not have enough time. To be successful, you must have the time to go sourcing and you must be able to keep up with the sticker reductions and sales going on in your area. Then, you have to find time to photograph and list your items. Then, if you’re on Poshmark, you have to take the time to “share” your closet multiple times a day so that your items get displayed at the top of searches. All of this is a lot of time when added together, which is just something I don’t have in this season of my life.

Also, many many items would sit on Poshmark or Ebay for an annoyingly long amount of time. And I noticed that as time passed, I would be willing to take less and less per item just to get rid of it. You must be willing to wait for the perfect buyer to purchase your item at the right price in order to be successful, and I am just too impatient for that.

Oh well! You live and learn, and I sure did enjoy myself for a while there and learned A LOT. If you’re still interested in reseller, I highly suggest you just do your homework and work on your patience. It can be done, and I can see how people absolutely love doing this full time!