Looking to earn extra money? Try thrift store flipping

Selling old personal belongings not only clears out some valuable space, but can also make you some extra side money.

And if you know which items are considered best-sellers, you stand to make even more money. But there's a process to this known as thrift store flipping that takes time and dedication.

Once you master it, though, you stand to increase the amount of disposable income in your wallet to help you pay off bills, deposit in a savings account, or put toward your summer vacation fund.

What is thrift store flipping?

From yard sales to thrift stores, these places have numerous items that might not look like much at first. But dig a little deeper, and you might come across some amazing gems. Once you find these items, which can be anything from clothes to kitchen supplies, you then resell them for a higher price than what you paid.

The best way to understand the appeal of thrift store flipping is to check online auction services to research what vintage items are being sold for. Retro video games, books, and plenty else can net you a decent profit.

rows of old record jackets
Reselling vinyl records can net you a decent profit.

Flipping tips

You'll need to do plenty of research beforehand so you know what to keep your eyes open for, as Money Crashers recommended [1]. You can either compile a list before heading to the store or look online while you're there in person if you come across something you might think is pretty valuable.

The next best tip to remember is to find the best thrift stores to visit because not all locations have the same number of quality items. A store in one part of town will likely have completely different items than a store located in a more affluent area. But even if it might cost more to live there, prices at the thrift store will still be relatively cheap.

Once you're back home with your thrifting haul, it's best to wash clothes and clean the items up before taking pictures and posting online to try and sell them.

Keep in mind that not all items you find at a thrift store will have good resale value. But having a general knowledge of what to look for can make the trip all that more exciting.


Anyone who has graduated college in recent years knows all too well the sometimes ridiculous price of textbooks. According to The College Board, the average student at a four-year public university spends approximately $1,300 per year on textbooks and other reading materials [2].

As such, there is a large market for used textbooks and novels that you can tap into if you can find the appropriate materials. The newer the books, the more likely you'll be able to find a buyer because it's not uncommon for budget-savvy students to rely on previous editions of a required book to help them throughout the semester.

Even boxed sets of a popular series can net you a profit, especially if the books are well-known. Some of the biggest young adult series from the past 15 years are actually quite popular among collectors.

"There is a large market for used textbooks and novels."

Old video games

Electronics usually lose their resale value faster than you might realize. The older computers and other devices get, the quicker they lose value.

But for classic video game systems and the accompanying games, old age has done wonders for their resale value. Systems such as the Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, and more are always hot items among video game enthusiasts.

For example, an online listing for a refurbished Game Boy Color, originally released in North America in 1998, along with a copy of the popular Pokémon game, is currently priced at about $105 [3]. Granted, the seller cleaned up the system and replaced some internals, but that work is worth the profit you'd receive.

With video game systems, you can increase the asking price by doing as much as you can to repair the system to ensure everything works. While you might have to spend some extra money doing so, collectors will greatly appreciate it.


In an age of digital music and unlimited music streaming, it may seem quite odd that vinyl records are actually staging a comeback, due in part to the growing popularity among millennial listeners, CNBC stated [4].

According to Forbes contributor Hugh McIntyre, 2015 marked the 10th straight year vinyl record sales have increased after they went up by nearly 30 percent [5]. And while some music lovers might not care that Taylor Swift had one of the best-selling vinyls, there's no denying this form of physical media remains popular.

Because of the popularity among younger listeners, you should try to snatch up any records you come across. Some will be worth more than others, but there will almost always be an interested buyer in anything you purchase at the thrift store. Record players are also worth putting on your list.

Make no mistake, thrift store flipping will in all likelihood not replace your full-time job. But it's a fun and rewarding way to find hidden gems and earn some side income by selling them to people who really want those items and will gladly pay for them. 

[1]. Thrift Store Flipping – 8 Best Items to Resell for a Profit

[2]. Quick Guide: College Costs

[3]. Gameboy Color System Clear Refurbished, with Pokemon Red New Battery

[4]. Why millennials are buying more vinyl records

[5]. Vinyl Sales Surged 30 Percent In 2015, Led By Adele And Taylor Swift

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