One side hustle that can be very profitable is retail arbitrage, the act of buying items to resell. But how do you know what to look for at garage sales and other places?
What are the most profitable items you can buy and resell? The items listed below are among the best things to resell for a profit.
Read on to learn the specifics of what you should look for when you’re working to make money with retail arbitrage.
28 Best Things to Resell For a Profit
Within each of the categories mentioned below, there are hidden tips to help you choose the right items within the category.
When it comes to making the best profit on the items you’re reselling, the details matter.
When it comes to reselling antiques, you’ll want to keep three things in mind: authenticity, demand and condition.
Look for popular antique items such as furniture pieces, serving ware, coins and home decor. Always look for a maker’s mark and other signs as you educate yourself on early era producers of antiques.
People are always looking to buy appliances, whether it’s a large appliance like a refrigerator or a small appliance such as an InstaPot.
Look for pricing that indicates the seller just “wants it gone.” Many times, you can even find larger appliances for free when people are remodeling their kitchen or moving.
Flipping artwork can be interesting for two reasons. First, you might find a hidden gem of artwork that is lesser known but made by a famous artist.
Second, art frames are often more valuable than the artwork itself. Get to know artists and their work so you know what you’re searching for as you shop, and pay special attention to the frames around artwork.
Anything that looks antique or has an ornate design could be a money maker.
Baby gear is costly, and people are happy to buy used baby gear as long as it’s clean and in decent condition.
Search for good deals on items such as cribs, changing tables, high chairs, booster seats, clothing, baby carriers/wraps, blankets and toys.
Better yet, use these ways to get free baby stuff to resell.
Books are another hot item that you can often find at garage sales and flip. This applies to both recently published college textbooks and to fiction and non-fiction books.
Use the Amazon Seller App to get an idea of what a book is selling for on Amazon, and get an idea of whether or not the books you find are flippable.
Vintage cameras are likely one of the top money makers you can buy cheap and resell.
However, in this day and age of the smartphone camera, you can make money by reselling newer cameras as well.
Bonus tip: Instead of reselling the camera, find a good camera and use it to make money taking pictures.
When shopping garage sales for car accessories you can flip, look for items that help with car care. Some examples are:
- Steering wheel covers
- Floor mats
- Car washing accessories and cleaners
- Seat covers
- Car covers
And more. Look for new items that are being sold for cheap, and don’t be afraid to bargain.
Fine china is another item that can often be found cheap at garage sales and flipped for a great profit.
There are many different types of china with different values, so you’ll need to do some research to learn which china brands and pieces are most valuable.
That being said, it’s not uncommon to find valuable china pieces for dirt cheap prices by garage sale owners that just want the clutter gone.
Collectibles can often be flipped to make a profit. When shopping garage sales, look for items such as sports action figures, corkscrews and shot glasses.
Remember that collectibles are often more valuable if they’re in tip-top condition. And if you’re interested in another way to make money with collectibles, check out our Rally Rd. review.
Designer clothes in good or better condition can often be sold for a profit too. Look for brands such as Louis Vitton, Coach, Chanel and Tommy Hilfiger.
Buy the clothes at a deep discount at garage sales, and then resell them on sites like Poshmark that specialize in designer clothing sales.
See our Poshmark review for more information on how the site works.
Exercise equipment is frequently available at garage sales, and usually marked at super low prices.
Buy them and resell on local sites such as Craigslist and OfferUp. See our OfferUp review to learn how OfferUp makes local buying and selling safer.
Fashion accessories such as belts, necklaces, bracelets and handbags can be very profitable in the retail arbitrage market.
Look for designer items that are in great shape. Resell on eBay, Poshmark or other consignment websites.
Furniture pieces resell quicker if they have a unique flair to them. Antique or shabby chic pieces of furniture sell best.
Other furniture items that sell quickly in the resale market include dressers, dressing tables and storage pieces.
When searching for jewelry at garage sales, it’s not uncommon to find valuable pieces that sellers just want gone.
The best jewelry pieces for reselling are higher end items. Look for gold stamps (i.e.14k gold) or name brand stamps on jewelry pieces.
Legos never fail to please in the resale market. Kids can’t get enough of them and parents aren’t always eager to pay full price.
Search garage sales for deals or visit on the last day of the sale and make a lowball offer.
Maternity clothing is often a big seller in the flipping world. Many pregnant people don’t see the point in buying new since they’ll be wearing the clothes for such a short time.
Look for clothing in good condition, and sell on local buy/sell sites like OfferUp.
Memorabilia often has a market for buyers, especially on sites like eBay. Look for sports and other trading cards, musical group posters, guitar picks and similar items.
Musical instruments are quite expensive when purchased new. Find great deals at garage sales and then resell the instruments for the going market price.
Outdoor gear such as tents, backpacks and fishing gear can be great items to flip for a profit as well.
Again, condition is important so look for items in great shape.
Retro or vintage clothing is always hot in the reselling market. Look for wild colors and patterns, and graphic tees with brands and musical groups featured on them.
Silverware is a great item to flip for a profit if you can find some for cheap. Just be sure you’re buying real silverware and not a well-crafted fake or a silver plated piece.
Bring a magnet with you to test the silverware, as real silver will not stick to a magnet.
Parents everywhere love buying used sports equipment for their kids. Search garage sales for soccer, football and other sports equipment you can get a deal on.
You’ll want to look for name brands when searching for sunglasses at garage sales. Brands such as Ray-Ban and Revo offer the best chance of flipping for a profit.
Condition is important too, so be sure the sunglasses you buy are in great condition.
I’ve been to garage sales where tools such as wrenches, socket sets and more are sold for as little as 25 cents each.
If you run into a great deal on tools at a garage sale, scoop it up and resell them on local ad sites such as Craigslist.
Typewriters are a long-gone accessory that served writers and office personnel well back in the day.
And there’s a group of people (me included) that would be happy to own a typewriter again. Sell on eBay or at a consignment store.
Video games and video game consoles and other accessories are popular in the retail arbitrage market.
Whether current or vintage, you can often sell video games and video game accessories on sites like Gamestop and Swappa.
Vintage Serving Dishes
As with fine china, vintage serving dishes are highly sought after in the reselling world. Vintage Pyrex sells well.
However, pretty much any brand of vintage serving dish will be sought after on sites like eBay and Amazon.
Vintage toys never fail to garner interest among online buyers. Look specifically for older model Fisher Price toys, rocking horses and baby toys.
The better condition the toys are in, the faster you’ll be able to resell them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most people who hold garage sales don’t accept credit cards and want cash only. You might be able to find a garage sale that accepts Venmo.
Most people who practice retail arbitrage sell the items they buy on sites such as Etsy, Amazon and OfferUp.
Along with garage sales, you can find items to flip at thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets and on Craigslist and sites like it.
Knowing what to look for at garage sales to flip for a profit can really maximize your earnings as a reseller.
Use the list above to make the most money as you work this potentially lucrative side hustle.