How To Make Money Reselling Goods: 5 Unique Ways

reselling goods

My husband works hard to provide for the family—without my help. We have had fat years and we have had lean years. But during the lean years, he always has ways to make up the difference. One of those ways is reselling used goods—antiques, collectibles, or just basic household items. He does this through several channels I’d like to share with you here.

Antique Dealers

Antique dealers cannot be everywhere at once. Many will go to auctions on their days off; others simply don’t have the time. Those that are too busy rely on others to find things for them. They call these people “pickers.”

Many years ago, my husband bought a vase for 35 cents at a yard sale. Because he was unemployed and I was scraping coins together just to buy groceries, I got a tad upset. Okay, I was very upset and now I can admit I over-reacted; but it was the most hideous looking piece of pottery I’d ever seen in my life. He, however, insisted it was something special and planned to resell it to make some money.

You know, he was right. He sold that vase to an antique dealer for $100. (Lesson learned in trusting your husband.) This sale led to his becoming a picker for antique dealers in our area; and that hobby led to his selling at flea markets.

Flea Markets

How often, while traveling, have you taken a short detour to follow the signs to a flea market? Do you, like my husband, have the knack for spying out the special? If this describes you, then perhaps you should research opening your own flea market booth. Finding the right location is important, though. Some flea markets are indoors and others are out. Some require the vendor to remain on location while others employ cashiers to take care of the sales from un-manned booths. You will want to ask about hours of operation, security, advertising, and of course, rent and commissions.

If you think that opening a flea market booth is for you, visit the market you have in mind. Ask questions of the manager; but also ask questions of other vendors. Take a look at their booths. Notice how they display their items, what types of things they sell, and compare booths with each other. You do not want to sell fine antiques in a place full of old pop bottles and broken crock pots.

Classified Ads

We have a paper in our neck of the woods with nothing but classified ads. Placing an ad is free. The paper cost $1.55 at local convenience stores. Many people use this paper to unload extra items, dispose of old furniture after purchasing new, or to announce yard sales. But others, like my husband, use it to make a few dollars. If you know what people buy when (like woodstoves in the fall and lawn mowers in the spring, for example), write your ads attractively, and know your product, this can be a lucrative avenue to explore.

Online classifieds are popular now, too. Our local phone company hosts a website for that purpose. Craigslist is another example. With these types of listings, some find a greater sense of privacy by being able to provide an email address rather than a phone number. Uploading photographs is easy. And the best part is that the advertising is free.

Yard Sales

So much has been written about yard sales that I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about it. But if you live on a well-travelled road and are not limited by your municipality to the number of yard sales you can hold in a year, than I would consider it an option to add extra income to your household. Just make sure that everything you have to offer is clean, displayed attractively, and priced, to insure making a profit.

Online Venues

If you have tried Ebay or Amazon and found them too cumbersome to bother with, look for other venues in your niche. Near the end of each summer, I clean out my closet full of homeschooling materials and list those items I no longer use or need on I have been very happy with this site and see no reason to switch to another one. However, several other book-selling sites do exist. If you have a thing for crafts or vintage items, check out Etsy; if you sell musical instruments, look up Musicians Buy Line.

Even if you don’t see yourself starting a reselling business, these are all places to sell the stuff collecting in your garage or attic. But if you do find yourself getting excited at the prospect of making extra money on a regular basis, check out these ideas and let me know how you do.

Any other thoughts? Meet me in the comments.

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  1. Kathleen K

    I’ve been eBaying for about 5 years, both buying and selling. We use it to supplement our homeschool book budget. Each fall I try to buy books from eBay that I know we will use the next school year (a year ahead). Many times I have purchased almost new books that were sold because the parents decided to enroll children in traditional school or that particular curriculum just didn’t work out. Because demand is less, I pay less. I hang onto all my unwanted curriculum until spring–sometime between late April and mid June and have a couple weeks of sales. Because many parents are looking for next year’s materials then, demand is greater and I receive more money. And throughout the year, I watch for bargains at our used bookstores to resell too. Sometimes I’ve found used curriculum (current edition) for under $20 that I can sell for over $100.

    I will shop yard sales and thrift stores and flea markets, but selling at one? No thanks! Too much work!

    • Carol J. Alexander

      Thanks for the tips, Kathleen. I’ve also picked up $50 texts at Goodwill for $1 and resold them online for $10-$15. Every little bit helps.

    • Patrick

      I don’t know anything about homeschooling. But I have purchased a junk load of textbooks in my over-extended college years.

      For homeschooling can you use a textbook that is one or two editions old? Seriously, not lying you can pick up an older textbook for under $5, where the newest edition will cost you over $100. I have done this so many time, the material in the book, barely ever changes.

      For the most part I would go the teacher the first day of class and give them a sob story about my friend giving me their older edition, and I’m too broke to buy a new one.

  2. Marianne

    I’ve sold a couple of thousand dollars worth of our possessions on Ebay this year and blogged about how I did it here: I also like to use Kijiji (Craigslist for you Americans) and talked about it more recently: I have only recently begun buying second hand items intentionally for resale and haven’t done it enough yet to know much about it. I’ve bought some books and higher end clothing and will see how it works out.

    • Carol J. Alexander

      It pays to invest in a few resources to help. For instance, if you are interested in antique glassware, get a good book on it and learn the characteristics of different makers, their names, and what it is worth. Then when you see something at a yard sale, you will know if it’s worth the price they are asking.

  3. Carol J. Alexander

    I’m with you BrokeElizabeth. The Homeschool Classifieds site is so simple compared to the other giants, why would I want to use them?

  4. Joolie

    I tried reselling on Etsy but the competition is stiff. If you have a really unique item you have to rely on people to look for it, and it if it’s more common than you have to hope you don’t get lost in the masses. I didn’t sell a single item and had only one inquiry in the months I tried. I understand there are ways to get your shop appear higher in the lists, but it would take a lot of time and effort networking within the Etsy community. eBay has been a much more successful venue for me.

  5. Karen Lange

    Seems to me I read a very good short story awhile back about that vase. 🙂

    These are good tips, Caro!! I appreciate the reminder; I’ve been meaning to take some household items into a local consignment shop. I used to sell my used homeschool curriculum online and at local homeschool sales. I also take used books to places like Half Price Books.

    • Carol J. Alexander

      I failed to mention consignment shops, Karen, because in my rural area, that is not an option. However, when we lived in the city, I took all of our boys clothes and traded them in for the next size up or got credit to new things. You may not get cash out of the deal, but even a barter helps.

  6. Brandon

    I’ve had a lot of success selling items on ebay. You can easily sell something in just a few steps. The key is to end your sale on a Sunday evening, Ebay’s busiest day. People are home for the weekend and they can out bid one another. End your sale on Sunday!

  7. Donna A

    These are great tips. I use to have yard sales, but then I started giving things away. I found great satisfaction in passing along things that would bless another family more.

    I think if we needed extra income then I would get a part time job, or cut back even more on unnecessary items.

  8. frugalportland

    I agree with Donna A, I’d rather donate my used things and live more simply than spend precious time on reselling. I’m happy to consign, but it’s more about getting things out of my house than it is to get money.

  9. Evangeline

    Love this article, Carol. Seems like the P-31 woman is hard at work. Great job!

  10. Thanks for this list. I know some people have a real knack for finding items at garage sales and selling them on eBay. I haven’t had much luck with that, but I still try.

  11. John Ferris

    These are all great ideas. I have strictly used eBay and yard sales, but I have a few items I would like to get rid of that might be better sold in a classified ad. Thanks for the ideas!

  12. Joan

    Good post! I’m like your husband and love finding deals at garage sales and then reselling items. It’s like a fun game to me! But even better I have a post on my site where I have listed my secret of “5 places to find items for free and resell”. A couple of years ago I came up with these 5 ideas to make some extra money. Last summer, I made a $500.00 profit in 3 months. Right now I have an old hoosier I got at a moving sale for $100.00. I am fixing it up with a simple mixture to bring the dried wood back to life and will be reselling it for about $450.00 and no less that $400.00. Kind of excited to see how much I will actually make. Lots of other neat ideas on my site too – check it out!