22. BOARD GAMES & PUZZLES
My biggest piece here comes straight from the heart (albeit a frustrated and angry heart): DO NOT BUY OPEN PUZZLES! I have spent hours counting puzzle pieces only to find out that I’ve wasted time and money… Of course, there are valuable exceptions, but for the majority of games or puzzles, buy only boxes that are still sealed!
When it comes to games, there are two varieties that typically sell well; Old/rare games, and new games that are in high demand (think of the hype the game Pie Face had two years ago….)
Games: When it comes to vintage games, I’ve found that the nerdier a game looks, the more likely it is to be valuable. Some of our best board game sales have been from dragons/wizard/magic games from the 80’s. When we walk down the game aisle I keep an eye open for vintage looking game boxes, and that shiny saran-wrap look of a new game that is still sealed.
Puzzles: Keep an eye open for puzzles with strange content (offensive or profane content sells…). Also, high quality puzzles, such as those made of wood, hold their value well. Wentworth is probably the most common brand of wooden puzzles and is one we have found several time at thrift stores.
23. KITCHEN KNIVES & KNIFE BLOCKS
Searching through the knife bins has always been hit or miss for us. While there is some (figurative) gold to be had, there are so many brands that it becomes tedious to look them all up. We have, however, had a massive amount of success selling knife blocks! Let’s face it, you need a specific knife block and your chances of finding it at your personal thrift store are almost nil. So where do you turn? eBay of course! CUTCO brand knives and blocks are some of the easiest to find and lucrative to sell. While the market is definitely more saturated than it was a few years ago, large blocks can still fetch well over $100. Just remember that big knife blocks weigh a million pounds and likely won’t fit in a flat rate box.
As far as knives go, we’ve had sporadic success but we have yet to come up with a better method than, “Ooooh this looks quality! Look this up, dear!” You will quickly learn the feel of a quality knife and learn to cast aside the knives with plastic handles and thin floppy blades. (Don’t actually cast them aside…unsafe.)
If you insist on digging through knives, the 6 brands that we keep an eye our for and buy for resale most often are:
- J.A. Henckels
- Chicago Cutlery
- Pampered Chef
24. DISNEY MEMORABILIA
Disney clothing is a well known BOLO but did you know that almost anything Disney sells well? Yes, you probably did. But that doesn’t change the fact that old Disney sells well, new Disney sells slightly less well, and NIB Disney items just fly off the shelves!
Unless they are limited edition or a collab with a large brand, we avoid any new Disney items that are licensed by another company. The majority of them produce cheap goods with very little resale value. Instead, look for vintage items that are “Disney Kids, Disney Store, etc.”
Oh and If you’re cruising the shelves and see a Disney related snow globe, grab it! If you have to run someone over with your cart on the way there it just might be worth it. Snow globes, music boxes, etc often sell for hundreds on eBay. So get moving! Adventure is out there! (Wait…is that Disney?)
25. VINTAGE GLASSWARE-PYREX, DEPRESSION GLASS, CARNIVAL GLASS…
Glassware is a section we often peruse but rarely purchase from. Our only reason, however, is laziness! (Or business efficiency, however you want to brand it.) The fact of the matter is, glassware can be extremely profitable but is a pain to store, pack, and ship. If that doesn’t put you off, then onward!
Pyrex is one of the most hyped beginner BOLOs. Unfortunately, the majority of the vintage Pyrex found in thrift stores is only fit to decorate your storage shelf. The pieces we often find are drab colors by themselves or in pairs…which is the opposite of what you want! Bright colors such as pinks and greens are much more rare and in sets like the one in our example, can go for hundreds of dollars.
For everything else, if it looks old, weird, or expensive, research it on the spot! Familiarize yourself with Jadeite, depression gas, carnival glass, and other dated styles. Most vintage glassware is considered valuable by thrift stores and typically goes to the collectibles case. We have had the most luck sourcing pieces at flea markets, estate/yard sales, and antique malls.
26. MEDICAL DEVICES (KNEE BRACES)
Knee braces are one of the most lucrative items that we regularly source at thrift stores. Since we live in a college town, it seems that everyone and their dog has had knee surgery, and then donates their knee brace when they move back home. Any sort of brace, walking boot, or similar item does not require any sort of prescription and can be sold without any issues. Typically, braces and similar items are purchased off of eBay by people without insurance or whose insurance refused to cover what they needed.
Devices that you can easily find to sell:
- Breast Pumps
- Knee Braces
- Walking Boots
- Diabetes Test Strips
- Most Rehab Devices
- Stretching/Massage Accesories
Tips and Bewares:
- For the majority of medical supplies, buy only items that are still sealed in the packaging. If you are in doubt about how clean something is, you can sell it without any accessories such as tubing, mouthpieces, etc.
- Make sure what you’re selling does not require a prescription! When we first started reselling we listed a CPAP machine and had it pulled almost instantly by eBay.
If you haven’t heard of people selling books on Amazon, then it’s time to come out from underneath your rock. Unfortunately, the popularity of flipping books has resulted in a vicious, predators-at-the-watering-hole-like fight for the new carts of books at the thrift stores I frequent. The book market on eBay, however, is much smaller (not to mention the fact that eBay fees are lower….)!
While we don’t take the time to dig through books often, we have found some amazing flips (including one that we just listed for $550…more on that in a blog post later). Here’s the secret to making the most of the book section: download the Amazon Seller App. Whether you plan on selling on Amazon or not, this app can be the biggest time saver ever. You can scan the bar code of books you find and instantly get the selling price on Amazon. By assuming that the eBay price is similar, you can decide very quickly if the book is worth your time. If a book doesn’t have a barcode, however, don’t be lazy and pass it by! Most casual book sellers don’t bother typing in a ISBN or looking a book up by its title. Dig for the gems and you will find them!
Also, pay attention to books in other languages. I experienced frustration when trying to find a popular novel to read in Spanish, which is a pretty common language in the area where we live. If you see something in a more unusual language (like the Hunger Games series in Korean, which we recently sold), grab them!
28. LEATHER PURSES & BAGS
High quality leather has a very distinctive feel. If you’ve never had the pleasure, head to a high end department store and rub your face on some jackets/purses. The majority of expensive purses we’ve flipped have been found by touch alone. If you have the experience, you can literally run your hand along a rack of purses and pull out those made of high quality leather (go feel a Fossil bag and you’ll see what we mean).
Leather is something that is often worth more with age (especially in the current fashion climate). In distressed and worn condition, bags (particularly men’s bags) can be worth a mint!
Aside from brands, we keep our eyes open for leather that: is embroidered/decoratively stitched, painted, has brass hardware, and has inlays. In other words, anything that makes a bag more difficult or expensive to make, makes it more valuable.
29. UNUSUAL HOME DECORATIONS
One of my favorite items to purchase is hard-to-find home decor. It may be hard to find for several reasons (it’s unusual, vintage, meant for industrial use, etc.) but the result is always the same: more money for me! A good example of this would be the brass trash can in the example pictures that was meant for a hotel. It was an unusual but good looking piece which I figured could also be at home in someone’s entryway! We’ve also sold industrial type lights, vintage door handles, soap trays, and all sorts of things in between.
Keep your eyes open for:
- Oil on Canvas Paintings
- Antique Picture Frames
- Macabre Decorations
- Vintage Light Fixtures
- Industrial Ornaments
- Old Movie Posters
Soon you’ll develop an eye for the strange and wonderful items that someone would love to have in their house!
30. SCRAPBOOKING SUPPLIES
Since we live in the scrap-booking capital of the U.S., we find all kind of supplies, often unopened. Most people who scrapbook are the thrifty type who are only too happy to buy pre-owned materials and supplies. Knowing this has helped us find some of our best flips.
Although there is such a wide range of items available, there are a few things we’ve had very consistent luck with:
- Discontinued templates, refill packs, etc.
- Hole Punches
- Dyes, Cutters, and Presses
On of our earliest home-run thrift store finds was a lot of 6 Creative Memories refill packs. I took the sticker off of one of them (the top one) and stacked them up so I could list them as a lot. They sold for $200 the very next day and I was such a happy newbie that I shipped them out….totally forgetting that 5 of the 6 still had big $.99 stickers on them from Savers! Luckily the lady was very nice and we avoided negative feedback. This didn’t dampen our spirits when it comes to craft or scrap-booking items though! In fact, we routinely look for lots of supplies in our local classifieds. People often sell huge lots of craft supplies when someone dies, they move, or simply want to do something else with their life.
31. TECHNICAL & WORKPLACE GEAR
It’s not only individuals who buy items off of eBay. We have sold strange, one-off items to businesses, organizations, county offices, and even schools! (Including a automatic door closing device to Notre Dame University…true story.) While everyone is digging through clothes, we’ve sold everything from fall restraint harnesses to snow plow parts. The wider your vision, the more money there is to find. One of the best places to find workplace gear for cheap is through public auctions. Police Departments, Schools, and businesses hold public auctions when they need to unload inventory, and if you’re ready to catch, the rewards can be amazing. Try a local search on PublicSurplus to see what’s available in your area!
It’s not really worth enumerating types of items to look for in this niche as there are nearly infinite possibilities. Most auctions will provide a manifest with items specifics, so it is no problem to do your research and find what sells.
32. CAR PARTS
While several of my local thrift stores tell me that they “don’t take donated car parts,” things still manage to slip through. Mainly because they don’t know what things are. Car parts are not near as intimidating as you’d think. Yes, there are thousands of parts for thousands of different cars, but luckily part makers are well aware of this. If something has packaging/a barcode, it will also state not only what the part is, but what years/makes/models it is for. If it is not in the package, it will almost always have a model number somewhere on it that you can google. Once you have the part number, you can search it on eBay and use the “Sell Similar” function. This will autofill all of the models of cars it fits in the filters.
Some of my favorite BOLOS:
- Car Radios. When DIYers upgrade their car radio they typically end up donating their OEM (original) radio or selling it cheap. We snap these up and sell them to people who want a replacement for their radio which has gone out. While these usually work, any repair shop or audio shop should be able to test them for you.
Also, be on the lookout for CB Radios and handsets, particularly vintage ones.
- Emblems. Car emblems, decals, badges etc. change by the year and, when someone restores a car, they often want the exact one that came on their car originally. Anything car specific (especially for older classic cars) is expensive to buy, and is therefore usually profitable to source and sell!
- NOS car parts. While they’re scarce at thrift stores, we typically find car parts that have never been opened at flea markets and yard sales. People buy parts for their car and then sell their car before installing it…every time.
- Motorcycle Parts and Riding Gear. While this is crossing over into clothing territory, keep an eye out for riding gear such as leather jackets, helmets, boots, etc. Motorcycle parts (especially vintage ones) can bring excellent money and can be sourced and listed much the same way as car parts.
As a final note, be wary of things you can’t test or can’t quite figure out what they are. You really don’t want to sell someone a faulty part for their car.