5 Tips for Reselling Secondhand Items

Goodwill Reseller Amber

Guest blog written by Amber Smith.

1. Pick a niche and sales platform

There are so many different items at Goodwill that it is helpful when starting out to pick a certain category to focus on. You can focus on women’s clothing, men’s clothing, kid’s clothing, shoes, home decor, books, furniture, etc. I’ve dabbled in a little bit of everything at this point and usually find myself coming back to women’s and men’s clothing.

Women’s clothing was a good area for me to start out in because I was already familiar with some brands from my personal closet. Since then, I’ve followed many other resellers on Instagram to learn about what is selling for them. Many brands have both men’s and women’s versions, so I was able to apply my knowledge when looking at men’s clothing to find some items that would be worth picking up.

 Sales platforms I use include Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Mercari, and Curtsy, but there are plenty more out there. Many items such as clothing or home decor can be listed on multiple platforms to increase the number of eyes on your item and increase the likelihood that it sells. If you’re just starting out, pick one or two platforms and learn the ins and outs of them before expanding.

2. Research what is selling

There really is no secret when it comes to picking up items that will actually sell. You can look up items on your phone to know exactly how much the same item has sold for in the past and how many of that same item are now being sold. If an item costs $4 and you see it being sold for $50? Great find! If an item costs $8 and it is only being sold or $12? Maybe not worth picking up after you consider your time, fees, and shipping expenses. It is up to you to decide what amount of profit you’re trying to make on each item.

As you learn and gain experience, you may become more comfortable picking up items without searching their prices first. I sell a lot of Patagonia items and over time I have become a lot more comfortable picking up certain styles without researching them first.

3. Check Goodwill often

More trips to Goodwill = better odds for finding something good! Goodwill is always putting out new items so there are always new treasures to be found, especially at the Goodwill Outlet. Goodwill has so many locations in the metro area that you could go to a new location every day for a week and still not hit them all.

The new racks are great to check out because those items haven’t been in the store as long and haven’t had as many eyes on them. And if you find one good item there, you might find a few more because people usually donate many items at once.

4. Keep track of your profits

You want to make sure you’re actually making money with all your sales. I used a simple excel spreadsheet to track the item, when I purchased it, and what I paid. After it sells, I fill in columns for the platform it sold on, the date it sold, and the price. I try to keep my cost of goods low by finding items at the Goodwill Outlet or using their calendar coupons when I visit their regular locations. Not every sale is going to give you a profit of $100+ (mine rarely do), but it all adds up! I’ll admit to making mistakes and buying items that weren’t really worth it, but gaining experience over time helps.

5. There is enough for everyone

While this isn’t a tip, it is important to remember! Even if there are other resellers or anyone shopping for themselves, Goodwill has plenty of items for everyone. Once you take a trip to the Goodwill Outlet and see bins of items priced by the pound, you’ll understand what I mean. I once saw a backpack in a tub of new items and watched two other people look at it and put it back down before I was able to pick it up. I was able to multiply my initial investment more than 5 times within a week on that single item. There are certain categories that I really don’t spend much time looking at, such as dresses or shoes or kid’s clothing even though I know there is a lot of money to be made there. So don’t think that a single reseller is taking everything good from a store because they can’t be in that store every hour of every day and grab everything.

Amber Smith started her first reselling business as a child when she would invite her younger brothers into her “store” (bedroom) and sell them her old toys. While that was quickly shut down by her parents, she has picked it back up in the past couple of years and uses her profits to pay for her Master of Business Administration degree at Drake University. You can find her on Instagram @arbitrage_with_amber.

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