It’s yard sale season again (finally)! That means Phillip and I will be heading out every weekend searching for items to resell. This might sound strange but it’s both a hobby and side business that we have going. We go to yard sales, thrift stores and estate sales, buy items that we know are worth money and flip them on Yardsellr, Bonanza, Craigslist or eBay. It’s really fun to hunt for “treasure” together and it makes a nice side income that we can put back for date nights or emergencies. You might think that you need to know a lot about antiques or collectibles to flip items. That’s simply not the case. At lot of times, it just takes a small list of items to look for to get your thrifting senses tingling. That’s what this list is all about. It’s 5 common yard sale or thrift store items that you can buy cheap and resell for a nice profit.
1 – Tickle Me Elmos
These are usually tossed in with the toys at yard sales and thrift stores. I typically see them marked $1-2. These typically sell for $15 and up! The best sellers are the Tickle Me Elmo Extremes that say TMX on the bottom. These are the ones that fall down laughing, roll around a bit and then stand back up. As long as it is in good working condition, you can expect $20-25 out of these adorable toys.
Thrift Price: $1-2
Resale Price: $15-25
2 – Caboodle Makeup Cases
Do you remember these from the 80s and 90s? Every girl (and woman) had her makeup stored in one of these awesome little cases. Little girls stored their Barbie doll clothes and shoes (at least I did). These cases are really easy to spot with their bright colors and unmistakable style. These are typically priced at $1-3. Guess how much they sell for? Caboodle cases fetch $20-30 on eBay. Almost all of them sell at these prices but you can maximize your selling price if the case is clean and includes all the parts. They usually have a mirror and a removable makeup compartment. If they’re missing those, haggle the price down a bit and buy it anyway.
Thrift price: $1-3
Resale Price: $20-30
3 – Atari 2600 Systems
If you grew up in the late 70s or early 80s, you probably have fond memories of the Atari. I wasn’t even born yet but my parents bought one at a yard sale when I was a kid and I LOVED it! Today, most Atari systems are busy gathering dust in someone’s closet or sitting on a thrift store shelf. You can typically find them for $5-15, more if they include games. We recently found one that included 8 games, a game carrier, and 4 controllers for $20. We sold it today for $50! Atari 2600 systems sell on eBay for around $40, more if they are “heavy sixers.” If you can afford to wait, stash it in your closet until the prices jump back up. Last year, Atari systems were selling for $60+.
Thrift Price: $5-10
Resale Price: $40+
4 – Mason Jars and Glasses
If you live in the Midwest, you’ve probably drank sweet tea out of one of these Ball Mason glasses. You can find these for as little as 25 cents at thrift stores and on eBay, they fetch anywhere from $15-30 for a set of 4. This is one thing you have to be brand snobby about – make sure they’re Ball brand. While you’re looking in the glassware section, it doesn’t hurt to pick up some regular Ball Mason jars, especially the light blue ones. They’re vintage and a lot of 10 can earn you $40!
Thrift Price: 25 cents to $1 each
Resale Price: $15-30 for a set of 4
5 – Record Players
Record players are a vintage goldmine at yard sales. People typically price them at $1-5 and sometimes even give them away for free, not knowing how valuable they really are. On eBay, working record players go for $20 and up, with most ending at around $100. Just resist the urge to buy a box full of records (unless it’s really cheap), most of them aren’t worth much. You should pick up one, though, to test the functionality of the record player you just bought. The picture to the left is a PORTABLE record player. We paid $1 for it at a yard sale and it sells for $100-150! We just have to replace a belt ($10) and it will be good to go.
Thrift Price: $1-5
Resale Price: $20+, average $100
So there you have it, 5 common yard sale items that you can sell for big bucks on eBay. If you found just one of each of the items on this list and sold it for the average going price on eBay, you’d be over $100 richer! That’s pretty sweet for a few hours of work on Saturday morning. It’s even better if you already love thrift store and yard sale shopping (like me). So tell us, what are some other items that you always look for at yard sales and thrift stores? Do you buy to re-sell?
I’m 26 years old, married, and a learning geek. I love to research, read, take photographs, play video games, DIY, review products, and so much more. I am the primary writer of Jersha & Dup, as well as the behind the scenes gal. I also maintain a few other websites but Jersha & Dup is my true passion.