24 Best Items to Resell for Unbelievable Profits

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by John-Paul Cody

Updated

Knowing what to look for at thrift stores can be challenging when getting started.

To simplify the process for you, I compiled a list of the absolute best items to resell for profit after having sold hundreds of items on eBay and Mercari over the years.

1. Discontinued Food & Drink Flavors

drink

We all have favorite foods and drinks. But what happens when they suddenly get discontinued? In a matter of days, the prices grow exponentially as the remaining supply dwindles.

For example, a pack of 6 recently discontinued Monster Energy Drinks (Khaos Flavored) sold for $130 on eBay, that’s over $20 per discontinued drink!

Candy flavors, chip flavors, and drinks flavors are discontinued more often than people realize, and almost always creates a significant pricing gap in the market.

These days, learning how to sell on eBay for beginners is a snap, so don’t hesitate to get started.

Tactics for Success

  • Since all food and drinks have a shelf life, it’s best to price them to sell so you don’t get stuck with expired inventory.
  • Resellers groups on IG, Discord, and Facebook are the most popular ways to learn about discontinued food and drinks.

2. Winter Jackets

reselling-jackets

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When it comes to selling clothing online, jackets usually have higher price tags than other items.

Consumers typically pay larger sums for their winter coats because they last a long time, plus the fact they are often made with higher end materials such as goose down feathers.

For these reasons, jackets are one of the best items to resell.

Here are several jacket brands with strong resale value on eBay and other platforms: Barbour, Schott, Rab, Harley Davidson, Avirex, Pendleton, Arc’teryx, and Fjallraven.

Tactics for Success

  • Always keep an eye out for puff jackets. These are jackets with duck or goose down feathers inside which insulate jackets incredibly well. Check jacket labels to verify whether the puff material is duck or goose before purchasing to ensure it’ll be a good flip.
  • Don’t ignore jackets in the offseason. Even though it may be 90 degrees where you live, it’s 15 degrees somewhere else in the world, which means there’s demand year round for cold gear when selling online. The off season is a prime time to pick up jackets at a discount locally to resell online.

3. Funko Pops

figure

Funko Pops came out in 2010 and took the world by storm. In the last 90 days on eBay, over 406,000 Funko Pops have been sold, with the most expensive Funko selling for over $15,000.

Most new sellers don’t realize that one of the best strategies to selling fast on eBay is to target items with high sales volume, such as this toy.

Funko Pops are small vinyl figures made to look like the characters we know and love from movies, games, shows, and real life.

There are more than 8,000 different Funkos to date, and more being added every day.

Tactics for Success

  • The most profitable Funkos are new/limited releases and rare ones from past releases. Reseller groups are one of the best ways to be notified of new, in-demand Funkos coming out. People typically buy new releases for $15-$20 and sell them for $50+.
  • Keep a pulse on seasonality and what’s going on culturally since they both influence market prices of certain characters such as Michael Myers around halloween and The Rock when he’s featured in a new movie.

4. Seasonal Items

float

What do swimming pools, pumpkin spice candles, and talking Santa Claus decorations have in common? Their market price doubles or triples in a matter of days once their season arrives.

Even better, every part of the year has several in-season items to watch out for.

Resellers can take advantage of these spikes in buyer demand by stocking up on seasonal items during off season and putting them out for sale when their time of year rolls around.

Tactics for Success

  • While the classic seasonal items are great sellers, each year new seasonal items are released as well.
  • This same concept of seasonality also applies to holidays like Halloween, Valentines Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

5. Remote Controls

remote

TV remotes are probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think remote control.

However, there are thousands of electronic devices that use remotes, some such as the Sleep Number Mattress remote regularly sell for $100+.

Remote controls are easy to lose and stop working after a while. When this happens, people rarely go out and buy a new TV, stereo system, or sleep number mattress, instead they simply replace the remote.

With more than 90,000 remote control sales on eBay alone in the last 90 days, remotes continue to be a great seller.

Today, there are more websites to sell stuff than ever, so make sure you at least brush up on the other platforms.

Tactics for Success

  • Keep an eye out for remotes linked to high end items and electronic brands. The reason used sleep number mattress remotes selling for $100+ is because the mattress can cost several thousand dollars.
  • Thrift stores are one of the best places to source remote controls. There’s normally a couple boxes full of remotes for a couple dollars each. At that price point, you’ll find a score in no time.

6. Limited Edition Items

cup

Limited release items have become one of the biggest disruptors in the reseller space over the last few years. Everyday new items are released by major artists and businesses in limited quantities to create scarcity to drive prices up.

If you’re still asking “what to resell”, try these specific brands below.

Reselling Supreme, Hot Wheels, and Starbucks are several example brands that regularly release limited edition items like coffee tumblers, model cars, book bags, shirts, jackets, lighters and more.

To some, limited edition items are viewed as investments and others status symbols.

Regardless, in many cases the retail price and market price leave a large profit percentage for resellers.

Fortunately, limited edition items sell great across the majors platforms like Poshmark, Mercari, and eBay.

Tactics for Success

  • Supreme does weekly drops on Thursdays at 11am EST on their website, normally releasing 10-15 limited edition items. These items range from supreme branded lighters, bricks, mini fridges, jackets and the coveted box logo tee. Normally 1 in every 2 drops has an item people buy and flip for 2x to 3x the retail price.
  • Resellers groups on Discord, IG, and Facebook are the most popular ways people stay up to date on limited edition releases. By joining a group it’s significantly easier to hear about a major release while there’s still time to jump in on the action.

7. Unusual/Uncommon Apparel

sweater

Parachute pants, Coogi sweaters, and vintage levi jeans are a couple examples of uncommon apparel items.

Selling these items might seem counterintuitive, because we probably think who would pay lots of money for parachute pants or Coogi sweaters?

Well, that’s one of the beautiful things about selling online, the market size includes millions of people, and to some these items are wanted simply because they are rare and unique rather than mainstream.

When it comes to packaging clothes to sell, make sure you’re following the best strategy to save the most money.

Tactics for Success

  • If a clothing item seems odd/unusual, always look it up! I once came across a batch of 8-9 baggy pants in the thrift store for $4 each. Turns out they were called parachute pants and sold for upwards of $50-$100 each.
  • Tags are like metal detectors for clothing. Certain pieces of information on clothing labels can signal something is worth reviewing further. I always look for clothing that says “Made in USA”, which normally flags higher end brands (the parachute pants were made in USA). For example, just about all vintage concert t-shirts were made in USA, some of which sell for hundreds.

8. Discontinued Health & Beaut Products

selling-perfume

We all have several favorite health and beauty products, whether it’s cologne, shampoo, lipstick, moisturizer, lotion, or perfume.

Unfortunately companies sometimes halt production on a cosmetic line, which sends loyal customers into a frenzy for the remaining supply.

That’s why discontinued health and beauty products are some of the best resale items.

Long-time users will pay double or triple the original price for discontinued products.

Tactics for Success

  • It’s common for full-time resellers to depend on discontinued cosmetic items as “bread and butter” sales, or repeatable and stable sellers.
  • Large batches of discontinued cosmetics are commonly found at liquidation companies, thrift stores, online cosmetic auctions, and brick and mortar clearance shelves.

9. Shoes (New Releases & Pre-Owned)

reselling-shoes-for-profit

Everyone knows you can make money reselling shoes, but most don’t realize just how much is possible. 

Exhibit A: a couple months ago I picked up this old pair of Nike bowling shoes for $8, and after some light cleaning flipped them for $171 a week later. Selling used shoes isn’t difficult once you learn a few shoe restoration tricks.

Exhibit B: I grabbed this pair of Nikes from a local garage sale in the summer for $15 and sold them a month later for $180.

Tactics for Success

  • Pick up Dr Martens Wonder Balsam to buff out scratches and wear on leather, it’s shocking how well it works. Being able to remove minor blemishes on shoes allows you to flip shoes that most other people would have to pass on.
  • If you’re unfamiliar with a shoe brand, check the materials used, and where it was made. These are two strong indicators of a shoe’s value and will quickly clue you in if a shoe is worth money.

10. Electronics, Vintage & New

reselling-vintage-electronics

Electronics hold their value better than people realize, especially old and vintage electronic devices.

For example, most people toss out old VHS players without knowing they have strong resale value to people who enjoy watching VHS-only movies or family videos stored on VHS.

Recycling old computers and other electronics for cash is a viable option too.

Tactics for Success

  • Quickly look up specific electronic devices you find using the model number located on the item (ex: Sony CRX-100). Practically every electronic device has a model number that allows for quick look up on eBay to determine market price.
  • Always look up odd and unusual electronics. Oftentimes people buy these items for nostalgic value or because a company might’ve gone out of business. In many cases, there won’t be many listed online, but that means you can name your price when a collector with deep pockets comes along.

11. Home & Auto Tools

reselling-tools

Tools hold their value extremely well, especially certain tool brands like Snapon which seem to go up in value rather than down sometimes.

Part of the reason tools resell so well is because they last a very long time, and people don’t mind buying used tools as long as they work. Selling silver flatware can be highly profitable as well.

Tactics for Success

  • Not only do tools themselves sell well, but equipment charging cables and batteries also have very strong resale value. For expensive tools, someone would much rather pay $50 for a charging cable they lost instead of re-purchasing a tool/appliance costing hundreds of dollars.
  • Tools don’t always have to be sold individually. If you have a large set of tools, try bundling all the tools into a lot online. Many shoppers want to purchase tools in bundles to get a lower unit price, which also speeds up the selling process for you, the seller.

12. Sports Equipment

resell-baseball-bats

Every sport requires some type of equipment. Serious athletes want to take their game to the highest level possible, which means buying the best equipment.

For example, some of the highest end baseball bats like Demarini and Louisville Slugger regularly sell for over $500. In the last 90 days, nearly 1,000 used baseball bats were purchased for over $250 on eBay alone.

Tactics for Success

  • Some of the most profitable sports equipment to resell includes: golf clubs, goalie gloves, baseball gloves, hockey sticks, and snowboards.
  • USPS has a special box for golf clubs and baseball bats called a priority mail tube, that not only protects these items perfectly but also doesn’t cost anything, like all other USPS boxes.

13. Printer Ink

resell-printer-ink

Anyone who owns a printer knows these 2 things about printer ink, 1. it needs to be replaced often and 2. It’s not cheap.

Resellers love selling ink because it has a high sales velocity (inventory moves quickly), shipping is inexpensive due to item size, and market prices are high.

Fortunately, printer ink is a common find at thrift stores and garage sales, because so many households and businesses use printers everyday. In fact, a recent study by Deloitte found that 62% of American households own a printer.

Tactics for Success

  • While there’s a strong market for printer ink, most shoppers only want new/sealed ink cartridges. Before buying ink at the thrift store, check that the packaging is fully sealed so you know it can be sold as a brand new cartridge online.
  • Ink for commercial printers will often sell for more than consumer printers. However, it’s common practice to bundle less expensive ink cartridges into a lot to boost overall sales price.

14. Textbooks

reselling-books

It’s not uncommon for students to pay upwards of $100 to $150 per textbook during back to school season. Textbooks are a massive industry, so much so that many resellers sell textbooks exclusively.

Unsurprisingly, textbook prices hit their peak during July/August and December when students start new semesters and need new textbooks.

As with any seasonal business, textbook sellers move the most product during those months and frequently increase prices to match demand.

If you want to learn how to sell books on eBay, don’t wait it’s easier than you think.

Tactics for Success

  • Pay attention to the textbook’s edition. Most textbooks come out with a new edition every couple years, making the previous edition value plummet. For that reason, it’s best to target textbooks of their latest edition.
  • Apps like CamelCamelCamel can be used to scan a textbook’s barcode to see a textbook’s pricing history. This allows sellers to see what the textbooks market price is during peak season, helping them make a more informed buying decision.

15. Costume Jewelry

resell-constume-jewelry

In the last 90 days, nearly 35,000 pieces of costume jewelry were sold on eBay alone.

There are many different kinds of costume jewelry including rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, broaches, and more.

Costume jewelry simply refers to jewelry that compliments an outfit. A variety of gemstones and metals are frequently used as well.

It’s a popular product to resell because it’s so plentiful and sells quickly when marketed correctly.

Tactics for Success

  • Effective use of keywords are critical when selling costume jewelry. Using keywords creates more opportunities for your item to be found by shoppers. Here’s an example of a keyword optimized title – Retro Bohemian Brown Wood Beaded Statement Shell Pendant Necklace Costume
  • Mentioning the designer’s name in the product listing helps jewelry sell at a higher price. Most designers stamp their jewelry with their initials or a notable mark, however it’s not always easy to identify the designer for beginners.

16. Broken Items

how-to-sell-broken-phone

Many beginner and even intermediate resellers overlook this lucrative category.

Take a laptop for example, just because the screen is shattered doesn’t mean the keyboard keys, RAM, motherboard, graphics card and laptop shell are not worth anything.

In fact, broken laptops can still fetch hundreds of dollars online!

Tactics for Success

  • Keep in mind some of the reasons people buy broken items online to help clue you in on broken items worth picking up. Here are a few reasons people buy broken items: (1) Working parts are removed and used for repairs (2) Used in sculptures and artwork (3) used as props for plays and performances
  • These broken items will still earn a nice profit: phones, watches, guns, cameras, game consoles, and laptops fetch great money on eBay.

17. Trading Cards & Comics

reselling-pokemon-cards

We all know that cards and comics can sell for good money online, but the amount of money is staggering.

Today, sports cards, trading cards, and comics are viewed as legitimate investments no different than investing in wine or artwork.

As with any form of investment there is a learning curve when getting started, but once single Pokemon cards started selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars, learning at least the basics became a must for resellers.

Tactics for Success

  • More expensive cards and comics are normally graded on a scale of PSA 1-10, which refers to their level of quality. It’s important to become familiar with this grading scale and when it makes sense to send cards in for grading to boost value and when it doesn’t.
  • Based on our analysis of over 500,000 Pokemon card sales data the top 3 characters most commonly purchased on eBay were Pikachu, Charizard, and then Mewtwo.

18. Furniture

reselling-furniture

Many resellers are scared away from selling furniture due to the bulkiness when it comes to shipping.

Fortunately, there are countless ways to economically ship/deliver furniture.

Most sellers utilize Uship when shipping furniture which ends up being significantly cheaper than Fedex and UPS – in some cases as much as 50% less.

Most seller platforms offer options for local pick up as well to simplify the process.

Tactics for Success

  • Vintage and designer specific furniture (ex: Ethan Allen) tend to resell very well online. Both types of furniture aren’t easily found on popular furniture sites like Wayfair, and often use much better materials which helps them sell for more money.

19. Video Games & Consoles

reselling-video-games-online

Video games are always the first thing to go at garage sales, because they are cheap to ship, have consistent buyer demand, and still fly under the radar for many people who don’t know their true value.

For these reasons, buying and selling video games is a smart category to get into.

Keep an eye out for older games from consoles like NES, SNES, and Gamecube, these can go for hundreds of dollars.

Tactics for Success

  • Pawn shops are excellent places to source video games, simply because it’s easy to bundle multiple games and get a discount. Haggling is part of pawn shop culture, making it the perfect place to score great deals on video games.
  • Spend time on eBay looking at video game sold listings that have sold for over $100. This will become your BOLO list (be on the lookout), so next time you’re out thrifting and come across Mario Party 6 on Gamecube you’ll know it typically fetches $100!

20. Musical Instruments

reselling-musical-instruments-online

One of the reasons selling instruments is so attractive on eBay specifically is due to the 5.85% final value fee (selling fees on other categories hover around 12%).

As a result, instrument resellers can keep more money in their pockets vs selling in other categories.

If you’re just getting started in this category, it’s best to target one instrument to begin with such as buying and selling guitars.

Many people wonder why are eBay fees so high, without realizing these low fee categories exist.

Common places to find musical instruments to resell include the Letgo app, Craigslist, pawn shops, the Nextdoor app, and local bands.

Tactics for Success

  • Make sure to offer local pick up as a shipping option for buyers when selling instruments. Oftentimes, buyers would prefer driving to pick up their instrument vs risking it getting tossed around in a delivery truck. This also eliminates shipping costs from your sale price.
  • If you are concerned about shipping large instruments, many sellers specialize in selling smaller one such as: flutes, Ukuleles, harmonicas, and violins. Smaller instruments will also be in high demand, but sellers can skip out on high shipping costs.

21. Automotive Parts

selling-auto-part-ebay

Automotive parts are the 3rd highest revenue generating product categories on eBay.

Some of the reasons car parts sell at such high volumes include: car upgrades/modifications, replacing parts after accidents, and car enthusiasts who buy car parts for decorations.

Not to mention, frugal car owners are buying parts from eBay as a strategy how to save money on car repairs.

For this reasons, thousands of ecommerce sellers exclusively sell automotive parts, and even niche down to specific parts such as headlights and taillights.

Cars are one of the most expensive things we own, so the parts to construct them are naturally high priced as well.

Tactics for Success

  • Two of the best places to source car part inventory is body shops and junk yards. Many junk yards operate as pick-and-pulls where visitors bring basic tools and remove the parts they want to use and pay for the on the way out. This is a popular method used by resellers who target in-demand vehicle models and years.
  • Some of the most lucrative automotive parts to resell include: center consoles, headlights, taillights, rearview mirrors, side mirrors, converter kits, instrument clusters, head rests, and door handle mechanisms. These parts will be priced on the low end at the junkyard and won’t cost much to ship since they are relatively small.

22. Vinyl Records

vinyl-record

Vinyl records are a staple item when it comes to thrift stores. But not only that, certain records regularly sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

If you happen to be a record head, you probably already know some of the popular ones. But if not, eBay can help show you which records have stood the test of time and which haven’t.

Tactics for Success

  • In the last 90 days, over 66,000 vinyl records have been sold on eBay for $100 or more. In thrift stores, records typically sell for less than a dollar, which means there’s outstanding profit potential.
  • To save on shipping, we recommend using USPS Media Mail for shipping records. Although delivery time will take a little longer, sellers can save a considerable chunk of change with this approach.

23. Rare and Newly Minted Coins

resell-coins

Part of the reason coin collectors have been around for so long is because the hobby continues to have great profit potential.

Not only can coins be rare like other collectables, coins are often made with rare metals such as gold, silver, and platinum which helps solidify the value even more.

In addition to flipping older coins, many people target limited edition coin releases such as American Eagle proof coins from the US Treasury as well.

Tactics for Success

  • Spend some time learning the basic terminology used in the coin industry and what the current melt values are of gold and silver. Establishing some baseline knowledge of the niche is critical to ensure you don’t make a bad buy.
  • When it comes to finding coins to sell, they are most commonly sourced from estate sales, pawn shops, and coin shows.

24. NFTs

NFTs (Non-Fungible-Tokens) can refer to just about anything digital, such as drawings, game accessories, artwork, and more. Although the NFT space is still very new, most people have at least heard of them at this point

As with most technological breakthroughs there’s serious money up for grabs among early movers. NFTs are bought and sold with cryptocurrency and exchanged through a digital wallet.

Since NFTs are digitized versions of assets like artwork, they are considered investments and therefore can be flipped for profit like any other asset classes.

Tactics for Success

  • Over $250 million worth of NFTs were sold in 2020 and revenue is projected to far surpass that in the coming years.
  • Before sinking money in NFTs, make sure you have at least a general understanding of the full process from start to finish.

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About the Author

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John-Paul Cody is the creator of Trends & Tactics, with the mission of helping people demystify entrepreneurship and money so they can live life on their terms. John-Paul has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, and currently works in data analytics and marketing.