As a thrift shopper, you'll have the opportunity to find unique pieces, vintage finds, and modern gems all at a fraction of the retail price. Join me as we explore a day in the life of a thrift shopper.
Coffee & Research
I love waking up early and enjoying a cup of coffee before the rest of the world is awake. Like most people, this is the time I use to catch up on the "daily news". I spend time looking on Facebook Marketplace to see what others have listed recently and for what price. Facebook Marketplace also tells you items that are trending so take a quick peek at that while you are there.
I can only find this on the mobile app.
When on Facebook Marketplace, look under Sell and scroll all the way down to find this information.
If I have items around the house I haven't listed yet and I see that they are trending on Facebook, then I will list those items. Definitely helps motivate me to list items I have been putting off.
I like to keep my reselling business focused on a few categories - such as: stuffed animals, home goods, concert t-shirts, jerseys, and toys. I try to keep track of approximately how many items I have in each category - I want a minimum of 20 items per category in my store.
So before I go thrifting, I take a look at which categories are running low so I know where to focus my time when shopping. That doesn't mean I don't browse the other items and purchase in other areas...it just means that I know I NEED to replenish certain departments in my store so those will be the main items I buy that day.
This process also helps me determine which stores to go to that day as you quickly learn which stores are better for home goods vs clothing items when it comes to inventory.
I can't help myself - the minute I walk into a thrift store I b-line it for the holiday decor! I am a huge Halloween fan and my best friend is a huge Christmas fan...so we always find ourselves in this aisle first.
Halloween & Christmas sell all year long for me. Remember though, people buy items they can't just walk into Target and buy. They want unique and different so keep that in mind while you shop.
I have a rule when shopping...if I can't make a 70% profit on the item reselling it, don't buy it.
Example: If the item costs $3 to purchase, I need to be able to sell it for at least $10 after all the fees are said and done.
Follow these easy steps to calculate a 70% profit margin:
1. Use 70% in its decimal form, which is 0.7.
2. Subtract 0.7 from 1 to get 0.3
3. Divide the original price of your good by 0.3
4. The resulting number is how much you should charge for a 70% profit margin
Organize the Haul
It is always fun to shop and bring the haul home, but the real work now starts. This is where you have to clean it and store it to list it at some point. So this is the process I have been using that has worked well for me.
We need to document how much each item costs so we know the minimum amount we need to sell it for. I use a simple Google Doc to enter basic information.
General Item Name
Cost of Goods
Minimum Sale Price (70% Profit Margin)
I keep this on a sheet call "unlisted items" and then place these items on a specific shelf in my garage. This way, I don't bring any items in the house until it sells. I store all my items listed inside - I happen to have a bunch of retail shelves so I use those, but most use tubs.
Ok, you have an hour in your day to list - I grab the oldest inventory first in my garage and start listing. I take a quick picture of the item, search using Google Lens and 95% of the time I can find it immediately.
I pull up my "unlisted items" spreadsheet, find the item and see how much I need to sell it for before listing it. I also will copy and paste the proper title over to this spreadsheet once I have done the research on it so I know specifically which item it is now.
I first list the item on Facebook as it is a quick way to list an item. It isn't as intense as eBay when filling out the listing requirements. I generally have good results on Facebook. I will always price things locally at 1/3rd the sold comp prices on eBay. I give this listing 7 days to sell and if it doesn't, I come back and begin listing it on eBay.
To Promote or Not Promote...
I don't promote my items right away. Just like I did on Facebook, I let the item sit on eBay for at least a week before I do a 2% promotion rate. The big difference with paying eBay to promote vs promoting the listing your self is....eBay will show your listing on other sellers listings under "similar items" - this is where a bulk of my traffic comes from.
Now I still do my share of promoting it offline -- such as: share the listing on social, make a video for social, etc.
Store the item and sit back and wait for it to sell. If an item hasn't sold within 2 weeks on eBay, I will run a 15% sale and that generally gets items to sell. I also find that my sales are higher when I offer free shipping.
Let me know what works for you!