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How To Make Money Buying & Selling Used Items

Updated on June 19, 2013

Do You Have Unwanted Items Around Your Home You Could Sell To Earn Extra Income?

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In this article I will be sharing with you my tips and advice on how to earn some extra income for your family, and even how to turn trading used goods into your part time or full time job!

In 2012 more than ever we are consuming products faster than we can make them. As I'm sure you have noticed this economic depression has lead to a large amount of stores closing. The used market is still thriving strong and I am going to share with you why you should be and how you can be involved in this often fascinating and extremely rewarding market!

I will break this article down into sections so you can refer to your desired section in the future for ease of use. The sections will be the following.

  • Why should you get involved in the used goods market?
  • What item's should you pick up while you are learning the ropes?
  • Where to buy items from?
  • Tips on when to purchase certain categories of items.
  • Where to sell the items you have?
  • Tips on how to add character and value to your items.

Why should you get involved in the used goods market?

As mentioned above major stores are closing down due to economic pressure. More now than ever the need to repair and use items that are in good condition but cheaper is higher than ever. Used goods more often than not are unwanted items that people want sell to use the money for their life. A large portion of people think used items are always unwanted junk that no one would want, but as the saying goes "one man's rubbish, is another man's treasure" and this is more than true in the used goods markets.

I personally make a living off of selling items that were purchased from others at a lower price than the market values them at and resell them for a profit, pretty simple rules of economics here, buy low sell high, buy when others are selling, sell when others are buying.

What item's should you pick up while you are learning the ropes?

When you are starting out you may not have a large amount of money to spare to purchase your items. Don't let this hinder you from getting stuck in! I will list some of the items that you can pick up for a good price and make a good profit on.

  • Special Edition DVD's - This is one of my "expert" areas. I started off my business with them. Look for boxed editions of DVD's, Special Editions (Multiple discs with special features, Signed DVD's, Slip Covered DVD's, "Classic" films in good condition.
  • Video Games - I make a large chunk of my income from video games. You can often find them cheap and sell them for a modest profit but they are cheap so you can buy more and sell more volume thus increasing your earnings. Again look out for newer releases and check the market price regularly.
  • Jewellery - You can usually find jewellery that isn't the most aesthetic but the weight in scrap metal could be more than the amount you paid for the jewellery. Buying hand made jewellery can also make a profit too if you can find it at the right price.
  • Clothing - Clothing is something you can pick up for next to nothing! Look for good quality baby clothes, sporting shirts (with names/numbers on the back of players that are no longer at a club can fetch money if you're lucky), Named brands. I usually pick up clothing in bulk and resell them as single items on eBay for a good profit.
  • Trust Your Gut - If you have a feeling that you see an item you like or think is worth more than the price tag, trust yourself and take the risk. You never know it could be that once in a life time item!

Where to buy items from?

This is where people get lost in the market and start to question if they can actually make money by doing this. While on the hunt for items you will more often than not come across items that literally are junk and have no market for resale, but don't let this deter you.

I have found the best places to buy from are the following.

  • Car Boot/Garage Sales - Search around your local area for these sales, this is where I get a large amount of my items from. People are usually selling items to get a quick sale, regardless of their value on the market. This is the best place to find special/first editions!
  • Second Hand/Thrift Stores - Again the same as the above, on the odd occasion you can find an item that is being sold by a store way under it's market value. Make conversation with the owners of the store and see if they will give you a discount on multiple purchases.
  • eBay - eBay is really hit and miss with finding items for resale. The best advice I can give is to only buy items that are in an auction bid. Buy items that are in a bulk/job lot. e.g. 20 pairs of jeans. If you research the listings you can usually find some good deals.
  • Friends & Family - Ask your friends and family if they have any unwanted items that you can buy from them for a reasonable price. If someone you know is having a clear out check what they are throwing out, you never know what gems might be heading for the dump!
  • Items Around The House - More often than not we all have a good amount of unused and unwanted items around our house, you can use these to gain yourself the starting money to begin your journey!

Tips on when to purchase certain categories of items.

This section is quite self explanatory across the board once you understand the concept. I will give you a list of some examples. The Concept here is simple. Buy when everyone is selling, sell when everyone is buying.

Season Timing - If you buy item's such as summer clothing, sunglasses, garden ware, gardening tools etc it would make sense to sell these items in the months of the year that people will use them, meaning they are more likely to buy them. You can pick up summer type items cheaper in the Autumn and Winter seasons as people will be selling them cheap to make room in their homes. The same theory applies to winter type items buy them in spring/summer for the best deals and sell them for maximum profit in the winter months! If you are looking to sell items that people will purchase for Christmas gifts or items such as wrapping paper, tape etc it is best to buy these months before the Christmas buying period and sell when everyone is buying.

Release Dates - The next timing to watch when purchasing items is media items. The media timing is essential for making maximum profit. If a new Harry Potter film is out in theatres then this will be the best time to sell all of your Harry Potter items, pretty simple right? If a new complete or special edition of a game you are selling for example is about to come out then you need to be aware of the better editions release date and sell your version months before it is released to prevent a loss of profit.

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Where to sell the items you have?

This is one of the more daunting areas of buying and selling used items. More often than not you will buy items that sit around for months without a sale, this doesn't mean that the item is useless and was a waste of money, it means you just aren't advertising it to the right market. I will list some of the better places to sell your items.

  • eBay - This speaks for itself, security of purchasing a good quality item, from a trusted seller, one of the biggest markets on earth to sell items. The downside to eBay is the increasing prices of fee's and trusting your items in the postal services hands.
  • Carboot/Garage Sales - You bought items from here so you can sell them here! You can make a good mark up here without having to pay the fee's and postage costs of eBay. Here you allow people to physically see an item and make a better judgement of whether to make the purchase.
  • Advertising Services - Make use of sites such as Gumtree and Craigslist. You can advertise items on here and it is another way of advertising your items. The downsides to these sites are you tend to get a large amount of time wasters and scammers, so be careful with who you deal with.
  • Experts & Collectors - If you have an item that is unique then get it valued and if it is valuable then contact local collectors and experts and arrange a meeting to show your items and close in on sealing the deal.

Tips on how to add character and value to your items.

If you manage to get a good deal on an item then you can add some value to and character! I will list some things you can do to increase the two.

  • Clean Your Items - Clean your DVD cases, cleaning your clothes, ironing your clothes etc just think, would you buy an item that was dirty and looked neglected? Try to improve an items appearance as best you can. If you have an item that is worth allot of money take it to someone who could possibly restore the item to add value.
  • Stories - If you bought an item that was old and had a story behind how it was obtained or made etc make sure you remember this story and tell it to your potential buyer! This can add depth and character to your item and could once again seal you a good deal. I have sold items that people have bought just because the story behind it was interesting and the buyer wanted to share the story with friends, so bought the item to better tell the story.
  • Pictures - If you are selling your items online make sure that you take the best quality pictures that you can, use backgrounds that enhance detail on a particular item, no shadows in pictures, no bright reflections etc. Take multiple pictures if you can to highlight any damage or unique features.
  • Descriptions - This can make or break a sale. Give the best possible description of the item you are selling possible. Research what you are selling to the point where you know everything there is to know. There is nothing more awkward than buying an item from someone that doesn't know what it is worth or even what the item is used for.
  • Research - I saved the best till last! Research, research and more research. You NEED to know the market for the items you are selling to make a profit. You could easily slip up and sell and item for far less than it's actual value, and the opposite buy an item for a price that far exceeds it's market value.

Follow me on twitter for regular updates of my work! @_AdamOwen

Thank you for taking the time to read the hub! If you have any questions or any tips to add, then please post them in the comment section below and maybe we can all learn something new.

Some of My Other Work -

The Human Skeleton

The Effect of Motivation on Sports Performance

The Functions of Muscles


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    • profile image

      Johnb137 3 years ago

      Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. akkcdbdegedk

    • profile image

      menyor 4 years ago

      more grease 2 ur elbows i really like ur write ups oops!

    • profile image

      Jackie 4 years ago

      check out where you can buy and sell unused items, make some extra cash or get something you've always wanted

    • profile image

      vipul 4 years ago

      Great bussinesssssss

    • Codebreak profile image

      Gwendolyne Black 4 years ago from Erwin, TN

      Great Hub!

    • weightlossgossips profile image

      Lisa Joshua 4 years ago from Singapore

      Great post... I seriously enjoyed it. Thank you :)

    • VictoriaSheffield profile image

      Author Victoria Sheffield 5 years ago from Georgia

      very nice article!

    • mdcarattini profile image

      Michael Carattini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Great tips! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Ti 5 years ago

      I haven't used this but a friend suggested it and it looks good:

    • profile image

      sherry2012 5 years ago

      I was very excited to find this hub and it's useful information. I have been trying to build a business doing this very thing. It seems that our biggest challenge is marketing our website. Any advice on marketing our site would be great. We have been researching this for a while. I would also welcome anyone who would go to the site and offer critiques (good or bad). We purchase from individuals, estate sales, flea markets and yard sales. (

    • Free2writ3 profile image

      Free2writ3 5 years ago from Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania

      Thanks for sharing this hub. I'll definitely try out these ideas.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      I used to sell on ebay. I really need to get back to it.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      Well written and useful Hub. Buying used items always saves our lot of money, and sellers of used items also make a lot of money.

    • Adamowen profile image

      Adamowen 5 years ago from England

      @monicamelendez I'm glad that you could take something from the hub :)

    • monicamelendez profile image

      monicamelendez 5 years ago from Salt Lake City

      I have a TON of stuff that I really need to sell. I need to get on that. Thanks for a push in the right direction, even though that's not exactly what you're saying in the hub.

    • Adamowen profile image

      Adamowen 5 years ago from England

      @JamesPeters, Thank you for the feedback! I'm glad you could take something from it.

    • James Peters profile image

      James Timothy Peters 5 years ago from Hammond, Indiana

      This is like the coolest hub...really.

      This is an awesome, interesting, helpful Hub...right on!

    • profile image

      anthony 5 years ago

      Are there certain web sites that can tell you the market value, or if it is an antique/collectible?

    • profile image

      sellhousefastusa 5 years ago from Sell house for cash in new york , brooklyn, queens, long island, bronx & nationwide !

      Very helpful especially for those who are financially burdened and those home owners having problems making their mortgage payments

    • Adamowen profile image

      Adamowen 6 years ago from England

      @Dappledesigns It isn't something that happens all the time but sometimes you can get a good amount for scrap metal. Furniture is a great way to go! I recently started with office chairs and desks. Thank you for the feedback.

    • dappledesigns profile image

      dappledesigns 6 years ago from In Limbo between New England and the Midwest

      great article! I wouldn't have even thought about buying jewelry for weighted scrap metal. We have been buying beat up furniture (mostly wood), refurbishing them and selling them via craigslist.

    • Adamowen profile image

      Adamowen 6 years ago from England

      @Mariale2003 Thank you for the feedback!

    • mariale2003 profile image

      mariale2003 6 years ago

      GREAT and useful hub...You are a master selling this items!!! Thank you for sharing!!!