HOUSTON – There's a simple way to make quick cash and we think just about anyone can do it. Have you ever heard of flipping? You buy something at a thrift store or garage sale and you resell it to make money.
Flipping is a great way to add to your income, but you have to know what to look for. It's like a citywide scavenger hunt and the prize is quick cash in your pocket.
"I love getting out in the thrift store, trying to find the hidden treasures," thrift shopper Jen Meneely said. "It's kind of like gambling. I love gambling."
"It is a great way to make money, but you really have to know your product," Pippa Williams said.
Williams and Meneely met at a thrift shop and hit it off. They started shopping together right away and then created the website and blog Too Cheap Blondes. They don't typically "flip" items, but they certainly know what to look for.
"There are people out there who do this to supplement their income. There are others that do it full time and make a lot of money doing it," Williams said.
Good items to flip include furniture, artwork, books and kitchen items. The "Too Cheap Blondes" think the easiest item to flip is clothing.
"Do your research, know exactly what brands sell really well and you can flip quick," Meneely said.
Williams recently found a Tommy Hilfiger jacket from the 1990s with a huge flag on the front.
"These are so hot right now," she said. "The thing that makes this so valuable is it has the big logo flag. I found this for $2 at a Family Thrift Store and this is going to sell anywhere from $300 to $400 on Ebay."
Other popular resale brands include Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Burberry and Levi's jean jackets and vests.
How do you know if the item will make money? Go to Ebay and type in the name of the item. Filter the "sold" items and you will see how much they are actually being sold for. That will help you decide if it would be worth it to try to resell the item you find.
"Thrift stores are a treasure trove for high-quality, vintage, solid wood furniture," Meneely said.
As you probably know, companies just don't make furniture the way they used to. There is always solid wood furniture at thrift stores and often it's something you can buy and resell for a profit.
"The average price on, say, a solid wood buffet is about $120 to $150, which might seem like a lot,"
Meneely said. "Some of these don't even need to be updated. Just, you happen to be the one to find it. You can sell this easily for $400 to $500."
Chairs with fabric that can be easily recovered are also great items to flip. People who recover and upholster furniture frequently look to buy vintage furniture to fix up and sell. You can often grab a chair for $20 to $40 and sell it for an easy $100.
You'll find artwork in just about any thrift store. Look for original works of art. Shopping local is prime for finding artists specific to the area where you live, and you can sell the art online to someone in a different area of the country.
"This is an artist out of Santa Fe who is famous for her watercolors," Meneely said. "I think these have a value of around $300 and they are here at the Salvation Army for $2.99."
Meneely and Williams recently paid $10 for an original piece from a Houston artist worth $2,500. They listed it on a Facebook trading group and sold it the same day for $100. They said that while they knew it was worth a lot more, they were just happy to get a quick buck instead of sitting on it and waiting for a higher bidder.
Plenty of people have a nostalgic memory of a kitchen gadget or item that was at their grandmother's house. Because of that, vintage kitchen items often sell for a great price.
For example, KPRC Channel 2 News found Starbucks mugs for $2, and they are selling for $30 on Ebay.
Pewter items often resell well, too. A $3 pair of pewter bunny salad servers from Mexico are listed for $40 online.
"It's the thrill of the hunt," Williams said.
For smaller items, you can easily ship, Ebay is your best bet, because you are selling to a wider audience. You end up paying about 20 percent
For larger items, such as furniture, try neighborhood Facebook selling groups or Craigslist. Take precautions when meeting people you are working with through the sites. The Houston Police Department has a safe zone system set up for people who are meeting to exchange items sold online. They encourage people to use parking lots of police stations around town. Officers are not allowed to help out with the transaction.
25+ places to sell your items
- Etsy - vintage only, i.e., old lunchbox
- Offerup - App
- Listia - App, various items
- Depop - Clothing
- Gone - Electronic trading app
- Vinted - Clothing
- Chairish - Furniture, art
- Decluttr - Electronics, game consoles, books, DVDs, refurbishables
- Close5 - Antiques, home goods, automobiles
- Trove - Furniture, decor
- Hoobly - Specializes in dog trading
- 5miles - Various items
- Carousell - has a smaller grouping option on the website
Physical locations for "flipping"
- Once upon a Child - Plato's Closet for children
- Buffalo exchange - Physical location
- Plato's closet - Physical location
Old-fashioned yard sale - Yard sale apps available or self-advertise with personal social media platform: