Recycling isn't just about bottles and cans — with a little entrepreneurial ingenuity, you can create a thriving side hustle by flipping a number of different items for significant profits.
Here, we'll reveal the best items to flip so you can start selling both used and new items for revenue ranging from $100 to $5,000 per month.
What Is Flipping?
Not familiar with flipping already? Don't sweat it — we'll explain everything you need to know.
Simply put, flipping is the practice of reselling something for a higher price than it was originally sold for. If you're a fan of HGTV, then you already know all about house flipping: real estate investors purchase a home, renovate it, and sell it for a profit.
But flipping isn't just for houses. By researching the best things to flip for money (and choosing the right marketplace), you can also earn a profit by reselling items you either already own or can buy for cheap.
If you're interested in flipping items, you'll be glad to know that there's no shortage of secondhand shoppers. According to thredUP's 2021 annual resale report, an impressive 223 million consumers said they have purchased or are open to purchasing secondhand products:
That translates to 86 percent of those surveyed, a whopping 16 percent increase from the previous year. So suffice to say that item flipping has the potential to be a lucrative side hustle, the market for which is only growing.
The 15 Best Items to Flip
Now you know about flipping and how popular it currently is, but if you're interested in flipping items yourself, then you likely still have two burning questions:
What is the most profitable item to flip?
What is the easiest thing to flip?
To help you find the answers to both, we've rounded up 15 items you can easily flip for up to $5,000 per month.
Whether you're simply looking to clean out your closet or want to turn reselling into a part-time gig, apparel of all kinds is perfect for flipping.
The demand for used clothing is certainly there — as per the thredUP report mentioned above, the secondhand apparel market is expected to grow from $36 billion in 2021 to $77 billion in 2025:
If you choose to take a casual approach to flipping clothes, you could make about $100 per month by selling lightly used pieces from your own closet via platforms such as thredUP and Depop.
But if you commit to scouring secondhand shops for rare and in-demand items, then you could feasibly make about $1,000 per month — one savvy reseller makes $800 per month just by selling thrift store clothes on eBay.
Whether digital or film, cameras are undoubtedly one of the best items to flip, thanks to their typically high price-to-size ratio. For instance, a film camera barely bigger than a deck of cards, such as the Contax T2, can sell for well over $1,000 on eBay.
If you're able to flip a handful of cameras per month, you can easily earn a couple hundred dollars or more. And if your local thrift stores don't stock many cameras, Goodwill's online shop is a fantastic (and cheap!) alternative.
3. Smartphones, Tablets and Tech Accessories
It's no secret that the U.S. market for tech products is blazing hot. For instance, the number of American smartphone users is expected to grow to over 311 million by 2025 (that's about 90 percent of the country's predicted population for that same year):
With that massive number of tech users comes a lot of used tech products, many of which you can resell for a profit. After all, the global used smartphone market is projected to reach $39 billion by 2025.
If you focus on finding and flipping products that retain the maximum amount of value, such as smartphones, tablets and accessories from major brands, you could make some serious cash. To find out exactly how, check out Flipsy's in-depth phone flipping guide. They estimate that if you sell 10 phones per week with a profit margin of $50 each, then you'll be able to earn $2,000 per month.
4. Exercise Equipment
From treadmills to stationary bikes to weight sets, exercise equipment tends to be bulky, heavy and inconvenient to move. That means sellers may be eager to part with theirs for an extra-low price, which means an excellent reselling opportunity for you.
For example, a stationary bike you buy for $20 at a yard sale could be sold for $50 on Facebook Marketplace.
So depending on the number of equipment items you're able to find and resell, you could start making several hundred dollars per month.
5. Household Appliances
Just like exercise equipment, household appliances are generally heavy and can take up a great deal of space. That makes sellers extra motivated, giving you a chance to swoop in a purchase undervalued appliances before selling them for a profit.
If the appliances you find are broken, you're not out of luck either — a nearby salvage yard or recycling plant will likely be willing to pay for the scrap metal.
By selling a handful of appliances per month, you could make at least a couple hundred dollars or more.
6. Used Books
Amazon got its start selling books, and so can you. Books are often available at thrift stores and on local marketplaces for ultra-low prices but can fetch a much higher price when sold either online or to a bookstore.
Not sure where to start or which books will sell? Textbooks are a relatively safe bet, with the used textbook market clocking in at several billion dollars.
You can get them from thrift stores, marketplace apps or even college students you know personally and sell them either locally or via an online platform. Amazon even has a complete guide to help you get started.
How much money can you make? Some experienced book resellers report making $40 to $50 for every $10 spent. Using that benchmark, you could turn a $500 monthly investment into about $1,500 in monthly revenue.
7. Designer Bags
If you already have a collection of high-end bags (lucky you!) or are willing to spend the time required to find good deals on them, you can make extra money by selling them to fashion-inclined buyers.
There are even specialized platforms dedicated to helping pre-owned bags find new owners. On Rebag, for example, used designer purses often sell for thousands of dollars.
If you're able to resell multiple ultra high-end bags per month, you could make $5,000 or even more. Even if you opt to sell mid-range bags instead, you could still make hundreds of dollars each month.
8. Vintage Jewelry
Just like tech products, vintage jewelry pieces can pack a lot of value into a small package, making them some of the best things to flip for money.
Plus, you can find such jewelry at a variety of places. Whether you prefer to scour estate sales, thrift shops, online platforms, flea markets or your own stash of secondhand pieces, you're sure to find something you can resell for a profit.
Your selling options are flexible, too, from general digital marketplaces like eBay and Etsy to specialized services like Worthy.
Depending on the quality and quantity of the jewelry you're able to source, you could make anywhere from a couple hundred dollars per month to a few thousand.
Revamped secondhand furniture is a popular choice for multiple reasons. It's highly customizable, it can be sold for anything from a few bucks to a few hundred dollars per piece, and there's likely plenty of inventory to choose from at local thrift stores.
Hint: if you already enjoy painting, sanding and the other types of activities that go hand-in-hand with improving old furniture, then this might be the perfect type of flipping for you.
According to some sources, most casual furniture flippers make between $50 and $500 per month. But if you decide to get serious, you may be able to make significantly more than that.
If you pay attention to fashion trends, then you might already know that sneakers are a hot commodity. In fact, the sneaker resale industry is estimated to be worth more than $2 billion in the U.S. alone.
Want to try your hand at sneaker flipping? Expert sneaker reseller Bryson Honjo has a lengthy YouTube playlist designed to help beginners get started.
If you're successful, you could even turn your side hustle into a full-time gig — Honjo said in an interview that he's seen resellers make up to $50,000 per year (that's over $4,000 per month) simply by listing sneakers on reselling apps, no social media presence required.
11. Video Games, DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs
Entertainment never goes out of style, and with modern technology, there are more ways to get it than ever. Why not capitalize on that fact by reselling video games, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs?
Each one you sell isn't likely to command a high price, but if you sell as many as possible, then those profits will quickly add up.
These items are some of the easiest to sell, too. That's because they're readily available for ultra-low prices at thrift stores and via platforms like Facebook Marketplace, don't take up a lot of space and readily fit in a standard mailer.
Just be sure to only purchase games or movies that you know customers are after (major titles are typically a safe choice), and always test each one to ensure it works before selling.
Are you a car (or RV or truck) aficionado who has decent mechanical skills and doesn't shy away from negotiation? Then you could be making thousands of dollars each month by selling used vehicles.
The kind of vehicles you sell can vary greatly. For example, if you live in an area known for its outdoor activities, then it could be the most lucrative to sell ATVs or jet skis. But if you live in a region with lots of commuters, then selling cars could net you higher profits.
No matter which type of vehicle you choose, just be sure to research your state's auto sale laws and find out how to protect yourself as a private seller.
13. Baby Gear
There's a thriving industry behind baby-related products. In the U.S., consumers spent multiple billions of dollars on diapers, feeding and care accessories, travel supplies, toys and gifts in 2020 alone:
But babies grow up fast, so it's no surprise that all those products don't necessarily stay in the same family for long. Instead, they get donated to thrift stores or sold at garage sales.
Here's where you come in: if you buy that baby gear for cheap and resell it online, you can earn a profit while simultaneously helping families find high-quality baby products at an affordable price.
Start by checking your chosen selling platform to see what's popular, then begin browsing nearby yard sales and secondhand stores.
14. Musical Instruments
From electronic keyboards to guitars to trumpets, there are often plenty of musical instruments to be found floating around both digital and brick-and-mortar thrift stores.
Use that to your advantage by nabbing those instruments and selling them for a higher price. This is even easier if you can find instruments from major brands like Yamaha and Gibson, whose products people are usually willing to pay more for.
15. Power Tools and Yard Equipment
Given that Home Depot's website is one of the 10 most popular retail sites in the world, it shouldn't come as a shock that power tools, yard equipment and other home improvement supplies are some of the best items to flip.
You can start by checking thrift stores and garage sales for items like drills, lawnmowers, circular saws, power washers and the like. After purchasing them, you can sell them online using a site like eBay or locally using a site like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
Just keep in mind that the bigger and heavier the tool, the more it will cost to ship to long-distance buyers.
With a little determination and an eye for value, you can take cheap secondhand finds and turn them into cold, hard cash. Whether you decide to flip Chanel bags, baby strollers or anything in between, your next profitable side hustle is only as far as the nearest thrift store.
And to get you started on your adventure, download our free Side Hustle Checklist — you'll get a detailed list of everything you need to do to begin.
Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.