Think Small Earn Big


When you are looking for a way to supplement your income or even shift away from your current job and into an entirely different career, it can be a real challenge. After all, you may be thinking that you need a bigger income or one equal to what you make now. That could, potentially, be a substantial sum and if the opportunities available don’t seem to offer such sums, it can feel quite defeating. The good news is that you don’t have to be discouraged. There are many ways to think small and still earn big.

In this article, we’ll focus on the ways anyone can begin making money reselling a wide array of items – some obtained for free and some purchased with the intention to resell.

We are going to look at the many kinds of materials that can generate steady income, but we are also going beyond the raw materials approach. That is not to say that you cannot begin making money reselling things like metals, cans and bottles, and other similar goods. There is quite a bit of cash in those activities, and we have even written entire articles on ways that collecting cans can supplement or even replace the income you earn from the proverbial “day job”.

However, making money from reselling can go far beyond the most obvious methods.

How to Make Money Reselling Items Around the Home or Office

So, if you want to discover how to make money reselling items of various kinds, the first step is to take a sharp look around the home. In our recent article on Simple Ways to Make Treasure Hunting a New Career, we briefly considered “house-combing”. We explained that it involved a somewhat ruthless examination of every single item in your home and making a determination to “keep, toss, sell or donate”. Much like moving experts advise you to pack each room using a similar method, this is also a way of identifying potentially valuable goods.

Now, you might limit your thinking to things like electronics, collectibles, art, games, books and other similar items. However, we also pointed out that pocket change can be potentially lucrative (with some coins being nearly pure silver or copper as well as valuable because of scarcity or flaws) as well as areas in the house you might rarely explore (dreary attics, dark and dank basements and surprisingly prolific crawlspaces).

What we skipped in that article, though are the household items that most people can use to convert to cash. In our article on that particular subject, we looked at:

  • Ink and toner cartridges
  • Cans and bottles
  • Batteries
  • Used wine corks
  • Electronics

Though it may seem that recycling your own items of this kind is your only option, there are many who bring in a steady income by developing businesses or programs around them. As an example, those who wish to make an effort to get friends, neighbors, co-workers and even entire companies to hand over their used inkjet and laser cartridges can take in substantial amounts from doing so. Through websites like Toner Buyer and eCycle it is possible to get cash or credit for your efforts.

The same goes for cans and bottles. You have your own to recycle (and those given to you by friends or neighbors), but everything left at the curb (including recycling cans) is in the public domain. If you go about making regular collections in the pre-dawn hours before trash pickup, you can start to amass tidy sums. You can also pickup cans at parks, sports arenas and concert venues or the workplace. You might even work with towns or local groups to establish cans that you maintain in exchange for the monies those recyclables generate.

And if you are eager to making money reselling, old car batteries are also quite lucrative, though you make small sums on each individual battery. Start with your own household (and maybe that of a few friends). As one famous penny pincher wrote, “Whether you have a dead battery or one that was only purchased a few months ago, you can sell it for cash. While some vendors will pay you a flat-rate, you may consider selling your newer batteries for top dollar to buyers that are looking for a good battery without having to pay the core charge or brand-new retail price commanded by an auto parts store.”

That means you can find potential buyers at local auto parts stores, junk yards, and metal recyclers as well as repair shops.

And the used wine corks? If you have ever gone to Pinterest or Etsy, it is likely you’ve seen plenty of items made using old wine corks. From wall art to door mats and trivets, the corks are a wonderful material. However, most people don’t consume enough wine to meet their crafting needs and that means they are eager to buy them from decent resources. You can become a sort of middle man for such exchanges. Using sites like eBay as well as simply keeping an open request for wine corks from friends, family members, colleagues and local restaurants, you might amass large numbers of them on a regular basis. Craigslist and freecycle are also good spots to post “wanted ads” for freebies and see what that yields.

A single bag of around 100 of them nets you around $15 (on average), and could be well worth the time of making the ask just once and getting hundreds of corks on an ongoing basis.

So, there are some remarkably simple ways to think small and earn big from efforts around the home or office. Yet, you can continue making money reselling in many other ways.

Think Small Earn Big

How to Make Money Reselling Items

While there are a lot of folks in the world who make money reselling all of their finds on sites like eBay, I have an aunt who has been hosting a (seemingly) endless yard sale for decades. I didn’t realize she did this for a long time, and then one summer during a holiday, I realized that my aunt’s garage was a perpetual assortment of nice items for sale.

Teenagers are great at being self-focused and it had taken me that long in life to realize that my aunt had never talked about a day job and had always had the garage sale. I asked her about it, and she said, “Yes, I spend time going to yard sales, auctions, estate sales, thrift shops and church rummage sales. I buy the nicest things at low prices and then come here and sell them.” Yet, her biggest tip was to wait to go to these spots until the very last minute when most sellers would give her many items for a pittance, and quite often for free.

Her reputation for quality goods was such that she made a tidy profit on everything she purchased or acquired, and it had kept her financially comfortable for years after her husband had passed away.

She was in a great spot for regular yard sales and saw regulars as well as weekend warriors. That was a key to success, though; a good location. If you have a good spot to store goods (i.e. a garage) and an area friendly to yard sales, it is the ideal way to turn any acquisition into profit without the hassles of a business license, and all the rest.

Regular yard sales could be your ideal way to resell for money. You can spend time acquiring low-cost goods and hosting sales at the “big weekends” of the spring, summer and fall seasons.

You can also use liquidation opportunities in this same manner. There are any number of sites through which you can buy wholesale lots and surplus flats of goods. There is a lot involved in this, but it could be an ideal venue for someone with an Amazon store, eBay store and home-based “sales channel” such as yard sales or sites at flea markets.

You will need to dedicate time learning about the right goods to buy, and be sure you have the space to sell them and the cash to use to purchase them. However, it is a very lucrative field for those willing to do the research. For example, one dumpster diver indicates that they make hundreds on the discarded makeup they get from dumpsters. Yet, imagine how much more is possible when the goods are in original packaging and available in multiples. This is what liquidation sales allow – though, unlike dumpster diving, the goods are not free of charge to you as the seller.

Making Money Reselling to Targeted Buyers

In our articles on dumpster diving, we explain that you can do it many different ways, and one of them is to look for costly goods that you can often resell to interested buyers. For instance, we have looked at several successful dumpster divers who look for building materials that they then sell almost immediately to professionals in need of such goods.

What this means, though, is that if you want to make money reselling to specialty buyers, you need to already know about them. Not many of us can keep a collection of building materials, flooring, light fixtures and other big items in our garages until we find a good buyer.

Take time to find flooring companies, building companies (especially those doing renovations and restorations), salvage yards, pawn shops, construction resale shops, and even consignment stores. They might all be able to hand over some quick cash once they resell or use the goods you have obtained for free.

Again, if you develop viable sales channels, specialty buyers eager to invest specific goods may also be a good way to quickly sell goods you pay for, such as those wine corks we mentioned earlier, or the items you might acquire in liquidation sales.

How to Make Money Reselling Items You Love to Talk or Write About

Lastly, we come to my personal favorite in terms of making money reselling, and that is to look at the goods that can be resold (of which there are many) and choose one or two areas of particular interest to you. For example, I love clothing and so the idea of reselling clothes has special appeal.

I might buy at yard sales and via online channels. I could explore options for liquidation purchases and charity shops. As I have an eye for brands and even vintage garments, it could be easy for me to assemble a large number of goods that would appeal to others. I could stop there, but why not also boost my profitability by beginning to blog about reselling clothes and making a website about it.

This would create a second sales platform for me and enable me to find other opportunities related to clothing. For example, there are now virtual stylist jobs through sites like Bombfell, Stitch,  FixJustFab, Dia&Co, Trunk ClubKeaton Row, and RueLaLa.

I could even take my interest in reselling clothes into the affiliate marketing niche by selling items related to clothing. Everything from closet systems and gear for maintaining clothing to specialty cleaning products and unique accessories could be a part of my way of thinking in small segments but earning big from each.

Getting Started

To make sure you take away the most significant points from this article, let’s do a quick review:

  • You should look around you to see where opportunities for reselling exist.
  • Most of us can start small selling unwanted and/or unused items from around the home.
  • We can all look at the materials which are candidates for recycling, but which come with cash. Ink cartridges, metals, batteries, old electronics, and even oddities like old corks can be converted to cash.
  • When you find a ready supply of items to resell, it is a wise idea to establish it as a regular sales channel (i.e. if everyone from work gives you a consistent supply of corks – like 25 or more per week, you can easily sell them at the end of the month with just a few clicks of the mouse and a visit to eBay).
  • You also want to research and establish sales channels. This could be online, or it could be specialty buyers.
  • You also want to look at the way you can expand on your reselling. You start small by buying clothing to resell online. Soon, you have a popular Etsy or eBay shop. That means you can create a blog about fashion and start to make money by using affiliate services. You might even find online work as a virtual stylist due to your blogging and sales!

If you don’t go too big in your imagination and just start small, you can eventually earn big enough to make your interests your full-time career!


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