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How To Find Items to Sell on eBay

By Edited Sep 21, 2016 1 1

Over the years, millions of people have used eBay to help clear out their garages, attics, and basements.  However, if you are seriously looking into making a business from this website, you need the one thing that separates the men from the boys in this industry: volume.

If you are seriously considering making eBay one of your primary sources of industry, you will find that scaling this business is very hard.  After all, you have to be interested in selling almost anything, and if your supply of items runs out, then so too does your income.

Obviously not knowing where your next items (and therefore next pay check) is coming from can be really stressful.  However, I have gotten past this fear, and know that I can always find new items to sell, regardless of where I am or what time of year it is.  You can get to this point too- and anyone with a dedicated attitude and willingness to keep on learning can too.

The real key to having a constant stock of items to sell online is variety.  You want to be sourcing items from a bunch of different places.  This way, if any of these sources go cold, you've got others to fall back on.  Included below are some of best sources of new inventory.


If this was 1999, then I might be seeing the local newspaper classified ads.  However, it's not, and thanks to Craigslist, you can search everyone close by to you that has stuff to sell.  There is always a bunch of people, regardless of where you live, that are willing to let go of items for less than they are worth- perfect opportunities for you to resell.

When you are first starting out, you may think that items on Craigslist on overpriced, making it hard to find items to resell.  Remember that this is a market where bartering is extremely common.  Most sellers will price their items much higher than they actually want, just so they can be "argued down" to the price they actually are looking for.

Obviously you can buy any types of items from Craigslist, and different areas will have success in different fields.  Just remember to stay safe and do your best to avoid scams, and you will be just fine.

Yard/Garage Sales

yard sale

Hopefully it's warm when you're reading this!  Or you live in one of those places where cold is nothing but a state of mind.  Garage sales can be a gold mine for finding items to resell.  This is because when people are holding yard sales, they just want to get rid of a bunch of stuff.  Prices are negotiable, they'll be willing to work with you if you're buying a lot, and you just never know what you might find.

It's also more likely when you go to garage sales that the sellers will have a lot of valuable stuff priced low.  You have to be willing to study the value of items in a variety of niches, but if you do your homework, it will be well worth it.  If it's currently cold where you live, then wait out and spend the winter learning about different stuff to look out for once people start spring cleaning.

Thrift Stores

You've probably seen some of the TV shows where people go into thrift stores and try and find items to flip and resell on eBay or elsewhere.  While these TV shows are almost entirely set up, and you aren't likely to find rare vintage art pieces worth $1000+, you can still make lots of money from thrift stores.

The real key to being successful with thrift store hunting is consistency.  Remember that these places are constantly having new items donated, and you will have your good and bad days.  Sometimes, there's a lot of junk.  Sometimes, you have the wealthiest man in the state feeling generous and unloading a truck full of valuables.

Also- if you plan on reselling long term, learn to recognize quality clothing.  Even on a bad day, if you know clothing well, you can find some good pieces at nearly every thrift store.  Since the key here is to visit thrift stores often, you want to at least make each trip worthwhile.  Clothes can practically give you a guarantee.

Flea Markets

Flea markets can be very hit or miss, but like thrift stores, the key is consistency.  Lots of times with flea markets you will find that the prices are way too high if you are looking to resell.  However, it gives you a chance to see a wide array of valuable and cool pieces, the types of stuff you won't run into at thrift stores.

If nothing else, you can look at flea markets as a valuable learning opportunity.

Plus, if you have one niche that you know very well, and you can find flea markets that specialize in that kind of item, then you just might be able to make some profits from them anyway.

Retail Stores

You have probably read about, seen stories on, or at least heard of "retail arbitrage".  What this basically means is that you are going into big name retail stores like Walmart, Target, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Sears, and the like, and finding buying a bunch of stuff to sell online at inflated prices.


There is lots of money to be made in retail arbitrage, however, there are a few important factors to keep in mind before you go and blow a bunch of money with this endeavor.  I always like to remind beginners that retail arbitrage is also the quickest way to lose a lot of money.

Remember that you are going to have to invest more money when sourcing items from retail stores.  This comes with the territory- the average store item costs more than the average thrift store item.

Also, you have to make sure that there is a market and solid demand before you start investing money into buying a bunch of Target clearance.  These stores are out to make money, so maybe the reason that they have all of these items for sale so cheap is because nobody is buying them.

eBay Business All-in-One For Dummies
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Feb 25, 2014 1:47pm
Some great Ideas. Thanks. Do you have any tip for finding manufacturer of goods so that you can sell new items?
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