OK, you’re looking through this website, you know that there are tons of eBay, Amazon and Etsy sellers online already with fancy stores and tons of inventory. You’re not sure where to start, and you want to jump in and start making some money. This is a good way to get your feet wet. Let me save you some time. The list below is a proven way to grab some quick cash with familiar stuff. You may have it laying around the house already, you may have a good secondhand store in your area, you may even volunteer to clean out the garage of a friend or relative that may have ‘junk’ they want to get rid of and will let you haul it off just to get it out of there.
Now to be straight-up, this won’t make you a ton of money. Yet. Unless you really have a knack and a love for this kind of thing. I know a seller who makes a fortune selling parts from lawn mowers. Just lawn mowers. He had so much business he had to hire a helper to dismantle stuff! Don’t understand it, but there it is. But this will get you started, and – who knows, you might discover a niche that you love, you have a great source, and you can get to the right customer base. Give it a try, lets see where it goes.
If you want a cheat-sheet to take with you, download it here: 10 Things To Source
- Parts from broken household appliances (like those Sunbeam Mixmasters, food processors, and bread machines). To make it easier on you, find an owner’s manual or an exploded view online to help you identify parts.
- Vintage Metal for Steampunk industrial artists: Little tiny gears and parts from watches or RC motors. Old machinery gears, cogs and sprockets. Typewriter letter keys and typebars.
- Replacement game pieces that typically get lost or chewed up by pets. Legos, vintage Fisher-Price little people, scrabble tiles, Monopoly money.
- Part out electric hand tools. Especially power cords, handles, and motors.
- Color prints, illustrations from old storybooks (think of your classic childhood stories, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie The Pooh, Peter Pan, Grimm’s Fairy Tales).
- Bundles (of related products) kits. Survival. Kids outing. Long car rides. Airplane rides. Cold Winter Nights. Warm Summer Days. Camping. Pets. (put these in a fun container).
- Abandoned Hobbies model kits you never got around to assembling.
- Bundles of CD-Audiobooks. In groups of 3 or 4, by author, or bestsellers in a particular genre, such as crime, romance, lawyers, cops, mystery, horror…
- Broken China dishes, again for artists and crafters who do mosaic or make jewelry.
- Natural resources that are common to your area. Your customers are world-wide! Not everyone lives near a beach, a lake, or a grove of oak trees. Sea glass, smooth lake stones, fossil rocks, acorn or nut shells, driftwood, hardened gnarls of seaweed, bird feathers. This could be a fun outing for you and the kids.
But the very best, and easiest thing to sell online, whether it be on eBay, Etsy or Amazon is … something I have not mentioned. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not keeping it from you. It’s literally something that is not on my list, not found with an eBay search, not available on Amazon.
It’s the thing that always breaks off, always gets lost, always wears out, and is no longer available. Something that nobody else has thought of offering. The elusive THING that you can’t find anywhere used, so you always have to buy it new.
Ring any bells? If it does – you might have a winner. Because if you have a hard time finding it, chances are, a lot of others are having a hard time finding it too.
Need a little help getting started? I got you covered…
DAY 1: Read all of this. Absorb it. Let it rattle around in your head for a day. Pick one thing to try – just one. This is important. You don’t want to go off in 7 different directions because you will overwhelm yourself and clutter your world right off the bat. One.
DAY 2 or 3: Go shopping / thrifting / scouting or mine your unused appliances cabinet or garage for likely victims. If you’re shopping, and you want to want to do kitchen appliances, see if you can get duplicates of the same appliance. If you want to do game pieces, grab all the same games. The idea here is to create as little work as possible by repeating the same task when you go to list them. You want to end up with 5-10 items to list.
DAY 4 or 5: Disassemble and clean them really well. Make them look pretty. Get a toothbrush in the cracks. Rub some olive oil on the metal pieces to smooth the surface.
DAY 6: Take photos. All sides, top and bottom. Lay them on a clean surface like a plain white towel. If you have a photo editor you can crop, but if not – be sure the item fills the whole frame. No background clutter.
DAY 7: List them on eBay. Keep your description simple and to the point. Describe the item, the size, and the condition. This is when my “pick one – and only one” caution becomes clear. The more your items are alike, the faster you can list them because you don’t have to research as much.
Here are some resources that might help:
Get USPS Priority Mail boxes sent to you free – order online
Free Planners to schedule this project into your busy week.
For the purposes of this plan, I recommend the Weekly Project Planner. But they are really cool and you might just want to grab them all.
Tools. You can buy a handyman tool kit, and you may want one to keep at home in the garage just in case, but when I am out sourcing, or I am dismantling something on the kitchen table, I find the tool I go-to the most is this little dude: Gerber Multi-Tool
Best of luck!