Thrifts stores have taken on a life of their own in many parts of the country and in my area (southwestern Ohio) there are plenty of stores to visit. Despite larger crowds, I have still found gems hidden away inside the piles of merchandise — and here are a few categories that have proven successful for me.
I am not sure what it is about Wilton pans, whether it is the quality or the subject matter, but some of these pans hold value despite being relatively new. Pans that do well are Disney characters, Star War characters and Mutant Ninja Turtles. When purchasing used pans, make sure they are clean, dent-free and preferably with the instructional insert. However, don’t pass over a valuable pan simply because it is missing the insert — collectors will still pay top dollar for high-quality rare pans.
Toys and Games
I collect board games, and have been successful on multiple occasions with vintage games. When I pick board games I look for several things: rarity of game, condition of game — especially the condition of the box — and is the game iconic or reflective of a generation. The same holds true for toys. The best approach is to specialize in what you like because it is nearly impossible to know all things about all games or toys.
Clothes & Shoes
Certain clothes and shoes can be resold for a profit as long as you buy quality, rare or iconic items. This is possibly the least profitable area, though, because unless you know a brand real well — like Birkenstock shoes for instance — you will not be able to discern the difference between the real brand and a knockoff which will damage your online credibility if you resale the item. Also, care must be taken when buying clothing to make sure it is clean, does not have excessive wear or damage, and it is in a marketable size.
Keep it Fun
Part of the fun of picking, for me anyway, is not double-checking prices and values while I’m in the store and then seeing how accurate I was when I return home. If you are not comfortable with this approach — or want to be more knowledgeable before heading out — research categories of interest. An easy way to do this is to view sold listings on auction sites to get a good feel for the most valuable items in a particular category.