Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Melissa S.
I am a recent convert to charity shop fashion after taking part in SecondHand September. However I have been selling and reselling on ebay for over a year now, and around 80% of my listings are not clothing, bags or shoes.
Whether you are shopping for yourself, or for reselling, you may be wondering what to buy secondhand, and what is better off left on the shelf. Here are my favourite 6 things to buy secondhand, or at least look out for in the charity shops.
You can get some absolute bargain books, especially children’s books. My favourite find was a practically new hardback copy of 10 Horrid Henry stories for 50p for my daughter. The cover price was £12.99. Obviously, children outgrow books quickly and so there always seems to be a good selection.
Hardback recipe books are also a favourite – if the title is a couple of years old you can often find copies of it at your local charity shops.
If you know what you are looking for you can find some vintage titles that are worth a lot. I found an annual from 1976 that I bought for 33p and sold for £18! This was a fluke though and I don’t tend to look for them to resell.
However, some people make a fortune selling books on Amazon. Here’s an interesting story if you’d like to look into it.
Art / Pictures
I’m not a fan of having the same carbon copy Ikea print of black & white pebbles or New York skyline on my walls as about a million other people, so I do like to check the picture section of charity shops for something a bit more unique.
I haven’t yet managed to find anything I like enough to hang up, but that’s not to say you won’t! Even just a small retro postcard in a frame could be the perfect addition to a gallery wall. I’ll be sure to share anything I do pick up on my Instagram.
I don’t have any experience in selling pictures or postcards on eBay but a quick search shows the right items could go for a decent price.
Teacups and plates
If you are into the vintage teacup look, a charity shop is the perfect place to pick up pretty patterned cups and plates. The vintage tea party style is still popular which means these items are in demand on eBay, doing a quick sold search on comparable items can show what you can expect to get. If you are thinking of reselling, consider the postage costs and practicalities of sending delicate items such as this through the post!
Of course, for some people, it’s the investment that counts, and second-hand antique goods aren’t necessarily cheap for cheap’s sake. Some might even care for the best antique silver dealers to stock their luxury cabinet and invest in the future; but that’s totally up to you.
Music and DVDs
If you still use CD players and DVDs at home, then you can pick up some absolute bargains at the minute. As a lot of people – including myself – have culled their collections in favour of streaming, charity shops are overflowing with discs and many have offers such as 3 for £1. I really wish I had a time machine to go back to the early 2000s and stop myself paying £12.99 for a single film or album, or better still, pick up some bargains today and give them to my past self!
I wouldn’t recommend buying DVD or CDs for reselling unless you know you have found something rare – make sure you check the sold listing on eBay first. I have managed to sell a few rare CDs from my own collection for a decent amount, but I have never sought them out to resell.
Make sure you check the discs for scratches before you buy. I once opened a computer game I was planning on reselling and found the disc was actually cracked! At least I discovered this before buying!
Jigsaws and board games
Personally I would never buy an unsealed jigsaw as there is bound to be a piece or two missing, but sealed ones can fetch a few £££ or you can buy for yourself reassured the puzzle is in tact. You do tend to get quite a lot of sealed jigsaws in charity shops as they seem to feature highly in the list of unused Christmas presents that are culled in a clearout.
Board games , especially children’s games can be in abundance and you can pick up some bargains. I managed to pick up Twister for £1.99 practically unused. Of course, you should check for any missing game pieces if possible before buying.
I have made quite a bit of money selling my own computer games, as some of them turned out to be quite rare, so as a result I always check the games section of charity shops to see if there are any worthwhile titles to buy secondhand. Some don’t have any, and others just have a few copies of Fifa or Call Of Duty lugged in with the DVDs – these are not worth bothering with for reselling purposes.
As previously stated, I always do a quick sold items search to check if a game is worth reselling. Anything that you find in every shop, like the aforementioned Fifa, and Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for the DS, is definitely not!
What secondhand items do you look out for?
What else do you like to look out for at car boot sales or charity shops? Drop me a comment and let me know.
About the Author
Melissa is a working parent who left behind a senior management salary for a better work/life balance. Following her own money saving and money making strategies she was able to clear debt and live a life she loves. Blogging, selling digital products on Etsy and selling preloved items on eBay are her favourite side hustles. Read her story here.