Header Flower On Left

Emily Henderson

Style Play Every day
Header Flower On Right
Article Line Long1
by Caitlin Higgins
Craigslist Tips Opener
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: michael’s living room reveal

In a recent team hang out session, we found out that Caitlin, our Partnerships Director, has had a side business/hustle buying and selling furniture for years and when we prodded, which we do, she threw down knowledge that left us all writing resignation letters to EHD to explore this gamble. But I accepted no such letters and instead asked her to write a post with all her secrets and tips on how she actually MADE MONEY from this hoarder’s game. Caitlin, please educate these readers in the ways of the side hustle:

Welcome to the LAZY PERSON’s guide to starting a successful furniture side hustle, complete with all my best tips for getting the best stuff for the least amount of money and offloading it with almost no work at all. There are some people who can find a dresser on the side of the road, drag it home, refinish it, and sell it for a profit. I am not one of them. My garage is a museum of unfinished DIYs full of intent and regret (and thus shame). If you’re like me—you know, the kind of person who greatly overestimates both their general crafting ability and their capacity for physical labor—sit tight, because I got you. 

I’m coming in hot with my top lessons I learned about sourcing very affordable vintage in great condition WITHOUT leaving your house (yes, it’s possible).

But real quick: How do I even know what I’m talking about? I started side hustling in 2016 with ONE RUG (that whole saga is detailed down at the bottom) and kept it up for 3 years…basically ’til I started working here at EHD! During this time, I un-retired from competitive figure skating while launching a startup (maybe proof that I’m not as lazy as I claim?) and somehow managed to pay my $2,200-month travel and training bills without accruing a lifetime of debt. Full disclosure: I know there’s not a ton of detailed posts online about starting something like this (trust me, I searched for one while I was figuring out my own best practices!) and I also know that my method is definitely not standard…but it worked without a ton of upfront investment (if any!) and so I’m just here to spread the word that like, hey. This is an option for you, too.

SO, over the past four years, I’ve survived hundreds of Craigslist meetups, back alley warehouse pickups, and precarious drives across Southern California with tables strapped to the top of my Subaru Legacy (photo proof below). I walked so y’all could run. (And also not like, waste a ton of money in the process…because hey, I’ve been there.) 

Img 1586

How to Source (i.e. Buying the GOOD Stuff for CHEAP) 

These tips are good for EVERYONE, whether you’re looking to buy stuff for yourself, or to sell for profit, FYI. Anyway, you know how your local vintage store finds a majority of their stock? Estate sales and auctions. You know who doesn’t always have the time or money to compete with a vintage store in an estate sale or auction? Me. 

If you live in a market outside of a major city, consider yourself lucky (and you get your cute lil’ butt to your local auction house, scoop up all the goodies, and open a Chairish shop, like, immediately!); the rest of us are settling down for a quick overview on…

Craigslist Best Practices

I’m proud to tell everyone that not even Emily knew some of these, so read on for the TOP SECRET goods that only someone who did this for a legit living (sort of) would learn along the way.

Tip 1: Master the “presets.” Open up a new tab right now, hit “For Sale” (you never know what goodies are hiding in “general,” “garage sale,” or “antiques”), then pound in your new presets on the left: “owner,” “has image,” “bundle duplicates,” and…the holy grail, “include nearby areas.” 

2x2 Grid 2500 Pixels Vertical
To the left is the Domino Mobler bookcase I scooped by off Craigslist for $50; to the right is a VERY similar one for $1,300 MORE…

“Include nearby areas” opens up a whole world (both literally and metaphorically). I recently found a $1,300 Domino Mobler hutch on sale for $50. You know why? It was located in Pomona (not far from me) but had accidentally been listed in Orange County (very far from me). Granted, I did not actually sell it for $1,350; I offloaded it for $400, but I’ll explain why if you keep reading.

Once you have these parameters in place, SETTLE IN! Pour yourself a glass of wine and get cozy, you’re about to get REAL in the weeds. It’s time-consuming but worth it.

Tip 2: Dumb it WAY down. When it comes to the hunt, I need you to remember that pivotal scene in Legally Blonde when Elle asks Warner what kind of shoes she’s wearing and he responds with, “uhhhh…black ones?” That’s your new thought process. Like, yes, it’d be incredible to type in “Milo Baughman” and find a smattering of $20 pieces…but people who know what they have tend to price accordingly. Your sweet spot will be the vague listings. Some of my greatest finds have been this Baughman bar cart listed as “metal table on wheels,” a burl dresser listed as a “wood closet,” a 1970s chaise listed as a “settee chair,” and a beveled lucite coffee table listed solely as “plexiglass.” So, yes, dumb it down and think about the most basic ways to describe what you’re looking for.

Table Two Prices
Exhibit A to the left is a seller who knew what they had. Exhibit B to the right is someone who just figured it was “mid-century” and selling their piece for 1/3 the price.

Tip 3: Try alternate words and descriptions. My best-performing terms in LA are “armoire,” “hutch,” and “buffet.” True to form, I’d say that about 60% of the listings are appropriately titled and the rest are dressers, bookcases, and credenzas, respectively. 

Tip 4: Try HORRIBLE SPELLING. This one is actually from Emily, but it’s real. People do NOT KNOW how to spell (especially if English is not their first language…sometimes even if it is) so try slightly changing the spelling. Great example? Dinning table. That’s right, not dining table with one “n”, but dinning. Add a few extra letters, a random “e” thrown in. You’ll be surprised what you dig up.

Tip 5: Go bilingual. Search in Spanish (or any other language that’s spoken near you). Pop over to Google Translate and figure out your basic keywords—“vestidor” is a favorite of mine (so many good dressers)!

Tip 6: Search by function. “Rolling” and “swivel” are personal favorites and deliver everything from chairs to carts to lamps. 

Tip 7: Remember your apostrophes. Because even though it’s 2019, somehow the terms “80s,” “80’s,” “1980,” and “1980s” all produce different results. (Can you tell I do this search every day? For what it’s worth, when you get into decade searches, you may want to restrict yourself just to the furniture section.) 

Tip 8: Break out the color wheel. If you’re on the hunt for a piece that fits in with existing decor, time to break out that thesaurus. “Blue,” “navy,” “turquoise,” “cerulean”…it’s like a treasure hunt and your goal is to find the weird post that no one else has seen. (This tip can also apply to materials—if you’re on the hunt for a lucite piece, try “clear,” “acrylic,” and “plexiglass.”) 

And now that you’re a Craigslist pro, a few other things to note: 

  1. These tips work just as well on Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, and OfferUp. 
  2. If your local thrift store posts inventory on Instagram, turn on your post and story notifications. Fun fact: I have an entirely separate IG account that just follows local vendors. It comes in handy when you’re sourcing for a specific person (a point we’re about to get into!) AND you can get first dibs on some crazy deals. (And a localized tip for my fellow LA residents: turn on your post notifications for @sonofavet_thriftshop_la_. Sometimes you’ll swipe on a notification and find an ancient Dinosaurs VHS. But sometimes, it’s a $100 13′ semi-circle sofa that is now being sold for $3,000—not a typo—at a beautiful vintage furniture store downtown.) Turn on those notifications, people. 
  3. Set your budget. It doesn’t matter how much profit you can turn if you go into debt with your purchasing. 
  4. Be mindful about negotiation. My most commonly used phrase (both online and in-person at the flea market or vintage store!) is, “do you have any wiggle room?” Jumping in and offering a price 10-20% less than what someone’s asking can often be insulting, especially if there’s a lot of interest. Ask and let your vendor come down in price first—shockingly, you can respectfully still negotiate the price down from there. My follow-up go-to: “Thank you so much for trying to work with me. I LOVE this piece but only have X amount budgeted. I’m happy to pay cash and pick up ASAP.” This is by far my most successful negotiating tactic.
  5. But on the subject of pickup, think about transport. This is the trickiest one for me (and my aforementioned Subaru Legacy, which is unfortunately NOT AWESOME for hauling large pieces of furniture). Y’all, renting a car or hiring someone to move things can cost a lot. Keep this in mind when you stumble on something huge, like an armoire.

I’m going to use the topic of transit to segue into the next section…

Img 5594
Obviously, Emily’s living room but with lots of small things I think would def move well.

What Sells Best (& What to Avoid)…From Experience

Best-sellers

It logically follows that your best-sellers are going to be things that people can fit in their own cars. Pretty simple, right? Kinda. Your best bet for online sales on platforms like Craigslist, Marketplace, retail apps, etc. will be things like coffee tables, end tables, nightstands, dining chairs, and lamps. (For those with the itch to source things a little larger…don’t worry, I’ll get to you.) 

Less-sellers

Meanwhile, smalls—our EHD-term for decor and ephemera—can be a little trickier. If you’re down to put in the effort to brand yourself with a great Instagram (I’m not, but some incredible examples of people who have done this include @oddeyenyc and @abigailbellvintage, both in NYC), you can move some well-curated decor products. 

But also, buy SMART. Take a look at what’s moving in your local market. In LA, it’s currently fairly easy to turn over postmodern and mid-century pieces. (A favorite Rose Bowl vendor of mine recently joked with me that “everything with tapered legs isn’t good, but everything with tapered legs somehow sells.”) It’s WAY HARDER—at least for me, since I only sell online and never put effort into any branded distribution efforts—to move anything rustic, faux-finished,  or “whimsy-patinaed.” The latter is the descriptive term I just invented for an ancient, paint-chipped book-shaped end table that I bought years ago and literally have never been able to sell. It sits in my apartment and taunts me.

Today, with my newfound knowledge, I would have stalked my local vintage vendors’ Instagram accounts so I could see the items that turn over quickly. I would have limited my buying to things that I know I could move, not things that only one person in a thousand will like. It’s HARD to find these types of niche buyers if you don’t have time to put effort into actually like, marketing yourself like a real business. So basically, if you’re starting from scratch, stick to things that appeal to a lot of people, things that you (or your future customers) can move solo, and things that fit comfortably in a sedan. Additional benefit: this takes up less real estate in your house. At my prime, I had filled up my garage and was parking my car on the street…until I discovered the method that actually made my hobby sustainable. I’m about to share my ultimate secret…

How to Actually Sell What You Bought (& It’s Not What You Think)

Here’s my ultimate secret: I realized that anyone can become a picker. 

Pickers are basically the middlemen: you do the sourcing and you let the seasoned professionals with established customer bases do the selling. Let’s use the aforementioned semi-circular sofa as an example (and these are real numbers!):

  1. Son of a Vet posts this sofa for $99.99 on their Instagram feed. 
  2. A picker sees it, sends a photo to the high-end vintage furniture store, and asks if the owner would be interested in buying the piece.
  3. The vintage store owner says yes and offers $400. 
  4. The picker arranges transport straight from the thrift store to the high-end store and pockets 300 bucks. 
  5. Since the vintage store has “cred” and a bevy of pre-existing customers, they’re able to offer the piece at $3,000—an amount that the picker would have never been able to command on their own. (This is a similar scenario to the Domino Mobler bookcase from earlier, which is why I sold it for so much less than I knew it was worth, but still profited $350.)

The catch: you have to be social. Now’s the time to slide into the DMs (or like, approach in person, if you’re the type to actually leave your house…I’m not.), tell your local vintage/antique store that you have a few pieces that you’re looking to sell, and see if you can get an offer. Once you’ve established a relationship, you’ll have an open line of communication to send pics of your finds ALL. THE. TIME. 

Raffia Table
This table is a victim of distance and not enough descriptive terms, but I”ve seen pieces from this designer go for at least $2,000.

Picking is the ultimate lazy dream life. You know a really fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon? Coalesce with your couch, fire up Craigslist (using my aforementioned tips, duh), and send pictures straight from listings to your new network. Not everyone will be a bite, but guess what? If you get an offer from a store, you’ll have guaranteed a sale BEFORE YOU PUT ANY MONEY DOWN. AND you won’t even have to store it. 

This is a great solution for anyone who has a gift for finding the big stuff, like bookcases or credenzas. While it never made sense for me to hire someone to move furniture from a sale site to my house to a final destination it DID often make financial sense when I was moving something straight to a store. My philosophy: I don’t need to sell it for the most, I just need to sell it. I kind of like that in my scenario, three people (the original seller, me, and the final retailer) all get to turn a profit off of a sustainable product.

But what if I don’t HAVE any vintage furniture retailers near me? Don’t worry because there’s an avenue for you, too, and it involves your friends and family. Ask around and see if anyone in your network is looking for any pieces, either furniture or decor, and clarify if they have a budget they’re trying to stay within. I’m sure you know what to do from here…it’s sourcing time. When you have the internet sleuthing skills that I’ve hopefully helped hone, finding pieces for friends can be EASY. Shoot them a pic, confirm a price (that builds in a little profit margin for your efforts), and again, you’ve managed to confirm a sale without any upfront investment. 

Swan Bassinet
Picking in action. A vintage bamboo rocking DUCK bassinet (please don’t put your baby in this) sold on Chairish for $425. I sourced the one in the car seat behind me for $20. Full discloser: I did not sell this to Chairish, but I was able to use that listing to know what this thing could go for and priced accordingly.

If you’re the refinishing/repainting/repairing type, I salute you. If you’re the “up at 3 am to style out my flea market booth” type, I salute you. If you’re the “I solely sell online and I’ve built out my own customer base” type, I salute you. But if you’re the “I just love home goods and would probably spend my free time cruising Craigslist for furniture anyway, so I may as well figure out how to monetize it while I sit on my couch with a glass of wine while The Office plays in the background” type…this is a side hustle for you. 

Again, not my actual goods. Had I known I’d be writing this post years later, I would have hoarded images, but in the off chance you don’t know what a Beni Ourain rug is, it looks like this one from Brady’s living room.

BONUS STRATEGY: The Dropshipper

Here’s a bonus that I won’t dive too much into, but it is how I got my start in the world of furniture and decor retail…

In 2015, I was PINING after a vintage Beni Ourain rug, but I couldn’t afford it. Long story short, I found my dream carpet online from a shop in Marrakech and realized that you can barter online (Like, what?! Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?! A LIFE CHANGING TIP!) and ended up negotiating the price down by nearly 50%. After securing a few rugs for friends at similar prices, my vendor asked if I’d like to lock in wholesale pricing and started sending pictures of his incoming inventory. I’d list these rugs on Craigslist, Etsy, Chairish, Letgo, Offerup, etc. with his photos, detailed dimensions, and keywords. 

When a rug seemed like it would sell or if I’d locked in a buyer, I’d make the purchase and have him send the rug over so I could complete the sale (or, in Etsy/Chairish customers’ cases, I’d have him send the rug straight to their home!).

I’d pay anywhere between $250-$600 per carpet (which included customs and shipping and trust me, this was an INCREDIBLE STEAL at the time) and I’d retail each for anywhere between $400 and $1,200. Shockingly, I don’t have any horror stories to report—rugs arrived in one piece, on time, and were always as pictured. Only once did I have a buyer back out after I had purchased from my vendor…but it was okay, because I really liked the rug and ended up keeping it. C’est la vie.

Carpets had incredible margins, but I did get tired of playing middleman across the ocean AND offering things up nationwide. It takes time and effort to post listings, communicate with potential buyers, clarify questions with vendors, and honestly, I realized I just had more fun looking for vintage furniture. I sold my last rug in 2017, but let’s be real: the hustler in me is still always down to source for a friend.

WOW. You made it. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of any hustling that can be done while I’m wearing pajamas…and apparently, I can talk about vintage furniture ALL. DANG. DAY. Perhaps this job is the right one for me. I’ve spent a long time optimizing this for my own work style, but would obviously love any of your flipping tips. Are you a refinisher or a picker? What does your side hustle look like? Any pro tips I missed? Sound off in the comments, please. I’d love to hear more about your scores or horror tales… 🙂 

  1. Lot of great advice on playing the. middleman,likely an underused tactic of most.

    The one tip that resonated most with my own experiences is that people often are selling “name” pieces but do not know what they have, so don’t rely on those names as your search terms.

    And as always when reselling for profit, know what your time and attention is worth and price accordingly or stay out of the resale business if you can/want to make more money in other ways.

  2. I’m generally sick of people overusing the word “hustle”… but dang, THIS is hustle I can get behind! So cool!

  3. Just FYI, your Instafeed at the bottom is just white boxes for me. I checked in Safari and Firefox (iOS 12.4.1).

  4. I have zero interest in selling furniture or making a velvet headboard but I have read every post this week to the end. You’ve kept me entertained and inspired and LOL-ing all week. Team EHD is awesome and so much fun to hear from each of you!

    1. This!

  5. This is totally me. I did this for years, but you took it even further, so i learned some new tactics. But now years later, I’m weighing my time more (due to having kids and full-time work, and just being too tired to run out and grab stuff at the drop of a hat). This was a fun read! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I’ve recently gotten into this type of hustle and I’ve been buying and selling anything that’s trendy. Some things I keep longer than others, but I just style them in my own home until they sell. Usually it’s smaller things (like vintage baskets, art, vases, wicker chairs/benches) but if I come across furniture I would put in my house until it sells, I go for it.

    Really enjoyed this post and the tips are definitely going to come in handy. I’ve realized that I love this side hustle enough to consider a more long-term side of it.

    1. Ah so cool! Where do you sell your smaller things?

  7. This is an amazing post!

  8. GIRL! I did this ONCE when I found a curved, purple, velvet (yes, at the same time, it was magical) loveseat and sofa set in a local thrift store for $200 (total! It was a half price day) that I sold on Chairish for $1200. I was like “this is my new life” but the hassle of transport and storage (my house and car are hilariously small) made me chill on that. But you have me fired up to get back in the game. I’m newly divorced and looking for a hobby (read: not a hubby 😉) to keep me sane and this feels like it! Bonus, I just lost half my furniture, so whatever I can’t sell I can keep. Thanks for the great post.

    1. HAHA YES, there is nothing quite like finding such a steal and then being like, “I have to…move this?? I have to…put it somewhere???” So glad to hear you’re fired up, you’ll have to keep me posted on how it goes!!

  9. This is so interesting! I have a question though – if I saw a designer piece selling for super cheap, I would assume it was a knock off. How do you know from the listing what is really worth it and what is a “fake”?

  10. Some fave search words of mine are China, Japan, Chinese, Japanese, Asian, and oriental.

  11. I love this. Great tips, thanks for sharing.

  12. Y’all, this has just been the best week of content. LOVE all the DIY, vintage-loving content. So excited about all of it. Please keep it coming!

  13. I have zero side hustle, but holy cow did I love this post!!! I think we just became bffs.

  14. This post is EXACTLY what I needed to read today, thank u so much for sharing!!!!! Do you have any tips for how to identify the value in a Craigslist piece? How to date vintage furniture or identify woods/finishes? How to restore the $20 vintage teak Goodwill find with a few chips/scratches in the veneer?

    1. SO. MUCH. OSMOSIS. I learned a TON just browsing and favoriting things on Chairish and following local dealers on IG — after some time, you’ll start to recognize pieces. It’s definitely a process, but now I can just look through a page and point out what’s actually vintage and what’s from West Elm/CB2/Ikea.

      Telling woods apart can be super tricky and tbh I can still only really recognize teak, oak, and sometimes walnut but in my experience, people aren’t super particular as all solid woods can be sanded and restained to work in any space.

      Restoration is DEF not my wheelhouse (currently have a HUGE coffee table in my mom’s garage and said I’d repair the chips in laminate, despite not knowing like…anything??? about that process, haha) but I have definitely sold a few pieces to vendors with the knowledge that they were going to have them professionally lacquered or refinished. If you’re the DIY type though, it’s def fun to try and peel off veneer and see if the wood beneath can be finished. But once you start factoring in your own labor and material costs, it can really start to add up!! After a few super time-consuming DIY attempts, I realized it was more cost-effective for me to just spend that time searching for more pieces.

    2. Lucy – The fun part about antiquing or picking for me is learning the things you are asking. There are books that will show you and tell you how to identify pieces. A famous book about American antiques is “Good, Better, Best.” It literally gives photos of three pieces of a specific type of furniture and tells you what makes it “good, better, or best.”

      Find a great antique shop and talk to the owner/worker. My favorite is a large shop with such good prices that other dealers shop there. The owner taught me a lot about pieces I admired, including how to identify wood, what wood looks like as it ages, etc. She also gave me the dealer discount because I introduced my antique dealer father to the shop.

      When the first MCM shop opened in my town I visited it often to educate my eye and learn about a new area of interest. Years later I found two armchairs in a thrift store by Milo Baughman for $25. The shop manager tried to pass them along to Goodwill, which turned them down. Neither store knew what they were or looked up the tag on the bottom of one chair. But I knew what they were.

      Watch Antiques Roadshow. Listen to how the expert describes a piece – it will teach you what to look for when you see a similar piece.

      Veneers are difficult. Personally I accept some damage to veneer as a sign of age, but my interest tends to be in actual antiques (100 years or older). Professional restoration of veneer is expensive. Many dealers use wood stains or paint to make the exposed secondary wood under the missing piece of veneer match the veneer.

      Happy Hunting!

  15. Proving once again that Caitlin is the coolest! 🤩

    1. right?!?

    2. I’m blushin :’)

  16. Great tips – and a great week of incredible and real substantive content!
    Thank you!

  17. Love these tips! Another CL feature I love is the “favorite” star! It essentially saves all your favorites onto one page so you can think on items if you’re not sure about them right away without have to bookmark the page. Happy shopping!

    1. OMG YUUUUS, LOVE FAVORITES. Also a liberal user of hiding things with the trash icon!!! It really does make the hunting process SO MUCH MORE ORGANIZED. Can’t believe I forgot to mention it, such a good reminder 🙂

  18. I love you and you totally are speaking my love language girlfriend! Thanks for all the tips! You have some really great ones!

  19. This was awesome! And while my personality makeup makes me adverse to haggling (and thus bad at this type of thing for a living) the search advice is really great as I try to source furniture for my house on a very restricted budget. What a great post!

  20. Wait, you passed on the Dinosaurs VHS!?! That show was great! 😉

  21. Hi Caitlin, this was a fantastic post!! What a way to make some money, and WHO KNEW you were a competitive figure skater in your past!! So awesome. I’ve only done the CL search for myself, not to be a middle person to sell the items. I have found some real steals tho’, including a gorgeous polished chrome bar cart from Restoration HW that sold for 1200 and that I bought for 200. Twas a steal and I love getting “rescue” pieces for my home just as I get rescue dogs!! Very enjoyable post with some new strategies that I have not used before but will now!

    1. Rescue pieces, rescue dogs and rescue plants!!!

  22. Sounds very intriguing, Caitlin! Genius! Fun! I might just try it!

  23. Wow, what a great post! Thank you for all the detail that you went into. It’s fascinating just to read. I love finding bargains (I don’t do resale), and it’s getting more and more difficult. Nice to know it’s still possible. 🙂

    P.S. You’re Sarah’s sister?

  24. I loved this! My husband and I are big into the selling/reselling world of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. It takes extra time and effort but it’s often worth it. I love love love thrifting, but now that I have kids I don’t have as much time to do it. Treasure hunting online scratches that itch for me!

    We generally always try to sell things before we give them away. We’re always surprised what sells. Used ceiling fans? People will snatch those up right away!

    Secondhand selling goes beyond furniture, too – my husband has had so much success selling his tools and AV equipment. Lawn mowers, fancy saws, stuff like that – you can really score some great deals if you buy them secondhand. When he upgrades one of his tools, like he recently did with his table saw, he just turns around and sells his old one. It eliminates any guilt he has about upgrading his stuff when he knows he can sell the old one and it will be a wash in our budget.

    My favorite search terms when I’m not looking for anything in particular:

    – brand names that are normally too expensive for me
    – materials (copper, marble, etc)
    – descriptive words – Unique, designer, modern, industrial
    – vague terms – storage, cabinet, light, tools

  25. Would it be possible to get a link to the original post that the title image came from?

    Thanks!

    1. yes! We linked it back up there right under the photo but sharing here also: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/michaels-vintage-filled-living-room

  26. This was so helpful and inspiring! Thank you very much! You’re amazing at this.

  27. These are great tips! This is basically how I started selling vintage rugs (on Facebook/Craigslist) but I noticed once I established a legit Instagram account (@foundhomeshop) my sales went way up. Not always, but a lot of times the customers on Facebook and craigslist are looking for really really cheap deals (like garage sale prices) and weren’t as reliable, whereas my Instagram customers are usually more serious buyers.

    1. how did you get customers to your IG account?

  28. Great post! Thank you for the great tips.

  29. Great tips! I just bought a dresser yesterday at a second hand store and there is a silver word glued inside one of the drawers. Do you know this brand or designer? It looks like Sheus or SLies? I can send pics. Soooo curious!

  30. Caitlin, I love doing this and have found great sources (estate sales and thrift shops, yay!) but you’ve definitely stepped up my game with some of these tips. THE. MISSPELLINGS. Here I was letting them drive me crazy instead of making them work for me! You’re so right about getting deals when someone doesn’t know what they have/doesn’t research it. I paid $25 for a pair of vintage MCM Danish teak armchairs in pristine condition and sold them for $300 a few days ago. I buy small decor in a few local places and find it sells well on ebay. Decades of auction/flea market/antiquing’s paid off, I can spot the good stuff a mile away. Yesterday I saw a framed 36 x 48 original mixed media collage and got it for $15. I looked up the artist’s name and her work’s in private and corporate collections and museums- including the Smithsonian!!

  31. This was the best how-to article in the history of blogging! It’s my secret dream to buy things I see on my weekly estate sale trips that I have to pass on because I don’t have the space for them and style them/squeeze them in and then hold parties a la Tupperware……

    1. Such a fun idea! I am now dreaming about that, too.

  32. Wow! Thank you for all of the great information!

  33. Oh the thrill of the hunt! I recently found an Eichholtz Bonheur wheat sheaf table (like the one Coco Chanel had in her Paris apartment) at an upstate NY garage sale for $100. They retail for $1200-$3000! I’ve been thinking about diving into this side hustle since I decided to stay home with my babies. Such great info here! Thank you!

  34. I have had some luck with doing this and started to curate a nice amount of items to resell. Of course we would love to make a ton of money, but i found I always need to lower prices from the initial price ion order to sell the items. For some reason I hit standstill and stuff has not been selling. I know many people like what I have and I have a good eye, but i have 20 ish items I cannot unload. what to do when you hit a wall?

  35. Please comment on staying safe! A guy tried to scam me on Craigslist recently. He expressed interest in the chairs I was selling. Then he said he was out of town, but would send a certified check with a little extra for me to give to his friends who would be picking them up for him. Okay, I’m with him so far, although I did suggest PayPal instead. The chairs were $348. We recieved a check for $1750. I shut him down immediately but he was begging me to “please deposit it immediately!” Instead we called the cops. The officer who came said if the check was legit, he was the Queen of England! The scammer wanted us to deposit the check so he could get our account #. When I said I wouldn’t do it, he wanted me to send it back to him or at least take a pic of the shredded check. I told him the cops had it & that’s the last we heard from him. But he had our home address (to send the check) & my cell phone # (texting back & forth). We changed my email address & cell phone # & reported possible fraud to the credit reporting agencies just to be sure

    A friend thought she had sold something & the ‘buyer’ started stalking her. It was a large item (tall King-size headboard that wouldn’t fit in her car, so she had to have him come to the house instead of meeting in a neutral location.

    I sold $2000 worth of stuff in Facebook with no issues, but I will never sell on Craigslist again. So please address any safety precautions you take — online or in person.

  36. What useful tips! I used your recommended presets and found two vintage “ARMOIURS” in the car parts section.

  37. Hi! Thank you so much for this post, love all the details. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar but have a couple questions you might could help with!

    What does “arranging transportation” mean for you? Are you using a service to have the items delivered, buyer or seller transporting, etc?

    How do you mitigate questions from your potential buyers that you may not have answers to? Or is the photo sufficient?

    Thank you!

  38. I’ve been doing this since 2014, and
    Image searches with descriptive terms are a great source when you want to find out more about a piece. One thing often leads to another – It’s fascinating!
    I picked up such great tips from you Caitlin – Thanks!

  39. WOW, this started off as a great post until I got to Tip 4 about HORRIBLE SPELLING. I have never commented before but this post really offended me. I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to put down non-native English speakers by saying that they can’t spell. Readers would have understood exactly what you were saying without adding what was in parentheses.

  40. Great post. Couple of follow up questions

    1. When doing picking do you arrange for items to be picked up in one day thereby maximizing the time of your delivery crew or do you do it at vintage store or sellers availability?

    2. Do you disclose to the seller that you are picking and reselling to vendor? If not how do you get better photos and dimensions then what is typically displayed on Craigslist.

    3. Do you pick for cherish? And if so how do you display or “hold” items to sell given their requirements?

    Thank you for sharing your tips and tricks. I troll through craigslist all the time and find hidden gems I have no room in my house to buy. I never thought my vintage vibe design eye could be put to use. Thank you for sharing!

  41. Say you find a promising listing and you send pics to furniture dealers. If you don’t buy the piece first and then send the pics, what’s to stop the dealers from searching for the listing themselves, buying the piece, and cutting you – the picker/middleperson – out of the process?

    In other words, why wouldn’t dealers save money by doing their own online searching?

  42. What a fantastic post. So interesting, so inspiring. And HELPFUL! As Terri pointed out above, I’m a little wary of doing sales directly myself. But this post calls me from every angle.

Comments are closed.

Go To Top
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]