A thrift store is a place where cost-conscious shoppers go to buy secondhand clothes, furniture, and trinkets. In addition to the low cost, shoppers also benefit from an eclectic mix of items that they probably wouldn't find elsewhere. If you have a large collection of gently used clothing and baubles that you want to sell, consider starting a thrift store from your home.

Contact your local town administration to ask if you're zoned to conduct business as a thrift shop from your home. The town may require you to apply for a special town selling permit and register as an official business so you can collect sales tax. Some towns might even consider your venture a garage or yard sale if your hours are only occasional.

Set up your thrift store in your garage, a shed, or some other place that's separate from the main part of your home. Since you'll be receiving strangers in your shop, it's important to prohibit them from entering the private areas of your home. If you live in a temperate climate, you may even consider setting up your shop on an outdoor porch or patio.

Prepare your at-home thrift shop for business. Arrange your clothes and display racks, allowing plenty of space for browsers to scan your items. Set up your cash register area close to an entrance to your home so you can route cash safely and quickly into your house.

Set business hours for your thrift shop according to your schedule.

Advertise your home-based thrift store in your immediate community first—word of mouth will eventually bring in new customers from other areas if people like your stuff. Post fliers in supermarkets and on community bulletin boards. Post an advertisement about your thrift shop on local classified websites.

Post a sign in your yard listing shop hours and some items that are available.

Items you will need

  • Permit

  • Display racks

  • Yard sign

Tip

  • While you don't have to be a non-profit in order to operate as a thrift store, many thrift stores do donate a portion of their proceeds to charitable causes. Consider donating a percentage of your sales to a local charity, and be sure to advertise this fact.