Basic Garage Sale Pricing Guide

This is it -- Summer is over and Fall has begun!  You've sorted out all the closets, purged the garage, and ransacked the junk under your child's bed.  It's all sitting in a pile in your living room.  In economically hard times, turning your trash into cash is a great way to get some pocket money for a weekend's work.

Garage sale pricing labels

Having a garage sale isn't easy -- on the contrary, it's hard work.  But it pays off, if you do it right, and the first thing you need to do right is price your items.

That massive pile is overwhelming, so a good place to start is to sort everything into basic categories.  Some ideas for categories (depending on what you plan to sell) are children's clothes; women's clothes; men's clothes; books; technology; toys and games; collectibles; and furniture.

Next, decide what your price categories will be.  Are you just trying to get rid of everything, or would you rather donate it if you can't turn a decent profit?  A good rule of thumb is to price things in increments of 25, as quarters are easy to stock and make change with, or increments of a dollar.

If you're unsure of how much things should go for, here is a rough price guide that you can follow or modify:

Books tend to go for around 25-50¢ for paperbacks and hardbacks for 50¢ to $1.  It's often easiest to place books in cardboard boxes with their prices written on the box, to avoid having to put a sticker on every single one.

Clothes are trickier.  Anything brand new can go for $5 or more, and hand-me-downs might be priced anywhere from 25¢ to $2.  The best advice is to price relatively; if your nicest, most expensive item is only $3, it wouldn't make sense to make the baby clothes $1 each.

Depending on the condition of technology items, you can get $10 or even more for them.  Generally a good rule of thumb is to price technology at between 25% and 50% of its original value.

Toys and games are often found in the 10¢ or 25¢ box, affordable for the children that visit your garage sale.  However, if the toys (or trading cards, which are often found at garage sales) are collectibles, take the time to research their value and get a fair price for them -- although garage sale protocol dictates that you lower the price significantly enough to attract bargain shoppers.  (If you don't think you'll get a fair price at your garage sale, take them to a pawn shop or card shop!)

Finally, furniture.  Odds are, if you're putting furniture out at a garage sale, you don't want to haul it to the dump.  So if the trip isn't worth it, price the furniture low enough that someone will jump at the chance to do you a favor and drag it away.  Somewhere in the $15-25 range is generally a good estimate, for anything from beds to armchairs to armoires.  Just remember that you're competing with the free sections of classifieds these days, so if someone wants to bargain, don't be afraid to go lower.

Comments (6) -

Jon Tinsley
Jon Tinsley
3/2/2013 3:31:39 AM #

An easy way to pricing your garage sale items is cutting 50% of the original price when you got that item. The value depreciates on some items so that 50% was to account for the damages, or the usability, presentability and function of your item. It would be cheap but you're still making some money from it so it's a win-win situation for you and the shoppers.

Michael Dunnigan
Michael Dunnigan
3/2/2013 3:34:22 AM #

If you're too lazy to price your items one by one, just put them in a large box and label them with a single price. For example, you could place all your old sign boards in a separate box and label it $0.99 so it's easier for costumers to choose items that appeal to their price range. It would also save you time from answering each and every price inquiry of your shoppers.

Just don't do it through all your items because it would look like that this garage sale was hastily prepared and not a single effort was given.

Robie Benson
Robie Benson
3/2/2013 3:40:49 AM #

Another way to price your items is through stickers, you could just use stickers to save time in printing or writing your prices. It's also much cheaper and would attract shoppers because of its different shapes and colors. It's usually effective in children's items because children are attracted to colorful things. You could choose the color red because it's the most attractive color. Why? Because it has the shortest wavelength which means that your eye could process the color red faster than any other color you could think off.

Hanna Camby
Hanna Camby
3/2/2013 3:44:56 AM #

If you're confused on how to price your items, just imagine that you're the shopper visiting your garage sale. Ask yourself if you would buy that item with that price of yours. If your answer is yes then you've got the right price but if it doesn't convince you that much, then you could adjust the price a little bit lower to be more acceptable. Be careful because you could be pricing too low just to attract shoppers but in the end, you will be shocked that you haven't earned that much either. It's just makes no sense, so price your items properly just enough to sell it easily.

Xendy Rinnes
Xendy Rinnes
4/4/2013 1:39:29 PM #

When pricing an item in your garage sale, you must always consider the item's quality at the moment and do not just base your pricing on how much you've spent purchasing it brand new. Some items may be slightly used while some may be over used already so you must think twice upon pricing it.

Karen Cooper
Karen Cooper
10/18/2014 9:45:37 AM #

My way of pricing items, "Do I want to sell it or keep it?". Yes, I would like to make some money, but these things have already been used and I consider it "found" money when I sell them.

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