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.
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.