You can’t have a successful garage sale if your prices are too high or too unclear. To avoid this issue, make all of your prices clear upfront — and those prices should be appealing enough to entice buyers to open their wallets.
How to Price Items at Your Garage Sale
The price of your garage sale items is determined by the area you live in, the quality of your items, and whether or not they are still in style. You’ll be able to price your items so they sell and you make the most money by doing some research, following the 10% rule, and selecting the best price for the category of items you’re selling.
1. The 10% Rule
It’s a general rule that you shouldn’t price your items at more than 10% of their retail value for a garage sale. This may appear to be a small sum, and it is, but the quantity of your items is where you will make the most money.
Visitors to your garage sales will not pay much more than this. If you have some great items in excellent condition, you could price them at 20% to 25% off, but that may be too high unless the right customers come along.
2. Sell Speciality Items Online
If you plan to sell any specialty items at your garage sale, consider selling them online through a local selling app or even a virtual garage sale on Facebook.
Any item that is in high demand and would fetch a higher price than your other garage sale items is considered a specialty item. These could be designer shoes or clothing, antiques, collectibles, or any other item with a cult following.
You’re unlikely to get a customer looking for your specialty items at your garage sale, so you’ll either take a low offer or it won’t sell at all. Selling these items online gives you a much better chance of making more money.
3. End Your Prices in 5’s or 10’s
Always round up to the nearest 5 or 10 cents. This makes it easier for customers to pay and you to return change. It’s also common garage sale pricing, and it’ll be what your customers want. If you want to go even further, only price in $.25 increments.
4. Pricing by Category
The following are some general guidelines for pricing your garage sale items by category. Keep in mind that these will differ depending on where you live.
5. Furniture and Decor
Low-quality furniture, which can range in price from $10 to $30, may be ideal for someone just starting out. Better furniture can be sold for 20% of its retail value.
Knick-knacks can be priced between $.25 and $3 unless it’s a nice item that’s brand new in the box, in which case you can charge 15% off the retail price. Artwork can be priced between $2 and $30, depending on size, style, and frame quality.
6. Clothing and Accessories
Clothes in good condition in any size, adult, child, or baby, should be priced between $.25 and $1.00, depending on quality and style. Sorting these by size makes it much easier for people to find what they’re looking for. Any brand name or new item with the tags still on clothing, shoes, or jewelry can be marked up. Display them by hanging them in a separate area and pricing them at 30% off the retail value.
Shoes should be priced between $1 and $5 depending on quality, jewelry should be priced between $.25 and $2.00 depending on style, and coats should be priced between $5 and $15 depending on quality and style.
7. Kids’ Items
Toy prices will vary greatly. Small plastic toys should be priced no higher than $.25, while larger toys can be priced between $1 and $3. Toys for older children should be priced at 15% of their retail value. Games and puzzles should include all of the pieces and be priced between $2 and $5 for games and $.50 to $1.50 for puzzles.
8. Entertainment Items
Books are best kept together and priced according to whether they are hardback or paperback. Hardcover books can be priced between $1 and $2, and paperbacks between $.25 and $.50. Any newer books can be slightly more expensive.
Electronics and computers are extremely difficult to sell at garage sales and are better off being sold online or recycled. DVDs range in price from $1 to $5, while Blu-rays range from $5 to $10. CDs should be priced between $.25 and $2. These items are best priced based on their popularity and newness.
9. Household Items
Household items such as appliances, dishes, and anything kitchen-related should be priced between $.25 and $5 unless it’s a full set of dishes, in which case you can sell them for 15% off the retail price. Bedspreads, sheets, pillows, and other linens can range in price from $1 to $10, with new items costing more depending on quality and style.
Consider the intent of your yard sale before determining how to price your products. If you’re trying to declutter your home, for example, because you’re getting ready to move or making room for a new family member, your goal should be to get rid of as much stuff as possible. You can easily achieve this goal by pricing your wares dirt cheap — not just well below retail prices, but also well below thrift shop and flea market prices.
However, if your primary objective is to make extra money, pricing your products becomes a little more difficult. You want to charge the most that customers are willing to pay, but you also don’t want to scare them away with exorbitant rates. To walk this fine line, you must first study typical prices in your field.