The Best Way to Price Garage Sale Items for Maximum Profit

woman pricing garage sale items

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Having a yard sale can be a great way to make some money and get rid of some items you don't use anymore that are taking up space. There are many garage sale tips and tricks to make you some extra cash, but none are more important than how you price your garage sale items.

How to price garage sale items all depends on where you live, the quality of your stuff, and if your items are still in style. By doing a little investigating, following the 10 percent rule, and choosing the best price for the category of items you're selling, you'll be able to price your items so they'll sell and you'll make the most cash possible.

Sell Speciality Items Online First

If you have some specialty items that you plan on selling at your garage sale, consider instead trying to sell them online with a local selling app or even a virtual garage sale on Facebook

Specialty items are any item that is sought after and would get a higher price than your other garage sale items. These could be brand-name shoes or clothing, antiques, collectibles, or any other item that has a following.

You probably won't get a customer at your garage sale who is looking for your specialty items, so there's a chance you'll take a low offer or that it won't sell at all. Selling it online gives you a much better chance of making more money on these items.

Don't Skip Pricing

It's a lot easier to not price your garage sale items and let customers ask you or make an offer, but pricing is an important step that you don't want to skip.

People visiting your garage sale will probably offer less than you'd like and some people won't want to wait around and ask you how much something is. Take the time to price your items and your customers will be happy and more willing to make a purchase.

Visit Other Garage Sales

Garage sale pricing varies quite a bit depending on where you live. I suggest using a garage sale finder to locate garage sales near you and take a look at their prices.

Be sure to visit quite a few sales so that you can see what common pricing seems to be. Items like clothing, books, toys, furniture, and household items are usually priced around the same amount at most garage sales in your area. Take note and price your items similarly since that's what people in your area are used to paying for these items at other yard sales.

Follow the 10 Percent Rule

It's a general, unspoken rule that for a garage sale you don't price any of your items more than 10 percent the retail value. This may seem like a very small amount, which it is, but the quantity of your items is where you'll really be making the most money.

People visiting your garage sales won't pay much more than this. If you have some great items in really good condition, you could price them around 20 to 25 percent, but that may be too high unless the right customers come around.

End Your Prices in 5's or 10's

Always end your prices in 5's or 10's. This makes it easier for customers to pay and for you to give back change. It's also common garage sale pricing, and it will be what your customers are looking for. If you want to take it one step further, only price in 25-cent increments.

Pricing by Category

Here are some general guidelines on how to price your garage sale items by category. Remember that these will vary depending on where you live.

Clothing and Accessories: Well-worn clothes of any size (adult, children, and baby) should be priced at 25 cents to $1, depending on quality and style. Group these together by size; this makes it much easier for people to find what they're looking for. Any brand name or new-with-the-tags clothing, shoes, or jewelry can be set at a higher price. Display them by hanging them up in a separate area and price 30 percent off retail value.

Shoes can be priced at $1 to $5 depending on quality; jewelry should be priced 25 cents to $2 depending on style; and coats can be priced $5 to $15 based on quality and style.

Furniture and Decor: Low-quality furniture could be perfect for someone starting out and can be marked $10-30. Nicer furniture can be sold for 20 percent of the retail value.

Knick-knacks can be priced 25 cents to $3 unless it's a nice item that's new in the box, then you can charge 15 percent off retail price. Artwork can be marked $2-$30 depending on size, style, and frame quality.

Entertainment Items: Books are best kept together and priced by hardback or paperback. Hardcover books can be marked $1 to $2 and paperbacks 25-50 cents. Any newer books can be priced slightly higher.

Electronics and computers are really tough to sell at garage sales and you're better off selling them online or recycling them. DVDs can be priced $1-$5 and Blu-rays $5-$10. CDs should be marked 25 cents to $2. These items are best priced by popularity and latest releases.

Kids' Items: Toys will really vary in pricing. Small plastic toys should be marked no more than 25 cents and larger toys can be marked $1-$3. Any really big kids' toys should be priced 15 percent of retail value. Games and puzzles should have all the pieces and be marked $2-$5 for games and 50 cents to $1.50 for puzzles.

Household Items: Household items that include appliances, dishes, and anything kitchen-related should be marked 25 cents to $5. If it's a full set of dishes, you can sell them for 15 percent of retail price. Bedspreads, sheets, pillows, and other linens can be priced $1-$10 with new items priced higher, depending on the quality and style.

Be Ready to Bargain

People who garage sale love to bargain and get a good deal. While slashing your prices may not seem like a way to make more money, it comes down to the simple fact that if you sell more, you'll make more—especially if you plan on donating what you don't sell.

A great time to accept bargains is in the afternoon on the last day of your garage sale. You may also want to consider slashing your prices to half price or marking down those higher priced items like furniture.