Setting Prices for Your Garage Sale: 11 Tips for Doing It Right
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Before sticking a price tag on anything, check out these 11 tips to figure out how to set prices for the furniture, clothes and other stuff you’re offering.
The biggest mistake people make is not putting prices on garage-sale items, said Ben Capes, marketing director at Garage SaleCow, a resource for garage and yard sales.
No one wants to ask “How much?” for every cookie jar or coffee table. Besides, some people might be too shy to inquire.
2. Do Some Planning.
Set aside a day before your sale to stick price tags on everything. Group similar items together before you begin. For big items, use larger stickers for better visibility. You can buy price tags at retail stores or make your own labels.
Check out Lauren Blake’s post on DefrumpMe.com on how to save time with up to 120 stickers on a single page by using sheets of printable return-address labels.
3. Price Accordingly.
The guideline for big-ticket items is usually around half of its original price, Capes said. Big sellers include furniture, stereos and power tools, which go for anywhere from $5 to $50. Price clothing, knickknacks and small kitchen appliances anywhere from 25 cents to $5.
4. Do Some Digging.
Check out garage sales in your neighborhood to see what other people charge. To get an idea of going rates, Debi Spangler of Hollidaysburg, PA, researched prices at thrift stores before holding her sale and asked herself how much she’d pay for her own items. A stylish recipe holder that she’d barely used cost $20 but Spangler knew she’d pay no more than $5 if she spied the gadget at a yard sale.
5. Determine Your Goal.
If your objective is simply to declutter, price items on the low side. If you want to make a little money, price most things cheap and others at midrange. Want to make lots of money? You’ll need plenty of high-quality items that people want and a few days to hold your sale.
Remember, though, that whatever you don’t unload, you’ll have to haul back into your house, to a thrift store or to a donation center.
6. Offer Deals for Buying in Bulk.
Slap a sign on that book table: Hardcover books $1 apiece or seven for $5. Do the same with CDs and DVDs.
7. Sell Collectibles Elsewhere.
People shopping for yard-sale bargains won’t pay top dollar for collectibles. If your collectibles are in good condition, try selling them online first, Capes said. The same holds true for newer electronics and high-end furniture, which you can sell on Craigslist.
8. Be Willing to Bargain.
OK, so you paid $75 for that wool sweater five years ago. Well, that was before you wore it 20 times. Not many garage-sale shoppers will pay more than a few dollars for used clothing unless it’s unworn.
Want to get rid of it? Cut your losses. “After all, you’re selling items at a garage sale that you’re willing to part with,” Capes said.
9. Mark It Down.
You’re the boss of this sale, which means you can slash prices on a whim. Some people post a “half price on everything” sign either in the afternoon of the first day of the sale or at the outset of the second day.
10. Consider the Neighborhood.
In an affluent suburb, you might be able to get away with higher prices, Capes said. However, if you live near a college campus, students won’t pay a lot, even for stuff they need. Price it cheap, though, and college kids will snatch up your toaster oven, distressed coffee table and other household bargains.
11. Let It Go.
You’re holding a sale to get rid of stuff, so be happy when you see someone drive away with your childhood catcher’s mitt or the fancy food processor you never used. Spangler sold her stuff cheap, including a $250 kitchen butcher block for $80 to a man who couldn’t wait to get it home.
“That guy was happy to get it, and I knew things were going to a good home,” she said. “My main objective was to unclutter rather than give or throw it away.”