Our Garage Sale: How We Started Pricing Garage Sale Items, & 9 Steps to a Successful Garage Sale!

Published on July 14, 2014 By Lauren

pricing garage sale items

Over the weekend Mark and I had a HUGE garage sale to get rid of things we didn’t need anymore.

We previously used our attic for storage, but now that it’s been turned into our office we put all our stuff in the basement.  We couldn’t even walk in our basement because it was overflowing with junk, so we decided to have a garage sale.  At the end of this post we’ll share how much we made.

One thing that is always controversial is pricing garage sale items.  How do you do it? How much should you charge?

In order to answer these questions you need to have clear goals for the sale. If you want to make a lot of money and get the maximum price for everything you own, DO NOT have a garage sale!  However, if you want to get rid of things and just make some extra cash, then a garage sale may be right for you.

To get the maximum for each item, I recommend using Craigslist or Ebay. People that shop at garage sales are looking for deals; and if your things are overpriced, they won’t tell their friends and they won’t buy  anything.


Here are NINE tips on how to have a successful garage sale:

1.)  Pick a Date.

Once you have your date set, invite your friends to join you. We had seven families in our sale this year.  The more items at your sale, the more popular it will be!  Plus, our kids played together and it was a great excuse to spend two whole days with friends!

2.) Go Through Your Entire House & Ask Yourself These Questions:

When was the last time I used this item?

Would I miss it if it was gone?

We found a lot of things still in boxes from when we moved into our house four years ago. Obviously we didn’t need them because if we did we’d have found them by now.  We sold those items as well as toys that hadn’t been touched in a while. They weren’t happy at first, but it helped us clear out the clutter.

pricing garage sale items

3.) Clean Your Items Before Selling.

Clean items sell better.  We washed all of the clothes and cleaned the toys with Clorox wipes.

pricing garage sale items

4.) Organize Your Items.

Organizing sizes and similar items is so important!  We washed everything, then sorted and labeled.

This is especially helpful when you sell children’s clothing. Proper organization can help you make double your money!

pricing garage sale items

5.) Advertise Well

There are so many FREE advertising options these days.  We set up a Facebook event to provide information to our friends.  All seven families shared it and invited more people.  This was crucial to getting the word out.  Another place to advertise is Craiglist, because those are pulled into the garage sale apps.  You should update your post with pictures once your sale is set up so that people can see what you are offering.

A few helpful apps to download are YardSale,  YardSale Treasure Map, and Garage Sales by Map. These tell people what sales are going on in their area; most of the ones on these apps are posts from Craigslist.

We also made signs and hung them up in busy intersections near our house. Make sure they are BIG and don’t have too much information. I wrote “HUGE SALE” with my address and the dates. Remember that people will be reading while driving, so make them VERY easy to see.

6.) Price Things to Sell

Why would you go to the trouble to have a garage sale if your items are too expensive and no one bought them?  

We have a rule in our house – if it goes out to be sold in a garage sale, it does not come back inside the house. I’ll either sell it or donate it at the end of the day.

This is what we did for the clothing at our sale:

  • Kids’ Clothing – $0.50 per item or $1.00 per outfit. (unless otherwise marked)
  • Adult Clothing – $1.00 (unless otherwise marked)
  • Kids’ Shoes – $1.00 per pair.
  • End of the 2nd day – Fill a bag for $2.00.  This helped us clear out a lot of clothing that had not yet sold

pricing garage sale items

7.) Place Items on Tables or Hang Them Up.

It makes such a difference when you arrange items on tables or hang them up.  When you organize and make it easy for people to see and find things, it makes the shopping experience so much better.  We had bins of kids’ clothes on top of tables and we also had the outfits and more expensive items hung up as you can see above.

8.) Price and Label Your Items Clearly.

Why do people think it’s a good idea to not price their items at garage sales?  If I don’t see prices I walk away or offer really low prices.

Think about going into Target and seeing everything without prices.  Wouldn’t that make you nervous and confused?  I think leaving off prices in the hopes that people will offer you more money is not a good way to run a sale. You need to set the bar a bit higher than what you want.  Assume people will negotiate with you and you’ll eventually get the price you want.

What happens when you don’t have items labeled and priced?  People who don’t want to offend you by offering a price too low don’t buy anything. Then you get people like me who try to get the items for next to nothing. Remember that most garage sale shoppers know what they are doing, and know how to negotiate. If you set your own prices you’ll make more money.

pricing garage sale items

9.) Stay Organized.

When you have so many families in one sale, you need a way to keep track of the money.  We use a spreadsheet that Mark created for our sale and you can easily figure out who sells what, and how much money they made.  The cashier should sit next to the computer and the cash box at all times (this was Mark for most of the time) to keep the money safe, and to keep things organized.

You can download the spreadsheet for FREE below – this should help you stay organized!  You can also watch a short 2 minute video that I made on how to use this spreadsheet here.

pricing garage sale itemsWe also have grocery bags on hand to bag people’s items when they cash out.

pricing garage sale items

Consider donating whatever you don’t sell to a local charity.

When our sale was over, we loaded everything into the back of our van and donated it to our local rescue mission.  These items will go to a much better place and remember:  it doesn’t go back into our house!!


pricing garage sale items

So…what did we make this year?

After clearing out our basement and selling the items, we made $760.00!  Not too bad! Our goal was to make $500, so we far exceeded that goal!

Remember this information by Pinning this graphic below – this will keep you organized for your next sale!

pricing garage sale items


My son also set up a lemonade stand this year – and he made $59.00!


pricing garage sale items

He priced his lemonade at $0.50 per cup and the cookies for $0.50 each. But then offered a deal where you could get two cookies and a lemonade for only $1.00!  What a deal and most people that made a purchase bought the deal!

Finally – if you want to see how I shop at garage sales, you can watch my video below (it was made when I was pregnant with Abby last summer).



What are your tips for a successful garage sale?