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Tips For Pricing Yard Sale Items

yard-sale-pricesIf you want to be smiling at the end of your yard sale and feel good that you’ve sold most of your items, then price everything very low! I’m not kidding.

Otherwise, you’ll just end the day frustrated and sad that you went to all this trouble to set up and run a day-long (or 2-day long) yard sale… yet you’ve got nothing to show for it!

My advice is to just sell everything and be done with it, rather than try to make some outlandish profit in the end. It’s far more frustrating to be left with most of what you started with in the end than it is to sell it for too low of a price.

That I know. (Been there, done that.)

Now, what’s the best way to go through and price all those items?…


Price Tags vs Haggling

Unless someone is a seasoned yard sale shopper, most people aren’t all that comfortable “haggling” to get the best deal on a yard sale item.

I’ve found that most shoppers would rather know what you’re asking for an item (thus, price tags or yard sale stickers are a necessity). And only about one-third of those will try to talk you down on the price.

If you don’t have price tags (or table signs – see below) on all of your items, then chances are the very shy people (or someone who is just mildly interested in an item) won’t ever speak up and ask you the price.

People who might have bought, if they only saw a pricetag on the item, will just quietly leave your sale instead.

Here are some printable yard sale price tags that are colorful and feature various denominations — from 10 cents to 10 dollars!



Price Tags vs Signs

blue-tape-price-tagsI generally price every single item, one-by-one.

I use blue painter’s tape and a black Sharpie marker. I place my handmade price labels on the back (or bottom) of each item. The blue tape is completely removable — from everything! (Just don’t leave it on for days, as it will begin to permanently adhere to paper items.)

Tip: I always keep my pricing materials (blue painter’s tape & Sharpies) in close reach throughout the sale, in case I forgot to price something. Or, I decide at the last minute to sell 2 items separately rather than as one item. Or, I choose to lower the price at the last minute. Plus, I’m always adding items to the yard sale up until the very last minute when I close down.

I’ve also experimented by using signs instead of labels which state:

“Items on this table 25 cents each”
“Posters $1 each”
“All magazines 50 cents each”

But people still ask, “How much is this?”

paper-sign-protectorJust the same, when I hand-label each item with a price tag, I still get people asking, “How much are your DVD movies?”… “How much is this?” … “How much is that?”

So, I guess the verdict is still out on this one.

I’ll probably continue to do some combination of both pricing methods.

Here’s a tip if you are trying to sell something that is fairly high dollar and it’s a popular item that appears in catalogs or sale ads. Cut out the ad with the item in it (with the price showing of course) and tape it to your item. I’ve seen this done mostly with gently used children’s toys and such. It shows the buyer that spending $10 for an item that normally sells for $40 new is a good deal. Be selective if you use this this tactic, people will get turned off if you do it for every item you’re trying to sell. — The Yard Sale Queen


Make An Offer… No Way!

haggling-prices-at-yard-saleAnother thing I’ve learned firsthand: People don’t like to “make an offer”. They want to know what your starting bid is first, so they can offer something lower.

At my last yard sale, I had a bunch of collectibles (Michael Jordan stuff, Nolan Ryan stuff, old-timey memorabilia from Kool-Aid, Campbell’s Soup, etc.) and, despite the “Make an offer” signs prominently hung in front of these items, people repeatedly asked me, “How much do you want for this?”

My reply of, “Make me an offer” was never accepted. They would all balk and cringe and mumble something to the effect of: “I don’t want to make an offer… I want to know how much you want for it.”

Point taken.

Only one woman forced me on the issue. She talked me into starting the bidding process. And I guess she liked the priced, cuz she jumped on it, without any hesitation.

That was my fear… Since I’m not into collectibles, I wanted someone who was to start the bidding process. Because if I started, not knowing the item’s true value, I’d likely start it too low and get “taken.”

howdy doodyBut that’s just not how yardsaling goes… They expect you to know what you’re selling.

So I’ve learned my lesson. Collectibles should not be sold at garage sales — unless you know exactly what you’ve got and precisely what it’s worth.

Otherwise, collectibles are best sold on eBay.

And, quite honestly, your chances of having “a Michael Jordan collector” or “a Nolan Ryan collector” or even a true stamp or coin collector who’s willing to pay some serious money for a worthy collection swing by your yard sale are pretty slim anyway! Yard sale people are looking for bargains, not pricey collectibles.

Why even bother with the amateurs who are more curious than anything, and their chances of actually buying one of your collectibles is quite slim?

I’d highly recommend that you use eBay for any and all collectibles. Period.



How To Find The Value Of Any Item

When you’re pricing all of your garage sale items, here are some helpful resources to help you decide on the prices you’ll be asking for your yard sale items:

yard-sale-tips-and-treasuresSites like these can be used as a guide for what to price things. Your best bet is to find the highest and lowest prices for a particular item, then pick a middle-ranged price — if you really want to sell it, that is.

If a particular item is something that’s near and dear to your heart, then pick the higher price — just know that you’re likely to end up keeping it.

As a rule, I price everything 50 cents higher than I’m actually willing to sell it for. That way, I’ve got some “bargaining room”. I’ve found that most people try to talk you down 50 to 75 cents, on average.

Keep in mind, yardsalers are thrifty shoppers looking for bargains. They want rock-bottom prices that are far below what they could buy the item for in a store… brand new. You don’t want to intimidate people with high prices. You want to get rid of your stuff!

Standard prices in our area for popular items are as follows:

  • Books (Hardback) – $.50 to $1.00
  • Books (Paperback) – $.25 to $.50
  • Magazines – $.10 to $.25
  • Cassette Tapes – $.25
  • CDs – $.50 to $1.00
  • DVDs – $1.00 to $2.00
  • Clothing – $.25 to $3.00 (dependent on quality and shape of items – some clothing can even get more!)
  • Children’s Toys – range greatly in price, usually from .$25 to several dollars depending on the brand and quality of toy.
  • Electronic Equipment and Furniture – can go for a lot of money, but only if in good working order and cleaned and maintained properly.



What Do You Do If Nothing Is Selling?

how-to-run-a-successful-yard-saleHalf-way through your sale (if not sooner), you need to take a step back and assess the situation. If items are selling, then you probably don’t need to do anything differently.

But if you’ve hardly sold anything — or you just want to blow-out the rest of the items that haven’t sold yet — then consider having a “1/2 Off Sale!”

This m
akes your sale fun and unique too.

How? Simply post some signs — on COLORFUL cardboard or paper. Some phrases to consider are “Everything must go!”… “1/2 Price Sale Til 4PM”… “All Prices 1/2 Off!”

I’d recommend you print up some signs for this purpose ahead of time — just in case.

Or, if it’s late in the day, and you see someone looking at a particular item for a few minutes longer than most, yet they don’t buy it. Before they leave, offer that item to them at 1/2-price. Most of the people I’ve done this with will actually buy it at the lower price!

The early bird gets the worm, but the late bird gets the closeouts!

What if, at the end of the day, you’re left with most of the items that you started with? Here’s what to do with yard sale leftovers.

Continue reading my 14-part series: