Garage Sale Pricing Guide: Kids' Stuff, Toys, Furniture, Art, Clothes

Selling old things can be a way to make quick cash, but garage sales can also be ripe for under-valuations and pricing mistakes. Here’s an easy seller’s guide for the most common items.

child sitting outside for yard sale
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When trying to offload old books, furniture, kids' items, and clothes, a garage sale is just one of many ways to get the job done. You can sell online on Facebook marketplace or Craigslist, bargain with neighbors on the Next Door app, or drop everything off with a charity. But if you're trying to get top dollar for your household goods, then the latter two options are off the table.

And if you like convincing people that your trash is their treasure, then there's nothing quite like the thrill of a garage sale. Before you set your picnic table and lawn chairs in the front yard, you have to choose a pricing strategy that will set you up for success. Here are some tips, based on the type, age, and condition of your pre-loved items.

Kids' Stuff

Kids' items generally include gently used clothes, toys, and baby accessories. Because they can easily be found at thrift stores, consider pricing your items to move by looking at the cheapest available alternatives in your region.

While many people set prices around the full retail value of their unused or gently worn items, you have to consider competitors. Some baby items are unlikely to sell—baby bottles, cloth diapers—. because of hygiene concerns. And other things can be up-sold because they're just no longer available on the market, but your garage sale prices should land somewhere in the middle.

Scope out the competition by checking on Craigslist, as well as the local big box stores—Walmart, Target, Marshalls, and others—for similar items. Your price should likely be around 10 to 15 percent lower than the cheapest available item. Why? If a buyer has stopped by your home, then there's no need for shipping, handling, or delivery. After all, if your kids have outgrown these items, buyers are doing you a favor by taking these pre-used items off your hands as quickly (and conveniently) as possible.

Toys

Sometimes a toy is just a toy, but in other cases, it is an antique or collectible. If you have a collection of well-kept items, like stuffed animals, dolls, action figures, video games, baseball cards, etc., you could be sitting on a gold mine. Do your research before you sell. The Spruce Crafts offers a guide to learn more about the value of old and well-kept porcelain dolls. They suggest checking the manufacturer's label to learn its age and condition. Otherwise, you might need to hire an appraiser to inspect for any markings that could indicate the current market value. The same is true for action figures in their original packaging.

If you're trying to get rid of newer toys that your kids recently discarded, you won't need an appraiser. Just browse online for similar products to learn the going rate. If it is an electronic item, consider if there are newer upgrades on the market. Know that you might have to drop the price significantly to sell an outdated tech toy. And toys with nicks, dents, and signs of wear and tear should be priced under $10.

Furniture

Price furniture based on its condition and age, but also advertise in the right places. Rarely will someone just stroll past your house in search of a 3-seater sofa with chaise. Instead, most folks are expecting to pick up smaller items like flatware and dishes. To find the right person who comes prepared (with a U-Haul or pick-up truck) for bulky items, you'll need to have gotten the word out early to the right people. Post on estate sale websites and tell your friends and neighbors a week (or more) in advance that your sale will be popping up.

Put up fliers near furniture stores and universities, where people are shopping for a bargain and have a sense of adventure for pre-owned items. If there are antique stores or up-cyclers in your area, email them first and share a photo of your item. If they offer a benchmark price that includes the cost of pick-up, then that's the price to beat at the garage sale. Remember, if your items are overpriced, you'll have to lug them back into the garage, so draw as many serious buyers as possible in the hopes of offloading your goods.

Art and Trinkets

Similar to toys, art and trinkets might need an appraiser's eye. Old posters, figurines, and even snow globes could be worth a pretty penny to a collector, even if they're an eyesore to you. If you have the original receipt, the best bet is to affix it to the back of the piece and ask for that price. Given inflation, the same amount is worth less, making it a fair starting point. However, if you have a bunch of mass-manufactured items that could be bought anywhere, consider offering a bulk rate to anyone able to take it all off your hands at once.

Clothes

Clothes come a dime a dozen, so it is hard to charge more than $10 for anything that has had years of use. For kids' gear, even with the tags on, expect items to sell for less than $3. The smaller the child, the less time they'll really use it anyway. So toddler items should be priced a bit higher than baby items—but they're all inexpensive. Winter jackets, snow boots, and other seasonal items could be worth quite a bit, though it can also be tough to close a sale during the summer. Parents usually aren't thinking about holding on to things for very long and they don't want to predict if a growing tot will be able to fit something in a few months' time.

To get rid of adult clothes that no longer spark joy, make sure that the apparel you're selling is clean and in good condition. You don't want people to stumble upon something they love only to discover a stain, burn mark, or trash in its pockets. Of course, everyone knows that garage sales are final, but neighbors are also gossips. Be mindful that you want your sale to be the talk of the town—for the right reasons.

Men's wear can typically sell for under $20, depending on the size and durability. Unless it's designer, women's wear goes for less, typically under $15, given that fast fashion makes older items less competitive for buyer's attention.

Bottom line: Know your market

When pricing items for a garage sale, it is important to know your market. Research comparators and consider online pre-sales before lugging heavy items to the yard. If you have receipts, it can help to hold on to them and to share with future buyers. But receipts may be more useful to appraisers, whose job it is to find out if your item is junk or a jackpot. If you're trying to make quick sales, you'll need both good advertising and accurate pricing. The starting price is likely to be negotiated down, as the day goes on and as buyers dwindle. Give yourself some wiggle room to offer flash sales if, in fact, everything must go.

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