Garage Sales How Do I Do One ??

Updated on April 05, 2011
J.M. asks from Lansing, KS
17 answers

Ok mama's I really would like to have a garage sale to get rid of some stuff (we still have all of my daughters past clothing..we had planned on having more but have not been lucky in that dept, so now that she is almost 7 its time to move it out). I have the basic idea of how to do it but I have questions about how to price things. All of her old clothing is in excellent condition, no stain, not worn or won out looking, some of the items I have bought her were high priced ( Hannah Andersson & some other expensive places or expensive to me) How do I price these things I understand garage sales are to buy things cheap but I kinda look at it as if I paid 50 for a dress and it was only worn a few times and in great condition is it too much to ask for 5-10 for those kinds of items? I dont plan on pricing everthing that way, but I am afraid Im going to come away from it feeling like I wasted money on these items if I dont sale them for a 'good' price. Is that just the way it is? Can I be firm with my pricing? Just so you guys know I dont plan on pricing all items like this just the ones that I spent more on. Any advice would be great I have never had a garage sale before and have only been to a few.

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answers from Bloomington on

If I were you I'd put the expensive clothing items on Ebay. If you group some same sized items together, you will make a lot more money than if you had a garage sale. You could also try Craig's List first because it is free to list!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

The best time to do a Garage sale is the beginning or end of a month.. that is when people get paid. Try to borrow tables or rent them.. People do not like bending over to look at things on the ground.. It makes it not look as important.

Yes, it is worth is to run an ad in the local paper as well as place an add on craigslist.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

A blog I read has great tips on hosting a garage sale:

You can be firm on pricing, but you have to ask yourself, do you want to get rid of stuff or do you want to make money?

Usually, if a person comes up to me with a handful of things that I priced a little higher, I'll just say all of that for $12 and usually it's fine. If I had calculated it all up it would have been more, but an armload discount is good by me. Really, you can price it higher and be ready to haggle.

For the higher end things, you would probably have better luck putting it on ebay or craigslist. Even consignments shops will take them, but they usually don't pay well either.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Oh my gosh, I've had so many yard sales. You would never get $5-$10 for any 1 item of childrens clothing. For very nice things that you feel very strongly about getting decent money for, let me suggest consigning them. Look in your yellow pages for consignment shops, especially those that specialize in childrens things. I have been consigning for years and have made good money for things I knew I could never get good money for in a yard sale. All the consignment shops I have ever dealt with selects a price for your item (s) and you get 50 % of whatever they sell it for. Visit some consignment shops before bringing your things in to see if they sell their things for good prices or dirt cheap prices. I prefer to deal with higher end consignment shops to ensure a good payout.

Getting back to yard sales, the best thing you can do is price to sell. People will want just about everything for half of what you ask for so always price slightly higher but be prepared to let something go for a lot less. You just wouldn't believe what people will ask of you. I had 3 large Rubbermaid containers of childrens clothing, priced at 50 cents an item. Someone came and wanted all 3 containers for $10. I said no way because I took the time to count all the things and there was well over $30 worth of clothing in those containers. No, I didn't sell the rest of those clothes and I ended up bringing them back into storage where they came from but I just consigned a big bag of clothes from those containers and I am hopeful and confident that I will make good money on them. You can be firm with certain items but if you are not willing to negotiate with someone who wants it way cheaper, 9 times out of 10, they will walk away and you still have the item. You can also sell nice clothing and housewares (and just about anything else too) on Ebay. I have sold lots of things on Ebay, including childrens clothing. There are ways to make money but with a yard sale, sadly, you might not make as much as you plan on making. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I always have a separate table/hanging rack for higher priced items. Have tables full of the 50cents each kind of stuff but then hanging rack with the nicer stuff. and put your $5 - $10 price tags on those You can be firm with pricing but if someone is buying $10 worth of 50cent stuff and says will you take $7 for this $10 dress I would say how about $8 and go with it. or you will end up with a bunch of stuff left over and a resale type shop will give you a dollar and you will be stuck. the other option is to try ebay.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Clothing at a garage sell normally does not go for more then a dollar, most of the time less. :( For items that you feel are worth more try going to a resale shop (although you still won't get too much for it) or selling on Ebay or, maybe even find someone you know with a child in that size and ask if they are interested in looking thru your name brand clothing before you sell to others. Ive had tons and tons of yard sells in my lifetime. Ive had name brand clothing, price tags still on them that only sell for a dollar. Normally jeans and name brands are priced around $1-$2 and everything else is like .50. Yard sells are more like I need this stuff gone Vs. I want what it's worth. At my last yard sell my hubby had put in this talking, dancing parrot (gift, he didn't purchase it lol) It was purchased for $70 and my mom sold it for $1!! Needless to say he wasn't too happy but it kind of goes with the yard sale territory!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

For your brand name like new clothes try a Just Between Friends sale- you can find them on line- you'll get a lot more for the clothes than a garage sale or a consignment shop:)



answers from Glens Falls on

My experience with garage sales is that no matter how fair you price things, people will still try to get it for less. If it's marked a quarter, they want it for a dime! So price where you want to, you can always slash prices later in the day or give a discount to someone who is buying a lot of things. Be sure that you check with city hall on whether you need a license and what your town's policies are for signs, etc. I think garage sales are a lot of fun - we have one every year!



answers from Kansas City on

Remember also that they are not 'recent' purchases, even though they are still 'like new.' The consignment shops may be a good way to go to get more money, but some only take them if they are the latest around here looks online to see if items are in the stores now, they know when tags change, etc. The best bet may to sell the clothes at a Just Between Friends sale (or some similar event) in your area.

For a garage sale, I would go ahead and price things slightly higher than what you will take, be prepared to haggle, and offer discounts to people buying in bulk. Price like items similarly. Newer, less worn, expensive items are one price while slightly more worn, less expensive items priced a little lower. A good tip is to HANG all clothes on a rack so people can 'shop' like in a store. They will (a) pay more for items displayed like that and (b) tend to look longer at more organized clothes. They won't feel like they need to be careful and refold anything. Also, sort by size and color when possible. HTH! :)


answers from Birmingham on

With the pricier clothes and such, you might want to try selling them on ebay. Done a few huge group family garage sales before, and even in a nice suburb neighborhood, people who came seemed offended if any clothes where over 2$ Even Nordstrom stuff!


answers from Rochester on

I've been having garage sales my entire life (if I count all the ones my mother made me help with.) I've got some good advice, I hope.

No one is going to pay ten dollars for a dress at a garage sale, even if it's only been worn once. I wouldn't. My mom buys my daughters adorable boutique clothes and they don't get much wear at all (some none at all, because they just aren't my style) and I don't think I EVER price a fancy dress over four dollars...and that's for a $70 Macy's Christmas dress.

Jeans in great condition...$1.00 to $1.50
Sweaters in great condition...$1.00
Shorts, t-shirts in great condition 50 cents to $1.00
Shoes that are HARDLY visible wear...$2.00 to $3.00

Of course, if you are set on a price, set it. If you don't sell it, you won't have made any money on it, and you'll still have it.

It really depends on what your goal get what you believe is a fair price, or rid your house of unwanted items while having the bonus of making a little money. Me, I always have a ton of stuff to get rid of (my mother and mother-in-law like to shop, and although I appreciate it, we don't even get to use some of the stuff and I wish they'd stop!) and that's just what I want to do...get rid of it.

So I price it for what I would buy it for used, and as the day goes on, sometimes I mark stuff down. I definitely bargain with people...if I see they have a stack of clothes, I'll say something like "I'll give you a grocery bag full of clothes for $10" or something. They might stuff 15-20 dollars worth of stuff in it, but then I got rid of more than they were going to buy. If they ask "will you take this much?" I say yes unless they are offering a ridiculous price.

Toys, baby gear, etc, I make a lot more on. I paid a hundred for the infant swing, and I know I'll get 50 for it. Same with the bouncer and the carseat/stroller combo.

Really, make sure everything is super, etc...and they'll go for more.

For the more expensive dresses, maybe you should consider a consignment shop?

Have fun with it!


answers from Cleveland on

Garage sales are for people who; 1)want to get stuff for cheap, and 2)want to get rid of stuff. Garage sales are all about clearing out clutter and getting a little bit of cash out of it. I buy tons of clothes and toys at garage sales, but won't pay more than a couple of bucks a BAG for clothes. There are far too many sales to choose from to pay higher prices than that.
If you are interested in making money off your higher end items, consign them out or sell them on ebay or craigs list. You won't be able to sell them for higher prices at a garage sale.
As for the prices, it's all up to you. I don't mind people haggling with me because I want to get rid of my stuff. However, if you want to be firm with your prices, I would be sure to place LARGE signs saying "All prices final. Please, no bargaining!"
Good luck with your sale!



answers from Kansas City on

I just wanted to add that in addition to all these great garage sale tips, don't forget that your daughter wore the dress and you paid the higher price so you could enjoy those moments more. Don't think of selling the items for less than you'd hope as a waste, but as a bonus for getting money back on something you've enjoyed! Also, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to see a dress priced like that in JOCO, especially if they were advertising boutique items. Mind you, I'd never buy them, but I wouldn't be surprised.



answers from St. Louis on

check into resale shops in Kansas City. I think you'll be happier than using EBay, Craigslist, etc. My problem with Craigslist is having strangers come to my house!

Day of sale: set up the night before if your neighborhd allows that. Have everything clearly priced, & be willing to negotiate. The whole point of having a sale is to make some $$$ before you donate it away! If the stuff is priced too high, then you're wasting your time!

*Have a money box of ones/fives & lots of change. I usually have $40 in my box prior to the sale.
*Have extra price tags, a calculator, a pad of paper.
*As I make $$$, I stash the $20s in the house so it's not sitting out/in my pocket.
*Have several bags full of plastic grocery bags for your customers. I also try to have a stash of newspapers for wrapping breakables.
*I try to display "like" items on the tables. All the clothes together, with the sizes clearly marked....or the people have to waste time looking for themselves. All the toys together, etc.
*Make sure the items for sale are on tables/boxes/etc. Most people don't like buying off of the ground.

**& we have a few "traditions": we always have doughuts for the family. We always have extra lawn chairs so friends can visit. We always post this in the newspaper, listing the "special" items....which would be those clothes you have. AND for legal protection.....we always post a "Not Responsible for Accidents" sign....detailing our name, address, & date.

Oh, & we always have a box full of FREE's fun to make people happy, especially kids!


answers from San Francisco on

Some cities and towns require you to get a permit for a tag sale. You might want to check on that.



answers from Washington DC on

I'm not sure if you have them in your city but here we have "Wee-Sale and Wee-Cycle." They are HUGE consignment sales that happen in the spring (for spring and summer clothes) and the Fall for (fall and winter clothes). The clothes are sold from $3 and up. If you have items that aren't going to sell for $3 a piece then you group that item in a bundle for $3. They also have an "upscale boutique" section where the clothes go for $10 and up. You would receive 55% of the sale the house keeps the rest. If you volunteer to work a 4 hour shift of the sale then your rate jumps up to 65% I know both of these are on facebook. If you are on fb, try searching on there for local sales. Try googling consignment sales in your area. I have done the Wee-Sale the last 3 years and have always been able to sell unneeded items and I buy most if not all of my girls clothes there. Many of the items still have the tags on them and they are nice brands like Osh Kosh. In general people expect to get clothing at a yard sale for $1 and under. You may make out better by selling at a Wee-Sale type event or selling on ebay.



answers from New York on

you might consider consignment for the more expensive items. garage sales are for savung, emotional selling doesnot empty the garage or the house... i make $, by allowing flexible pricing...

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