Saturday, August 4

Making Room to Breathe

I think I mentioned a few/several/manymany weeks ago that we had a garage sale and promised some details. Well here they are! Better late than never, right? I have some pics and a few tips on pricing and selling, and I'm also planning a post about how cutting the clutter can give you more room to move and breathe at home!

Our sale wasn't as big as last year which I'm actually pretty happy about. That means we didn't bring as much junk in, and I've been better about avoiding things I don't really need. Hopefully someday I'll get to the point when I don't need to have any yard sale at all! It was kind of nice to go through the house and not find as many things wasting my space and not living up to their potential.

Set Up
So, the details: We started set-up the day before by setting up tables in the garage and sorting all the merchandise (I feel fancy when I call it that) and pricing everything. It's best to sort your items and group like things together (like kitchen stuff, toys, children's clothing by size, holiday, decor, etc.) so people can more easily get an idea of what they are looking at. The morning of the sale, we moved the tables out to the driveway where they would be more visible and put up a few signs around the neighborhood.

Tips for Success
I have a whole post dedicated to tips on having a successful garage sale but here is a quick recap of my suggestions:
  1. Post Good Signs - a free way to help people to find your sale and buy your stuff!
  2. Advertise - get even more people to find your sale
  3. Bring a Friend - "multi-family" sales draw a bigger crowd, and it's more fun with a friend
  4. Put the Attention-Getters in Front - you need to gain interest quick to draw people in
  5. Clearly Mark Prices - most people would rather put it back than ask the price
  6. Barter - be willing to go lower, your main goal is getting rid of stuff
  7. Be on Time - lots of people come early, and won't bother coming back if you're not open yet
  8. Have Plenty of Change - don't miss out on a sale because you can't bread a $20
  9. Be Honest - tell people if something doesn't work/has a stain/is missing a part/etc.
  10. Price Reasonably - no one cares how much it cost new. what would you pay for the item at someone else's yard sale? that should be your price.
You can see the complete post with more details here.

I feel like pricing can vary quite a bit based on location. This is how we tend to price items to fit the patterns of our town. But things could be totally different in your area!
  • Clothes - I like to do a set price for certain items to keep things simple. That way I can just put up a sign listing the prices for most of the items. Here is how I like to break things down:
    • Tshirts - $0.25 each
    • Other Shirts - $0.50 each
    • Pants - $1.00 each
    • Sweaters - $1.00 each
    • Shoes - priced individually $1 or $2 each
    • Dresses - priced individually $2 - $3 each
    • Coats and Jackets - priced individually $2-$5 each
  • Baby Clothes - I usually do a sign for these as well. I like to do $0.25 per piece for clothing and receiving blankets (so a two-piece outfit would be $0.50). 
  • Toys - it really depends on what kind of toy it is, how common it is, and what condition it is in. Here are some of my pricing strategies:
    • Small toys - I group like items into ziploc bags (toy cars, toy animals, small dolls, etc) and sell them by the bag. Usually for $0.35 - $0.50 per bag.
    • Common toys, all the little plastic things - A lot of these plasticy light up toys are pretty common (I see the same baseball toy at every yard sale I go to), so they really aren't worth a whole lot. I usually price them $0.50 - $2 depending on what it is. 
    • High quality/wooden toys - the nice wooden, name brand toys (like Melissa and Doug) seem to be more popular and sought after. I price those anywhere from $2 - $5.
  • Larger Baby Items - I don't really  have a good rule for these. I just price them for what I would expect to pay at another yard sale (also depending on their condition):
    • swing - $15
    • highchair - $15
    • play mat - $3
    • bathtub - $1
  • Furniture - this varies a lot. Things like size, age, condition, and composition (solid wood vs. particle board) all affect the value. This is how I've priced things in the past (I didn't have much furniture this year):
    • wardrobe - $20
    • wooden nightstands - $5 each
    • dressers - $15 - $30
    • chairs - $5 - 10 each
  • Dishes - some things sell better grouped together (like a set of mixing bowls, matching mugs, a set of plates) while others do better individually (large unique pieces, serving dishes). I try to think of how I would buy them and sell  them the same way:
    • plastic dishes - I'll tape together a stack of plastic plates or cups and sell them for around $0.50 - $1 for the set depending on the condition and how many I have.
    • ceramic dishes - whether grouped or individually, I would sell them for $0.25 - $1.00 per piece depending on quality and style
    • larger pieces, serving ware - any thing like this I will mark any where from $1 - $5 each, but usually around $3. Like I said, it depends on what it is.
  • Decor - just try to be reasonable. I don't have a rule of thumb here either, but here are a few examples:
    • pillows - $1 each
    • blankets - $1 - $2 each
    • artwork - $1 - $2 if it's actually good art, $0.50 if it can just be used for the frame
    • holiday - $1 for lights, $0.25-0.50 for random ornaments, you may have to price low to sell Christmas stuff in the summer time. :)
  • Books - This year I did straight up $0.50 for books, $0.25 for children's books. I needed to get rid of them. If I want to try to get more than that, I'll list them on or something. :)
We try to price on the lower end of the local market because, remember, our main goal is to get rid of the stuff. Any money we make is a bonus! Anything we don't sell gets donated anyway, so a low price is better than nothing. And it's nice to let the buyer feel like they are getting a good deal, too. :)

We ran a narrow board between two chairs for a make-shift clothing rack.
 We had a LOT of baby shampoos left from our baby shower over a year ago. We go through it SO slowly that it just wasn't worth storing it anymore. I priced the unopened bottles for $1 each. We also got rid of a bunch of cleaning supplies (in favor of more earth-friendly options) and I sold the open bottles for $0.50 - $1.00 each depending on how full they were.

When it's Over
 As soon as your sale is over, get rid of the left overs! I like to put out a big "FREE to a good home" sign during the last few hours of the last day. Anything left after that gets donated. Don't even bring it back in the house or you will be tempted to start pulling things back out to keep! Now pat yourself on the back for cutting the clutter and giving yourself a little more room to breathe. :)

My mom brought some antiques to sell - I don't know anything about pricing those, though. :)

That's all the advice I have for now. If you have any questions I will happily try to help! If you want more yard sale goodies, you can check out all my yard sale shopping posts here, and my tips for yard sale shopping here. Happy selling!

****I'm sorry to say that I do sell gifts from time to time. If you see something you given me, please know that I am still very grateful. But I have to do what's best for my family at this time in our current home and season of life (which is always changing) which unfortunately sometimes means passing on things that do not currently fit our needs. I do apologize if this means we've had to give up some of the wonderful gifts we have recieved from friends and family.****


  1. Great advice! I totally agree with your point of view on selling gifts. For awhile I kept things just because so-and-so gave them to me. Now I remind myself I'm not rejecting that special person in my life, just passing on an item that someone else could put to better use.

    1. Yeh, I feel guilty giving away presents too. But when I got rid of some of my gifts, it was great to see those who received it were so happy.