Frugal Living

How To Price Garage Sale Items

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Pricing for a garage sale can be hit or miss, so buyers keep their eyes open for a great deal.

It’s that time again when garage sale signs are popping up all over the neighbourhoods.

If you plan on hosting a garage sale, please be aware of the garage sale health Canada warning.

The guide details what you can and cannot sell at your garage sale.

Today, I want to discuss how to price garage sale items, so you get the optimum amount back.

How To Price Garage Sale Items In Canada
How To Price Garage Sale Items In Canada

Summer Garage Sale Downsizing

A garage sale might be on your summer to-do list to downsize what you no longer use at home.

We go by the theory that if we haven’t used it in 6 months, we discuss selling or donating.

Pricing is one of the most challenging tasks for having a garage sale if the end goal is profit.

We have also been to garage sales and talked to sellers who get items for free using coupons.

Products such as shampoo, deodorant, laundry soap, body, and toothpaste that the seller gets for free are resold for profit.

Don’t dismiss used products either, as we’ve found partially used or opened expensive body products.

Someone will sell it if it can potentially sell, especially if they need money.

Store closings are also a popular way to get products to sell at garage sales for reduced prices.

We once went to a dollar store garage sale where products that were once $1 were now $0.10 each.

As a seller, you might want to consider whether what you are selling is a price you would pay.

Planning A Garage Sale

If your goal is to have a successful garage sale, planning at least two months in advance is ideal.

Essential items to plan for in advance are what many sellers forget to do.

  • Pricing items in advance by researching the current value
  • Advertising on utility posts, newspapers and online garage sale groups on Facebook or Kijiji.

A common mistake is advertising a garage sale online and forgetting the address, time, or date.

Below is a garage sale ad example that is easy to market and will potentially get you traffic. 

Don’t be shy to add a bit of humour to your garage sale sign or online listing.

A catchy advertisement means that more people might read it and share it.

What else do you think should be in this garage sale ad?

Garage Sale Ad Example

Moving Sale

Wonderville, Ontario – Huge Garage Sale, Saturday, May 19, 2013, rain or shine, from 7 am to noon on Dovey Crescent.

MASSIVE Garage Sale located at the South end of Dovey Street.

Attached, please see a Google Map help with directions.

Items For Sale Include:

  • Baby Boy and Girls clothing 6 months to 5T.
  • Gardening Tools
  • Home Decor
  • Books
  • Oversized Rugs
  • King-size Bedding
  • Mechanics Tools
  • Winter Tires

No early birds, or I’ll have to cage you and sell you for a negotiated price!

Our children are holding Bake Sale with chocolate chip cookies, coffee, water and orange juice.

Bring your appetite.

Everyone Welcome!!

Who Goes To Garage Sales?

Garage sales are for everyone, and the “poor people” stereotype that we sometimes hear is the wrong attitude to have.

Remember you can’t judge a person from their clothes, their car and where they shop.

You get the odd snotty homeowner who looks down at you, but who cares?

It’s not like you will ever see them again.

I don’t care what anyone thinks, primarily if they sell me something reasonably priced.

People of all ages and incomes are going house to house to grab the good stuff before it’s gone.

Home designers, home staging professionals, and frugal people visit garage sales for deals.

No Early Birds At Garage Sales

There will always be at least one when a homeowner has “no early birds” for their garage sale.

Not all early birds want first dibs, as some buyers tend to scope out what the seller has for sale.

Some people get free stuff on the side of the road or from free-cycle and resell it at garage sales.

The theory is if the original homeowner didn’t want to sell it, someone else will if they can earn cash.

Garage Sale Pricing

How To Price Garage Sale Items In Canada
How To Price Garage Sale Items In Canada

No garage sale pricing guide is available online as prices vary per item.

It’s up to sellers to make their garage sale pricing list based on the items for sale.

Price garage sale items with a reasonable price by researching the article if you’re unsure.

When pricing a garage sale item, consider the condition and whether all pieces are in the box.

People don’t host a garage sale hoping a buyer will pay retail prices because they won’t.

They won’t, even with a valuable vintage item, so try selling it online instead and not at a garage sale.

Negotiate Your Way To SOLD!

When someone goes to a garage sale, they want bargain basement prices, so discount.

If that means you haggle (which is almost 100% going to happen), negotiate towards a price you are comfortable accepting.

No one says you have to accept an offer, but you don’t want to lug stuff back into the house.

Negotiating doesn’t sound so bad after all, now does it?

In the last hour of a garage sale, sellers will deeply discount items in hopes of moving them faster.

Be realistic about the items you sell because you know how the product was used or handled.

The seller also knows the age and how much they paid for the item or if they are the original owner.

If you sell ancient history items (no longer manufactured), consider a reasonable price, especially if parts are no longer available.

Garage Sale Price Tags And Master List

The ideal price tags for a garage sale are coloured round stickers from the Dollar Store.

You can also colour code the items with the stickers using blue for $1.00 and red for $2.00.

Using a marker, write a price using masking tape, a paper sign, or a master list.

How To Price Garage Sale Items In Canada

If a seller has a master list of garage sale prices, how did they come up with those prices?

Pricing for products differs worldwide and, in some cases, city to city, province to province, and state to state.

Some people pay taxes on items. Others don’t, so prices are up to the seller.

If one person values an item, another won’t see its worth; better yet, they may, and you might not if you aren’t on top of your game.

How To Find Average Garage Sale Prices

1. Research Garage Sale Prices

What I would suggest is if you are concerned about a specific item, then do your research.

For example, if you have wedding gifts that are brand new and you want to sell them, see if you can find them online.

You likely have no idea what they cost because you didn’t pay for the wedding gifts, so any price is a starting point.

Search Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Craigslist or eBay to see what other sellers list the price.

You can average your garage sale prices if it makes you feel more comfortable.

2. Price To Sell

When hosting a garage sale, if you want to get rid of the stuff, you need to price it to sell.

If you think about the money you are losing is when you will be hauling stuff back into your house.

We sold flowers last year, and that money is going towards our landscaping project.

Everyone knows that stores and grocery stores market products to customers to think they are getting a better deal.

An example would be 2/$1.00 or 1 for $0.75. Immediately you would say, hey, I’ll take 2 then, it’s cheaper.

Use the same marketing as the big guys with items you have to move out faster.

If you paid $20 for an item and it is well used, sell it for a reasonable percentage of the original price.

There are no hard, fast and steady rules for pricing. It’s your choice.

You can use the percentage rule selling garage sale items at 10% of the original cost.

Again, garage sale prices are based on quality, brand, used or new and current retail price.

3. Consult With Friends and Family Or Online Communities

If you aren’t sure where a product has come from or don’t know what it is or its age, don’t be shy to ask.

I’m sure there are many online forums you can take a picture of the item and post it for feedback.

It doesn’t hurt to ask because you never know what you are holding on to and if it’s worth money.

How often have we heard buyers who find a great deal only to find out it was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars?

Sellers don’t want to make that mistake if they sit on a gold mine and sell it for a dollar or two.

Garage Sale Season

When is garage sale season in Canada?

We love other people’s junk at garage sales and find spectacular deals.

Garage sales tend to start the May two-four weekend until October when most pack it in for the season.

Negotiating Prices At A Garage/Yard Sale

We picked up a few items this past week, including the cover photo!

The Rules of Wealth finance book I bought at a garage sale was $2.00, and I negotiated for $1.00.

A one-dollar price tag was remarkable considering the book price is $19.99 and brand new.

I know I could have borrowed the book from the library but consider time and gas into the equation.

Buying the book at a garage sale allows me to take time to read it without worrying about late fees.

The plant stand cost us $3.00, which I haggled the seller down from $5.00.

I paid $0.50 for the dish cleaning products, such as a pot scrubber and sink plugs.

A Succulent Money Tree for $0.50 for Charity

Money Tree purchased at a garage sale
A Succulent Money Tree for $0.50 for Charity

Money Tree 2022

Update 2022: Since purchasing this tiny plant, I’m happy to report that it is still alive and MASSIVE.

A large Succulent Money Tree
The 0.50 Money Tree Bought at a Garage Sale Years Later

Large Wicker Basket

Large Wicker Basket
Large Wicker Basket $10

Vintage Bowl and Candle

Vintage Bowl and Candle purchased from a garage sale
Vintage Bowl and Large Candle

This Vintage Bowl and Candle Cost us $4.00 with the candle sticker at $9.99 underneath, but who knows what they paid for it originally.

It’s still a good deal if you ask me as we couldn’t buy this for $4.00 anywhere new, and that’s what it is, unique.

Stick To Online Selling For Vintage Or Expensive Items

If you are still unsure how to price items for a garage sale, don’t sell them until you know.

If you won’t be able to sleep at night knowing that you sold an item that might be worth money, keep it indoors.

Sometimes, it’s better to sell on Kijiji, Craigslist or eBay if you have a set price, as you might get what you want for the item.

Take your time, plan it out and smile because every customer likes a homeowner who is friendly and ready to conduct business.

If you have kids, get them involved by making and selling baked goods which will help build an entrepreneurial mindset.

Discussion: What other tips do you have for pricing garage sale items?

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  1. For us complete novices, I would rather see an “Enter Your Item Here” box, that would give you at least a base Cdn price due to “poor, good, medium, excellent condition” and “Brand or Brand unknown” when you have absolutely no idea what price to ask for to sell, then it would be up to the seller to sell higher or lower. For example, I have a large Centro barbeque (non-Gas) that has rarely been used even though I have had it for many years. I have no idea what price I should ask to sell. This also applies to a full set of men’s golf clubs that I have. I saw on another web site that the golf clubs set should be priced at $25 or $4 per club, which I found ludicrous. Most of the letters in your web site do not help me at all especially pertaining to large items like this.

    1. Hi Anne,
      Thanks for your comment. I do have to say that I’m not sure what you are talking about. If you are a seller simply Google the item you are selling if you want to know a price so you can decide what to sell your product for. This post is for sellers at a garage sale. Sorry I couldn’t be of help to you.

  2. hi there what do you price things out at when all of your stuff is new never used in the packaging . thanks

    1. I look at current cost in the store, I look online Kijiji to see what others are selling it for or you can just price it to move so about 75% off the retail price. It depends the product too. If it’s worth $$$ you may want to do research.

      1. I do haggle! I can’t remember exactly on this particular garage sale run what the before prices were, but I remember only having a certain amount left and offering to buy what I wanted for that price. And they said yes. I also haggled on some ties I wanted for my hubby. I wanted to pay no more than 50 cents a piece. The man told me he wanted 2$ a piece. They were not at all worth that to me, so I walked away. The key to haggling is you have to be able to walk away!

  3. Great article. And you’re right about the wide variety of garage sale clientele; I know many wealthy people who are wealthy b/c they do their shopping at garage sales!! Also right about pricing to sell – remember, if it doesn’t sell, you’ll likely be giving or throwing it away, so even a few cents is better than nothing! The one thing I would add is beware of shoplifters!! We saw this a few times during our city-wide garage sales back in the suburbs. Unbelievable!

  4. Very good ariticle.

    I always try to price the things that I know will sell fast, like machinery or really nice toys, a little higher. I know it will sell fast, and if it doesn’t, I can make adjustments a little later.

    I try to avoid selling things to the “early birds,” or even letting them look at my items. I think they are just in it for the super good deal and aren’t interested in paying a fair price.

  5. From my experience of helping with charity yard sales vs hosting one myself, I’ve noticed that people will pay way more at a charity sale that for a private sale. I realize they are essentially making a donation, but junk is junk, so I’d say shop wisely, even at garage sales. For my own private sales, I want it all to go away, so it’s usually priced pretty cheaply unless it is a great item I could sell on Ebay if the yard sale doesn’t work.

  6. I like that planter up top!!! What are you going to do with the table too???? My sister-in-law has a garage sale every year or two. When ever she feels like it. She loves kijiji!!!!! When we wanted to sell our trailer we just took it to her place and she sold it for us on kijiji. She’s already said if there is anything else we want to get rid of she would sell it for us. I’m sure my nephew will be doing the garage sales this year as he doesn’t have much at all and that includes money….He’s been furnishing his place with freebies so far. As I clear stuff out here I’ve been taking it to thew Thrift store a bag or two at a time….saves me having piles of stuff hanging around waiting for a garage sale. The younger boy used to work at the thrift store and honestly…..they hated garage sale season!!! Mostly because people wouldn’t take their stuff back inside after the sale……… they just brought all the leftover junk and dumped it out back of the store…Some one would have to check the store late Sat/ early Sunday and haul all the stuff inside, then later most of it would have to be hauled to the landfill as it was truly junk. They had to pay to haul the stuff there too!!! Their truck but they had to pay to dump it all at the landfill……..

  7. When we did a group one – we found stickers handy. And make sure everyone helping out generally knows the prices so you don’t have to run and ask anyone!

  8. I have just recently discovered your website and find it very useful. I’m a frugal stay at home mom.
    I found this article of interest since I am trying to sell some used Thomas trains which my son has outgrown on Kijiji and was looking for helpful tips on how to best sell them.
    I usually donate most of his toys so someone else can use them but thought I would try to sell them and earn some money to use towards something else.

  9. We’ve never done a garage sale, though I imagine that we could hold a few with all of the junk we have collected over the last several years, Lol! We tend to sell most of our stuff on Craigslist as it’s easier for us to do it piecemeal like that as opposed to all at once. As an aside, I actually read an article last year from a guy who supposedly became a millionaire from doing garage sales…his first tip was to never price items you’re selling as it gives you greater opportunity to haggle. I don’t know if I believe it or not, but who knows.

    1. I find that you will make more money selling on line than at a garage sale as garage sale pricing can get pretty low where on Kijiji and Craigslist you can get a bigger portion back.

  10. The past 2 summers we have held a garage sale on our front lawn, to benefit a grandchild’s baton group. Another granddaughter wanted to set up a lemonade stand at each sale, and we discovered that Sunkist would send her a lemonade stand kit, free of charge. Though the kit was made of cardboard, it was very sturdy, 3-sided so she could sit behind it, and caught the attention of potential buyers quickly. The only (justifiable) catch is that the child had to identify who will receive the funds, eg charity or baton group or . . . It would be well worth googling Sunkist to see if they still offer the kits, Hope this will help another child to have a classy lemonade stand this summer.

    1. That’s awesome Mary!! I had no idea Sunkist would do that and it’s a great way to advertise their product so a small cost for a big impact. Smart move for the company if you ask me. I’m going to look into that Mary. Thanks for sharing! Mr.CBB

  11. I’ve been working on pricing items for a garage sale I’m planning in June. I found some pre-printed price stickers at the dollarstore and I’ve been using those, what a time saver! The biggest issue I’m having is what to price things because I want to make a bit of money, I also know if you price things too high they won’t sell but you also have to leave room for haggling, its an interesting juggling act. You also have to be willing to sell things for practically nothing, the idea is to get it out of your house! Thanks for this guide!

    1. That’s just it… leave a bit of room for negotiating if you plan to do so and move the stuff out. If you make a deal people will take it. NO sense hanging on to it for another year. You’re welcome!!

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