What’s your yard sale philosophy?

Note to reader: I ask you to answer a question at the bottom of this post…so make it all the way down there…or just skip the gibberish and go straight to the question.

Our neighborhood is having a huge yard sale this Saturday. Since we will be moving soon I am determined to part with much of this crap gently-loved-family-heirloom-quality-stuff that has slowly begun to pile up in our house again. I have become a purger because we move so often–but events like having a baby necessitate the accumulation of lots of items that are needed for a short season and then are needed to be gotten rid of.

Here is my dilema: how do I price it all? There are generally two philosophies about yard sales:

  1. Price it so cheap it will all go within the first hour. And you’re left with two dollars in your hand that you can go reward yourself with about two donuts for all the hard work, hours and sweat you just poured into the sale. OR
  2. Price it so that you can actually make a good amount of cash. Reward yourself with as many donuts as you want and still have money left over for a good shopping spree. (To replace all the crap you just sold, right!).

The problem with theory #1 is evident. If you’re going to put effort into the sale, which means doing anything more than throwing it all in a pile in your driveway and leaving a sign and a bucket that says “please put donations here”, then you need to make it worth your while. I know for a fact that there are people out there that troll yard sales, buy things for really cheap and then go consign them for more money. (Why am I not doing this?) The benefit of this theory is that it’s so much easier to give stuff away, and you don’t feel guilty for taking people’s money who may only be able to afford to shop at yard sales.

The problem with philosophy #2 is how do you know the threshold of what people are willing to spend on second hand items? I do not like haggling  and therefore want to put the exact price I’m willing to take on my stuff. How much can I actually charge before I turn off people?

What I think I’ve decided to do is mix the two up a bit. I mainly have baby clothes and baby gear to sell. Most of the clothing isn’t anything too special so I plan on marking that at a “fair yard sale price” (whatever is that, please tell me). Some of the clothes though are name brand (Gymboree, Gap, Old Navy, etc.) and were really only worn once or twice. I want to make money on these things, not sell them dirt cheap to someone else who’s going to turn around and make money off of them.


  • What do you expect to pay for kids’ clothing at yard sales?
  • If it’s name brand are you willing to pay more?
  • What are the going rates for “regular” clothes and for “name brand” clothes?

Thank you for helping me make my life a little bit easier at this moment. Now I must go continue to procrastinate…

Published by NotSoSAHM

I'm a photographer and homeschooler Dream = travel blogger. We move around every couple of years. That's fine, I love seeing different parts of our great country and the world. Great things: Jesus, traveling, photography, eating, sewing, scrapbooking, reading, shopping...not necessarily in that order.

6 thoughts on “What’s your yard sale philosophy?

  1. I fear yard sales and the people that haunt them so I am absolutely no help. I will tell you when I go to the thrift store, I will pass over the stuff that I know came from WalMart or someplace and will pay more for brand names.

    I would pay .50 to 1.00 for kid clothing items at a thrift store if it were in really good shape. Does that help?

  2. I like the $1 idea for everything exept brand name stuff that’s almost-new looking and/or in a set…like a dress with matching sweater, anything dressy/churchy, or complete outfits such as overalls with a matching hat and/or shirt, etc. For that kind of stuff, I say anywhere between $2-5. Then again, I know nothing about pricing yard sale stuff, so who am I to impart?

    Let me know how it goes tomorrow. So glad your mom’s there to help!

  3. A really good rule-of-thumb: Seperate the items into two piles, by brand/quality/wear. The items you feel are worth more, PUT ON HANGERS! This automatically makes them more desirable. People will have no problem spending $6 or $7 or $10 dollars on a pretty holiday dress, (or the masculine equivalent,) if it is presented a certain way. (You can keep the hangers.)
    As for the rest, I say start out at $1 per piece, gradually lowering the price to 2 for $1, then 3 and so on. (This makes it easier to make change.)
    Just be sure that anything you may be keeping for sentiment’s sake is clearly marked as not for sale, followed by a discussion of such with your loved ones before you set up outside.
    Trust me, I learned the hard way! As I went in to put our DD down for a nap, DH set out what he thought was a “missed” box – end result? Nothing left of my kiddo’s first few weeks.

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