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May 05, 2010



My prices pretty much fall in line with yours, except that I will pay up to $3 for silk, wool, or linen garments. Also, I'll pay more for wood furniture, especially bookcases in good condition. No more than $10 for side tables or coffee tables, though. Once I passed up a fantastic curved sectional sofa, 1950's era, for $75, and I'm still regretting that decision.

My buys are usually from one thrift store nearby, one antique store here in town, and the local library book sale that is on-going in the library basement. The antique store owners and manager know me well, and often cut prices on items I buy. The library also discards books every week, and those are free, so I rarely even buy the books for sale in the library basement.

I usually find estate sales around my area overprice the items. It's like the term "estate sale" affords the seller the ability to price items 50% to 100% or MORE than they're actually worth. But those sales are generally well-attended, so I suppose it works for the sellers!


1. soft cover book - $.25 - $1.00
2. CD - $.50 -$3.00
3. hand towel - $.25 - $.50
4. bath towel - $ 1.00 - $2.00
5. skein of wool yarn - I'd have no time to use it or resell it, $0.00!
6. pack of vintage greeting cards - $1.00 -$2.00
7. small pine bookshelf - $5.00 - $15.00
8. kitchenaid mixer - $10.00
9. jar of vintage buttons - $.25 - $3.000
10. blouse from Macy's $1.00 - $5.00

I'm always willing to pay more for something of exceptional quality of something I've been seeking for a long time. I love the included picture of jars, now I'm inspired to go thrifting for some necessary household goods. Tired of putting my leftovers in a glass bowl covered with foil in the fridge...


Those vintage jars are charming!

This post was helpful, b/c i realized that i've been overpaying for most of those things. of course, i'm more limited to chain thrift stores and their prices are outrageous.

have a great day!


I've found that there are some businesses in our local area doing estate sales that are competitors. That's the only way I can explain their pricing, their inability to budge on prices. I have decided to not use it against them but to stay strong to my goals. If a price is a dollar more than I want to pay it comes down to me and my goals not theirs. I get an occasional bargain that offsets the occasional overpriced item.

I set down a bag of buttons last week because, while yes there were some vintage buttons inside, most of them were standard browns and whites from pants and shirts that at $10 it was over priced. Somethings I can't decide right away so I'll walk around with it and "own it" for a bit while looking at other items. More times than not it gets set down for someone else to enjoy.

I've never seen a kitchenaid for sale!

Ashley Ann

I played along on my blog:


Thrift store and garage sale prices are much higher in some areas. We lived in the Atlanta area for 10 years and I rarely saw prices as good as the ones you suggest on any consistent basis at a garage sale and NEVER at a thrift store. Supply and demand, perhaps? However, when I go to Ohio, the prices you list are right on. Now we live in Scottsdale and the bag is mixed.

Nancy S

I think your pricing structure is about right for me, but other factors get weighed in: where I am (charity store vs yard sale), how much I want/need the item, if the item is unusual/unique and the condition it's in.

When I shop at the Humane Society store I tend to round up to the nearest dollar. I'll sometimes give them a dollar or two more since it all goes to feed the shelter animals. At yard sales I'm less inclined to be so generous.

I tend to overspend at auctions. Once I've decided on something I see it as mine and I'll go over budget without blinking, caught up in the feeding frenzy. I've learned to stay the heck away from them.


Your prices sound reasonable. Great reference list, by the way!

On a semi-related note: has anyone else noticed thrift store prices going up? I haven't seen items of clothing for $1 ea in a long time... I've been to thrift stores in the middle of no where New Mexico and California, Hampton Roads area in Virginia, and rural Alabama. I've noticed a steady increase in pricing, especially in the chain stores, as someone mentioned in a previous comment.

I almost bought a really useful top the other day, until I noticed the $7 price tag. Egad! I know it's for a charitable cause, but I have my limits.


I'm not an expert, but I think that your prices sound very reasonable. I buy most of my books from a Friends of the Library bookstore where they charge 50 cents for all but the new hardback best sellers, which are $2. Someone donates books from England, and the book covers are more creative than our covers for the same books. I'd pay more for them if I had to.


My thrifting range is $1-$10
furniture I never go over $50
I think everyone has that inner voice, walk away it's too much.
sometimes I have paid more than what they are asking because I would have felt guilty once I got home!
Older couples get me everytime!

Selena Cate

Its so fascinating to see how much we all are on the same page. This is a great resource for anyone running a yard sale. Ive too seen some shocking prices recently both at yard sales and at thrift stores. Yes, I agree that $7 is too much for a blouse at a thrift store. Things are definitely changing. It is nice to know though that we mostly agree on the value of a second hand item.
xoxo Selena


-soft cover book? $1 typically, up to $5 if it was one on my really-want-to-own list.
-CD? $1
-hand towel? 50 cents
-bath towel? $1
-wool yarn? Up to $1 each if there were enough skeins for a project
-vintage greeting cards? $1
-small pine bookshelf? $10
-KitchenAid Mixer? I'd be interested if it was $10 or less
-vintage buttons? $1-2
-blouse originally from Macy's? Up to $5

I usually only go to the chain thrift stores here (north of Seattle) so the best price you see is 99 cents. Our church has a super colossal fundraising yardsale each July to support our men's addiction recovery home, and that sale has unbelievable prices because everything is donated and they want to move ALL of it at once. I work there over the 4 days of the sale and pick out stuff for myself every day.

I always am on the lookout for teen boys long athletic shorts for sports/summer and for teen boy jeans. I will pay up to $3 for shorts and $5 for jeans if they are in great shape.


1. soft cover book - $.25
2. CD - $.50 to $1.00
3. hand towel - $.25
4. bath towel - $ 1.00
5. skein of wool yarn Depends on the brand up $4.- $5.00 I am a sucker for good yarn
6. pack of vintage greeting cards Depends how old and great the designs are, if they are great $4.00 maybe $5.00
7. small pine bookshelf - $5.00 or less
8. kitchenaid mixer - Ohh I am a sucker for good kitchen stuff maybe up to $50.00 maybe more if it was in good shape.
9. jar of vintage buttons - $1.00 or $2.00
10. blouse from Macy's $1.00 - $3.00

My favorite is to get something for free on the curb. Estate sales are high priced but I love them. My favorite day to go is the last day when things are half price. I love to be thrifty, but love the hunt of finding a treasure as well


This is an interesting way to share and discuss the topic of value, real and perceived. I understand the temptation, particularly at Estate sales, to pay less attention to the (usually) inflated prices being asked. Over years of practice I've become more aware of which items will be valuable to me in the long run and when it's reasonable to pay a bit more for something and when it's flat out ridiculous to pay what is being asked.

I'm into vintage clothing and fabric so I'll pay up to $15/item if the condition is great and I know I'll use/wear it a lot. Most of my best loved sweaters are wool/cashmere ones I picked up at sales for $5-$15. They last so much longer than new ones that I compare what I'd pay at a retail store. I would rather buy three for $10/each at an estate sale than buy one new one that'll last maybe a year.

As for smaller items like paper goods, towels, small kitchen jars, etc I agree with your pricing. My husband is the book buyer and he'll pay up to $2-3 if it's something he's been looking for. I am often surprised at how much sewing notions like embroidery thread and buttons go for: I look at condition and usefulness carefully and only pay more than $1 if it'll be enough to complete an outfit, be washable, make a stylistic statement.

Great post! Thanks for sharing!


Can't say I have a set price I'd pay for any of it. Softback book... just peak my interest or something I've been looking for? Tea towel... what's it made of and how cute (cute can jack my pay price right up! LOL)?


It typically depends on my mood, sometimes I walk away when I shouldn't, other times I pay way too much!

knutty knitter

1. What would you typically want pay for a soft cover book?
.50 to $5.00

2. What would you typically want pay for a CD?
$2 - $4

3. What would you typically want pay for a hand towel?

4. What would you typically want pay for a bath towel?

5. What would you typically want pay for a skein of wool yarn?
$2 - 4

6. What would you typically want pay for a pack of vintage greeting cards?
n/a make my own

7. What would you typically want pay for a small pine bookshelf?
$15 - 30

8. What would you typically want pay for a KitchenAid Mixer?
50% of retail for most appliances.

9. What would you typically want pay for a jar of vintage buttons?
10 cents per button if I'm lucky. More for fancy ones.

10. What would you typically want pay for a blouse originally from Macy's?
no idea - normal blouse in good condition around $3 - $5

Furniture is very expensive round here so even our small two seater second hand was $50. Antique shops are also very expensive and thrift/second hand shops just sell crap mostly unless you get really lucky.

Clothing is also quite expensive. A normal pair of second hand jeans will set you back around $16 even in the charity shops although they do try to keep prices around the $5 mark mostly. Mind you, even a crap new t shirt from the Warehouse sill costs around the $10 mark - and I do mean crap!!

It is very rare to see anyone with all new stuff as a result. Mostly we tend to buy more expensive stuff and then make it last forever :)

Do wish I could get cheap buttons!!!!!

viv in nz


My prices would be about exactly what yours were. It is hard to think when everyone is grabbing about. The buttons sound like a great deal. Things are very pricey lately around here, and not many good estate sales lately at all. I think you are right on. Jackie


Good post. And so true ... I do know my ideals. I think because I've been doing it for so long. Did you see my bargain curtains I posted about for the kid's upstairs? Amazing!


I probably wouldn't buy most of the things on a list, there arent any estate sales here anyway but mostly I go for books and oddments of crafty things, and cookbooks too

paperback: depending on the book .25 to $1 (probably around .50p here at car boots and charity shops)

doilies: .25 (or around .50p here, no more than that.

craft things : around .50 per item

teacups: I haven't bought many but what i have bought here have been £1 to £2 (which isnt bad but they can be few and far between because I am fussy about them)

I dont go to car boots as often as I would go to yardsales/estate sales when i'm visiting the US or when I lived there before moving here. I really miss them, it used to be so much fun looking through things that once were a treasure and now are junk that you have to find what is a treasure to you.


Let's see. I think you were fairly accurate with the prices you said, although it sort of depends on where I am buying said items. I would obviously expect to pay less for items at a yard sale or thrift store than if someone was listing them on Craigslist. But you mentioned a point about "There are just certain prices on used items that we feel are too much." To me, it's more about the venue than the fact that they are previously used. If it was about them being previously used then there would be no resell market, because the maximum price that someone would be willing to pay for used merchandise would be the price that it sold for at the yard sale, and that's it. But there are definitely those out there who are looking for vintage merchandise and don't want to go thrifting or yard saleing themselves to find them, so they are willing to buy the same items from a reseller for much more than they would have paid if they went to the yard sale themselves. So, to me, it all boils down to "Location, location, location". A perfect example of this was a community yard sale I went to a few weeks back. There was an elderly couple who had a table set up with many vintage (possibly antique) items that were just lovely. And they were the types of things that I am usually drawn to. But the couple were asking resell prices for these things, but at a yardsale venue. It did not look like they were moving many items at all, and I think it all comes down to the mindset. I think many people are like me and think "If I was at an antique mall, etc. I'd probably pay that, but that is definitely not a yard sale price!".

Thanks for raising some interesting issues as always. :-)


The big point is how much work you are willing to put in to find the thrify item. I work as a volunteer for the library resale store. I am one of many and we work hard to create a lovely place to shop-well organized. Prices range from 2/.25 (a great deal for young adult paperback)- $2. I have seen many recently released books in gift giving shape go up on the shelf.

My Hubby loves CD's & DVD's. He will pay up to $10 for a CD but usually less for a DVD. He is very picky about quality of the discs. However he is quick to pick up an interesting looking one if the price is, as he often finds, $1. But he only shops for discs at stores such as Half-Price (in the clearance bins) or the for sale resale sections of video stores.

If I buy something in any sort of retail resale setting I expect to pay more for it. After all they have to pay the cost of the building and employees.

If I shop a garage sale, etc my inner cheap self comes out. Unfortunately most of these sales are very wheelchair unfriendly so what was once one of my most favorit activities is no longer an option.

I do still love the thrift store prowling. Oh, I have never seen a Kitchenaid for sale either!

Elizabeth Holcombe

My prices are right on with yours, my friend! Although I recently payed a dollar for a lovely vintage wooden chair!~~XXOO, Beth


well, here in Italy prices are substantially higher than that, so I cannot really relate to your list. I try to boil decisions down to quality and desirability of the item vs. retail, even if sometimes the discount is only half of what I would pay new.

Cds and dvds usually retail here for 15-25 euros. I buy them at a resale store called Cash converters for 4-10 euros each.
Clothing if vintage, as in well made oldies -good wool/stiches/buttons (not just used)- I'm willing to spend a bit more on. I try to stick to church or ngos rummage sales, but as of today I found just one cachemire sweater for 5 euros (retails for hundreds). I look for 1 euro bins where possible.
As for books I shop Il libraccio, a series of shops that sell used and out-of-print books. They have a shop where the books they don't sell go to die with prices like .25/.50/1 euro each. Some hidden gems where found there, like Anne of Green Gables and Little house in the woods (unheard of and unavailable in Italy)
A real chance to thrift here is curb finding (apparently not too many love it, good for me :-) and open air markets at the end of the day.
Unfortunately here yard sales are illegal (for tax reasons! kids trying to sell toys and comics were fined for it!)
the local Waldorf school has twice a year sales with kids clothing for 1 euro each, to fund grants for children of poor families to attend the school. As soon as I have kids I'll surely be there to buy.
ps when I visited NY I went to the Strand Bookstore (1 dollar books outside the shop) and Housing Works. Lovely.


I typically don't have "set" prices for what I buy ... generally spend more in non-profit situations (which are 99.9% of where I shop), but other factors are involved such as how much money I have at the time, how *badly* I need the item, how long I've been mentally looking for it, etc., etc.

Very good / thought-provoking idea, though!

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