What Not to Buy At Garage Sales

Garage sales sell just about anything you can imagine, but that doesn't mean you'd want to buy everything you can imagine.  Approach garage sales with the same mentality as you would a second-hand store; if you wouldn't purchase it at your local Salvation Army shop, you probably shouldn't buy it from a garage sale.

Cosmetic products not advisable to buy at garage sales.Objects that are rusting in a way that cannot be polished off or removed should be left alone.  Rust can cause an item to become unstable -- electrically, structurally, or otherwise -- and unless you're absolutely positive you can get past the rust damage, you don't want to spend your money on something that for all intents and purposes should be in the garbage bin.

Never, ever  purchase open food.  Hopefully, the host has enough sense not to put any out at their sale, but occasionally something will slip under their radar (or, you'll run into a careless host -- let's hope not!) and get mixed in with other products.  It's safe to assume that any food at all for sale at a garage sale isn't good enough for the host to keep, so you have every right to be skeptical about its origin and current state.  Yes, you may very well get food poisoning from that can of beans.  Yes, you were warned.  Opened food is even worse, because it means any factory seals that prevented the entrance of bacteria into the food container have been broken.

Okay, this one should be common sense: underwear and socks that have clearly seen use are just disgusting.  You have to be pretty desperate to want to touch that, much less wear it.  Think of this: many garage sale hosts don't wash the clothes they're putting out for sale.  Yeah.  Now are you so eager to buy up those 10¢ socks and 25¢ underwear?  Thought not.

Hygiene and beauty items can get pretty disgusting if used and then left at the bottom of a bathroom cupboard for years.  Christina Heiska of The F.U.N. Place once found a crusty eyelash curler at a yard sale.  EWW.  Even a hair straightener can get pretty sketchy after years of burned hair residue building up on the irons.  If you do purchase hygiene or beauty items (and please don't buy any opened toothbrushes...!), make sure to sterilize and clean them thoroughly before your first use.

Anything you plan to use for survival, such as rope, waterproof blankets, or other wilderness gear vitals, are best purchased brand new at an outdoor equipment store, or at least at your local department store.  While they may be perfectly adequate for the tasks, you don't want to bank your comfort and maybe even your life on something bought second-hand unless you're sure it won't fail you.

Don't buy any items you know are recalled or potentially dangerous.  That's just plain foolish.  Some common items are infant toys and supplies, children's clothing with drawstrings, some propane grills, and many toys with moving parts.  If you aren't sure, use a portable wireless device or ask someone if they can look it up for you (a call home to someone near the internet will suffice).

In a list of things you shouldn't do, here's something you should do: visit GarageSaleCow.com!




Comments (10) -

Keith Shaw
Keith Shaw
2/19/2013 2:42:04 PM #

UNderwears? Definitely. Don't ever buy underwear in garage sales because its just plain disgusting. Its not hygienic and not practical and safe to use. I could go on the whole day and state a thousand reasons not to buy these items. You could not assure who and what did the last person have.  They may have STDs or diseases you don't know of and that's not a good thing to acquire.haha Just go to the mall and buy brand new underwear

Emily Knight
Emily Knight
2/19/2013 2:48:01 PM #

Could not agree more with you Keith :p Another NO-NO is open foods. You can't assure its quality and for Christ's sake, you could be food poisoned if you ingest those. Safer to buy in your trusted and favorite food chains than waste your money buying someone else's food. If it isn't good enough for them, then why would you even dare taste it. argghhhhh yuck. If you want to get fruits, then go to the fresh markets and go buy one. Please just don't buy food in garage sales...

Kenny Black
Kenny Black
2/19/2013 2:54:57 PM #

*GOOD condition haha sorry for my silly mistake. I should learn to spell words correctly. How are you guys?

Luke Perkins
Luke Perkins
2/19/2013 3:01:31 PM #

hi kenny, im new here. Im having a fine day.

I agree with every single concept in this article. Specifically, don't buy survival items and camping gear from a garage sale. You would not want to trust your life with a second-hand item that you can't even trust. Buy new ropes, matches, ladders, tools, etc, which are just cheap, in your local stores. Would be cool if we could utilize all those stuffs during a zombie apocalypse...

Rex Dunn
Rex Dunn
2/19/2013 3:06:49 PM #

Hey dude, I think you've watched a lot of walking dead episodes lately Tong I'm wishing the same thing but its unlikely that it will happen soon. Anyone else love zombies? Love those moments where you would scavenge for food, clothing, shelter and use tools to survive. It's like a very huge garage sale because you can get anything you need may it be the mall, the grocery store, a pharmacy or just a plain house...

Neal Watkins
Neal Watkins
2/19/2013 3:18:59 PM #

In addition to the list, don't buy if you observe that the host is not hygienic. How could you trust his/her products if you don't trust her. That's just plain common sense. You should be able to discern a sensible host and those that have suspicious intents. You could buy an appliance that was already broken and was only fixed to run for a short period of time which would be just enough to sell it in a garage sale. HAve your trusted contacts to ensure you're getting what you paid for.

Luke Perkins
Luke Perkins
2/23/2013 9:38:58 AM #

Yo Rex, it seems that I'm not the only person hooked in walking dead here. Did you watch the latest episode of season 3? exciting as hell, can't wait to see how they would retaliate to the governor.

Anyway, we could go together to garage sales. If by any chance a zombie apocalypse will happen, you can count on me to join you in garage saling haha. By the way, I'm joining a garage sale maybe next week.

Cindy Stricker
Cindy Stricker
2/23/2013 9:44:27 AM #

If you're about to purchase an appliance in a garage sale, make sure that it is still working and could last up to 2 years in your possession. Don't buy an item which would be not useful in the long run because it's a waste of your money. You could buy brand new appliances which works perfectly and your assured of the quality and if anything happens, there is always the warranty that comes with it.

Lynda Normand
Lynda Normand
2/23/2013 9:54:01 AM #

Don't buy items which are full of dust and rust. It shows that the owner did not really have time to even clean the items for sale and that says a lot. Don't even settle for presentable items because you'll never know that when you try it at home, that's when the flaws of the item show and it starts to fail. Scrutinize each item as much as you need to make sure your not getting a fake or broken item.

Thea Noreen Schwark
Thea Noreen Schwark
3/9/2013 2:11:16 AM #

That's gross, Underwears? ahahaha... I don't buy underwears which are already used even if it's washed with tons of detergents..

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