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8 Things You Should Never Buy at a Garage Sale!

Updated on May 23, 2012
There are some things that you should never buy at a garage sale
There are some things that you should never buy at a garage sale

Shopping at your local garage or yard sale can be a lot of fun. Whether you are an avid yard sell shopper, or just occasionally stop as you are driving by, you will want to avoid certain items. These items are rarely a good deal, no matter what the cost.

Childs car seats

It is certainly tempting to purchase a $10 children’s car seat at a garage sell, especially as compared to the $100 dollars you would likely spend at retail, but stay away. It is not uncommon for car seats to have hidden damage or missing parts. Further, you may not be aware of recalls on a used seat. Clearly this is one bargain that you will want to pass up. Remember when it comes to your kids, safety first.


With the costs of a mattress reaching several hundred dollars you may be tempted by a great deal on a great looking used mattress at your local garage sell. Don’t do it. Not only do you have the potential to carry home bed bugs, but you will also be buying the dead skin, body fluids, and potentially other insects like mites. This is one deal that is far too gross to even think about.

Building supplies

Building supplies are not an absolute no-no at a garage sell, but you must purchase with caution. You may find a tremendous deal on tile or hardwood flooring, but buyer beware. If you buy those materials then discover that you don’t have enough for your needs, you will be very hard pressed to find a match. If you are not sure that you have at least 20% more than you need, you will be taking a big chance.

Protective helmets for motorcycles or bikes

You may not be aware that motor cycle and bike helmets are actually designed to be damaged by impact. As the helmet absorbs the impact of a crash, it is distorted to protect your head. Essentially, it dissipates the energy of the impact by destroying itself and as a result, it protects you. It is not always easy to determine whether a helmet has been damaged so you simply don’t want to take that risk, good deal or not.

Anything new with “warranty”

Just because an item in “new in the box” does not mean that it will carry the warranty. Without proof of retail purchase you are likely out of luck. If you find something “new” at a garage sell, make sure you are paying a used price, because in the end, you are buying an item that may as well be used.


Cribs are notorious for recalls, and indeed there have been several over the past few years. Identifying cribs with safety problems can be extremely difficult, so just pass up on these bargains. This is a case where a great deal could become a nightmare.


Skates, like shoes, conform to the owner’s feet and in many cases are actually heated to fit even tighter. While you might be able to reheat skates, you are better off simply avoiding this purchase. The last thing you want is to purchase a skate that is at best creates discomfort and at worst causes foot damage.


Just like skates, shoes conform to the foot of the owner. If you purchase shoes that have been previously worn, you stand a great chance of discomfort. Those used shoes may be your size, but if they were broken in by someone else, they most assuredly won’t fit your foot.


In the end, garage or yard sells are great places to find real bargains, just be sure that you think through your purchase before you take the leap. Remember an item isn'ta good deal if it proves useless or unsafe.


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    • T. R. Brown profile image

      T. R. Brown 5 years ago from Nashville, TN


      Thanks for reading. I wish I could take credit for the "reasoning" behind all of these, but about half were based on my research.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Never thought about some of these, but your reasoning is sound. You're absolutely right; anything that can "expire" (get damaged and not be effective anymore) shouldn't be bought used.