While we love a good bargain as much as the next guy (heck – it’s in our name!), there are some things you just should not buy at garage gales. Whether it’s safety, sanitary or financial reasons, we’ve come up with a list that will help you spend your money like a pro at summer yard sales!
What Not to Buy at Garage Sales
Camera Lenses: Even the smallest scratch or defect on a lens could ruin a photo. Lenses are an expensive investment, so it’s worth spending the time and money to find the perfect, new quality product.
Helmets: Your brain is important. This is not a purchase you should skimp on, because even the smallest bit of damage to a helmet, visible or otherwise, could mean you aren’t fully protected.
Child car seats: Like helmets, car seats are protecting precious cargo. But damaged car seats are common; a survey found that one in ten have been in an accident. Make sure you have the latest model that meets important safety regulations.
Hairdryers: Hairdryers manufactured prior to 1991 with plain plugs don’t have the proper immersion (water) protection. It’s best to purchase them new.
Tires: Used or damaged tires are likely to be unstable and unreliable. If you must buy them, make sure you can get an accurate history.
Mattresses & pillows: Mattress are known to contain mold, mites, bacteria, bed bugs and bodily fluids (yuck!). If I were you, I’d keep that to myself.
Vacuum cleaners: Vacuums are one of the most-used appliances and they don’t last forever. Plus, they carry a lot of pet hair, skin and bacteria that you don’t’ want to bring into your home.
Wet suits and swimsuits: Washing materials that hug your body is supposed to kill any mildew or bacteria. But changes in water pressure wear out swimwear faster than regular clothing, so it’s likely a used wetsuit or swimsuit will tear easily.
Laptops and computers: Preowned laptops, e-readers, tablets, cameras or mp3 players are highly likely to have dropped, spilled on or otherwise damaged. A desktop computer is likely to be in better condition because it isn’t mobile, but these days it’s cheaper to buy new than upgrade an older model.
Personal grooming devices: Used electric razors can contain skin, bacteria and even lice.
TVs: Technology changes so quickly that you can often get the newest model for just a bit more dollar. If you’re buying refurbished devices directly from a manufacturer, you’ll be covered by a warranty. But a random TV at a garage sale could be hit or miss in regards to what’s really happening inside the unit.
Shoes: For starters, used shoes contain someone else’s sweat and skin. They also have been molded to the previous owner’s feet. Shoes that do not give you the proper support can hurt and even damage your feet, knees and back.
Cribs: Recalls, as well as changing safety standards, make it hard to verify the usability of a preowned crib.
Sheets and pillowcases: You can wash them in hot water to kill bacteria, but that will not protect against bed bugs.
Baby bottles, water bottles and plastic thermoses: Older plastic bottles can contain the chemical BPA – and as of June 2012, the FDA no longer accepts that as safe. Purchasing new containers will ensure you’re getting the safest, most up-to-date product.
Upholstered furniture: Similar to mattresses and sheets, any upholstered furniture can be home to bed bugs, fleas and spiders, as well as unknown odors and stains. Unless you have plans to reupholster the piece, buy new.
Hats: Hats may contain remnants of hair products, sweat, lice and skin infections.
Video games: Game companies are now including codes for one-user only play. Do a little research before you purchase a game you won’t be able to play.
Makeup (new or old!): Used makeup can carry skin diseases or infections. Even if the item is brand new in the box, the quality may be poor or expired.
Stuffed animals: Like mattresses and upholstered furniture, stuffed friends can be full of bugs, mites and bodily fluids.
Blenders and other kitchen electronics: Blades and inner workings can become dull and faulty over time, even if the gadget looks fine from the outside.
Worn plates and cookware: Rust, flaky non-stick coatings, old paint and chemicals are just a few of the safety problems you can run into with older cookware.
Running shoes: Used running shoes are a bad idea. They lack the cushioning that athletes need; get fitted with new shoes for the support and fit that will protect your knees, feet, back and legs.
Great yard sale finds are everywhere!! What is your best garage sale find?