10 Items That You Shouldn’t Buy at a Garage Sale

If you are a garage sale shopper, you know that the adage “one’s man trash can be one man’s treasure” is true. Sometimes you hit the jackpot bingo with a bargain. But there are times when you come home with items that are just not worth your money and they are simply thrown away, recalled, or placed in your garage storage.

A BBC article said that the thrill of buying something on sale produces an adrenaline rush. A garage sale overflowing with cheap pre-loved items is the same battlefield. However, buying things on the cheap can be more costly than you think as it might compromise safety.


Here are some common items that you should not waste money on when shopping at a garage sale:

1. Protective gear — Stay away from a bicycle helmet or a motorcycle helmet. You don’t know if it houses germs, hair mites, and other things that might endanger your mane. The safety aspect is also important. Helmets undergo safety tests, which are regularly updated to keep up with new standards.

You might not see hair-line cracks or damage — which can be dangerous for you. And there’s a chance that it won’t fit you perfectly, which raised another issue for safety.

Pass this one out and buy a new one instead.

It’s an entirely different thing to buy a vintage helmet or an ancient samurai helmet. Collector items are not exactly worn and are used for display so consider yourself lucky if you find rare items.

2. Baby safety equipment — Buying a secondhand car seat is a risky purchase. Just like helmets, this kind of equipment undergoes safety criteria and standards. There is always better technology that springs up to ensure child protection.

The car seat may have been part of an accident so it’s best to know its history before buying. Also, you might overlook flawed parts like a frayed belt or malfunctioning locks that could endanger your child. Skip on this one and invest in a new car seat instead.

3. Intimate clothing — This seems like a no-brainer but here are some items that regularly make an appearance at garage sales. If you see them, stay away.

  • Footwear
    • First of all, shoes might harbor fungi and other bacteria that might make your feet smell. Unless you know the history of the shoes, you can turn the other way. You also have to consider the shoes’ smell. Unless you are ready to stick your nose inside the shoes, then steer clear from those tennis shoes or moccasins.
  • Used underwear
    • The $2 price tag is tempting but before you buy it, please remember where and how it was used. The same goes for underwear, lingerie, and even socks. If it’s used, another person’s bodily fluids might still be hanging in there.
  • Swimsuits
    • Okay, so you are a thrift shopper who knows that you ought to put articles of clothing in hot water to get rid of germs. We get that. But buying used swimsuits is not exactly hygienic. Plus, they may not last long because they are prone to thinning. Don’t buy a pair or two unless a swimsuit was never worn or still has a price tag.


4. Baby things

  • Baby bottles
    • Sanitation and damaged bottles should be a concern. But the BPA content in most older bottles should also make you think twice. This New York Times articlesaid that the FDA has banned BPA from bottles and sippy cups.


5. Mattresses

Second-hand mattresses might have bed bugs and other germs that might pose risks in your home. The same can also be said for beddings and pillows.

6. Food

Boxes of chocolates, biscuits, and canned food are best bought from grocery stores rather than garage sales. Although some are not yet expired, you really have no idea how they were stored before being displayed at the garage sale. Food hygiene is important at all costs, no questions asked.


7. Electricals

You see old toasters, hairdryers, and appliances of all shapes and sizes at the garage sale. But calm yourself down before you buy any of them! Be wary of old models that won’t last long, and those that do not have electrical shock protection


8. Personal beauty items

Branded makeup and brushes might probably be on display at the garage sale. But say “no” to these items and opt for a fresh supply instead. Cosmetics have expiration dates and you never know how the previous owner used them before selling. Unless they are unused and stored in its original box, you might want to rethink before purchasing cosmetic products.

9. Television set

It’s hard to know how the owner treated the TV before it was sold. Anyway, TV technology always changes so it’s likely that you can buy a new device that can match your budget.


10. Gadgets

Do not get the laptop, e-reader, or DVD player from a garage sale unless they are practically given to you for free. They could be knocked up already by the time they are handed over. It might be more costly to repair an old model than buying a new one.



The roundup

The best thing about going to a garage sale is finding a new treasure for your home. There’s something exciting about the hunt but it can lead to buyer’s remorse if you go home with things that do not work as expected.

Don’t forget to wear your mask and practice social distancing when you go shopping, too. Your safety should always come first.

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