15 Things You Should Always Buy at a Yard Sale
As winter melts into spring and summer, one particular pastime starts to sweep the nation — people put all of their old crap out on the lawn and invite strangers to come and buy it.
Depending on where you reside in the country, you may call it a yard sale, garage sale, tag sale, or even a rummage sale. No matter what the sign says, these events have one important thing in common: they allow you to score treasures for a fraction of what you’d pay in stores. Or you could really strike gold at a garage sale — one guy picked up a cool looking stock certificate for $5 and it ended up being worth $130 million.
You shouldn’t buy everything you find at a yard sale — especially stuff like stinky shoes and puzzles that are probably missing pieces. But when you notice any of these items for sale on your neighbor’s lawn, put on your best bargaining hat and get ready to haggle. These are the best deals at a yard sale.
1. Exercise equipment
The same people who purchase new treadmills in January are the ones trying to offload them in the spring because they forgot to exercise. Get a deal on everything from free weights to fancy machines that are like new at your local yard sale.
Next: Sporting goods
2. Sporting goods
Ice skates. Snowboards. Fishing poles. Hockey sticks. It’s possible to score pricey sports gear at a yard sale for cheap, especially if you’re shopping in the off-season. But you’ll be happy you picked up those new skis once winter comes around again.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t pass up a used book at a yard sale.
Looking to expand your library? Try bundling a bunch of books together and offering the owner a discounted price. They’ll probably be so eager to clear out stuff that you’ll get a bunch of new reading material for a steal.
Buying brand new tools isn’t the smartest way to go about stocking your garage. Get yours for less at a yard sale instead!
Don’t be shy to ask to plug in electric tools to make sure they work before you purchase. Also keep an eye out for rust, which could mean the item is structurally compromised.
Don’t fear the tarnish — all you need is a little polish or even aluminum foil to get your yard sale flatware, trays, frames, or any other real silver pieces you find looking like new again.
Like gold, genuine silver may also be sold to scrappers, guaranteeing you a tidy profit even if you only made a small investment.
Ignore the color. If you like the size and shape of a frame, then sprucing it up could be as easy as purchasing a can of spray paint. And since you’re likely to be getting the old frame for an absolute steal, it’s a great way to save on displaying art.
Next: Big furniture
7. Big furniture
This one’s a little tricky, because anything upholstered could potentially harbor bed bugs (gross). But it’s worth mentioning furniture simply because you can get such a fantastic bargain on some of the most expensive elements for your home.
Check for obvious signs of wear, but remember that you can always pay to have your new piece refinished or reupholstered for less than you’d pay to buy it brand new. Try shopping for furniture at the end of the day when the sellers are more likely to be open to offers — because no one wants to lug a sectional sofa back into their attic.
The best way to add personality to your home is to adorn the walls with inexpensive art like the kind you’ll find at yard sales. Try not to be dissuaded by ugly frames or fraying corners. A simple new mat and frame could be all it takes to turn your salvaged art into a real focal point of the room.
It should go without saying that if you find real gold jewelry at a yard sale, you should pounce on it no matter what the condition. It can always be sold by the ounce for scrap.
But even costume jewelry has its merit. Brooches, necklaces, rings, and bracelets from yard sales or estate sales can be revived with a bit of polish. You’d be surprised at how well-made older pieces are compared to newer jewelry items.
Next: Cooking and baking
10. Cooking and baking essentials
It’s best to avoid scratched nonstick pots and pans. But when it comes to basic cooking items, there are a few things you should never pass up.
Anything cast iron, glassware, stainless steel utensils, baskets, ceramic canisters, porcelain, kitchen timers, serveware, cake stands, and pie plates are all worthy of your attention. Just be sure to wash everything before using it and you’re good to go.
11. Single-use appliances
Pressure cookers, ice cream makers, spiralizers — specialty items are often expensive, but they’re also the first things to go when people start decluttering their homes. If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect juicer, try hitting the yard sale circuit before you spend hundreds of dollars on a new one.
Next: Baby stuff
12. Baby stuff
There are some baby things — like car seats and crib mattresses — that you should never purchase secondhand. But most items are perfectly fine to buy from yard sales.
High chairs, strollers, swings, jumpers, toys — all these things can be sanitized and passed along to the little one in your life. Just be sure to check for recalls.
Some people upgrade their winter jacket every year, and the best time for them to shed their old one is in the spring. Get a fantastic deal on your next ski jacket or upgrade your kids’ coats to the next size up by hunting them down at yard sales.
Purchasing a brand new bike can cost hundreds. Getting one at a yard sale? It’ll save you a few bucks for sure.
Before you buy, ask the owner a few questions about the bike, such as where it was stored and how often it was used. It’s worth it to replace parts such as handlebar covers and tire tubes as long as the main bike structure looks solid.
Whether for yourself or for the child in your life, you’re much better off sourcing formalwear from yard sales or resale sites. New tuxes, gowns, and suits can cost hundreds, yet most people only wear them a handful of times. Fancy dresses in any condition can even be used for children’s dress-up play.
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