Things to avoid at a yard sale!
Checking out a yard sale? Here's what to miss! Source: The Spruce

There are some things you should never buy at a yard sale. While some of them are common sense, a few items may surprise you, and anything on this list is a sure no-go in terms of purchasing. Any yard sale items worth money won’t be found on this list, and might be saved for an article down the road. In any case, here’s how to avoid any garage sale horror stories from happening to you and your family. Check it out!.

1. Mattresses

Don't grab an old mattress, no matter how cheap it is.
It may look good in the bedroom but... Source: Business Insider

One item that you should never purchase from a yard sale is a mattress. Even if it seems to look all right on the outside, you never quite know what’s going on inside. Mold, mildew, and pests are all very real concerns when buying a secondhand mattress. It’s best not to gamble with things to not sell at a yard sale. Otherwise any yard sale can probably save you a few bucks and you might be able to make out all right.

2. Electronics and Power Tools

Try out new electronic devices before purchasing them at a yard sale
Electronics and power tools should be turned on before purchase. Source: Amazon

The problem with most electric based yard sale items is that they might not work. In the case of electronics, even plugging it in and having a test run might not reveal a real issue with the item in question. A simple scratch on the lens might convince you that the DVD player could work, until you try to put in a new DVD.

Keep in mind:

When purchasing power tools, make sure that they work as intended first. The main factor here is generally going to be battery life if they are wireless, and cord issues if they are not. Any power tools with faulty wiring should not be considered for use.

“Thank you, yard sales, for being the perfect way to say to your neighbors: 'We think we're important enough to charge money for our garbage." - Jimmy Fallon

3. Bike Helmets

There is a reason new helmets are so coveted.
The dependable ol' bike helmet. Source: Amazon

While a bicycle helmet is always a good idea to wear, the fact of the matter is that they are only designed to protect you from impact once.

Along the same idea as a baby stroller or car seat, a single impact can destroy the structural integrity, even if the damage appears hidden. So it’s a good idea to exclude this item from any potential yard sale purchases.

Pro tip:

If you are looking at any of these safety items as a possible acquisition, be absolutely certain that they’ve never been in an accident, and preferably never used. Generally it’s not worth the risk to save a few bucks. If anything dangerous does occur, you’ll be happy you listened followed this advice.

4. Adult Shoes

This classy shoe should only be bought through a retailer
Slick stylish shoes can be picked up from a shoemaker. Source: Amazon

Unless they were for a child, shoes should never be purchased at a garage sale. Even with style and durability issues aside, it’s never a good idea to wear shoes that another person had prolonged use with. Otherwise, baby and toddler foot garments probably weren’t worn long enough to have any health risks involved, so in this case if the shoe fits, buy it.

Cooking Ware

Your kitchen is going to need top quality pots and pans.
Try out matching cooking ware for your kitchen. Source: Amazon

Because things like Teflon and aluminum already weren’t considered safe to ingest in large amounts, older pots and pans are usually at the greatest risk of having trace amounts leak into food.

This is especially compounded if you detect scratches, stains, or burn marks on the piece. Be safe and purchase your cookware new, never used. Conversely, tupperware garage sale prices tend to favor the savvy consumer and are perfectly safe to incorporate in your kitchen.

6. Baby Items

For many parents, it’s obvious that you should only purchase new items for your newborn. If you’re thinking of stocking up on cheap yard sale items however, there are a few health and safety concerns that you should be aware of. As previously mentioned, a child car seat is only good for surviving a crash once. So if the device has been through an accident before, it may have weakened the chair, thus defeating the purpose.

Pro tip:

Otherwise purchasing used bottles at a yard sale might contain the chemical agent BPA, which the FDA banned in 2012. And many baby cribs have been recalled over the years thanks to the ever-changing safety standards set for infants.

7. More Items to Never Buy

Lots of scores for backyard sales around your home
Spare the DVD extras. Source: YouTube

Whenever you’re at a yard sale, make sure to cross examine any of the following items on the sale table. In the effort of avoiding any garage sale horror stories, second guess everything “at risk” on a table. Either give it another look or just disregard it altogether.

  • Old paint
  • Strollers
  • Car seats
  • Sleeping bags
  • Old food
  • Holiday lights
  • TVs
  • Sheets
  • Pillowcases
  • Baby bottles
  • DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes
  • Boxes of old LPs
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Makeup
  • Stuffed animals
  • Hats
  • Puzzles
  • Board games

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