What Not To Sell At A Garage Sale?

Hosting a garage sale is a great way to declutter your home and make some extra cash. Before you start pricing your items and putting out signs, there are a few things you should avoid selling – here’s what you need to know. Read on to learn more about what not to sell at a garage sale.

What Should You Not Sell at a Garage Sale?

What Should You Not Sell at a Garage Sale

Technically, you can sell anything you want at a garage sale (as long as it’s not illegal). That being said, there are a few items that you shouldn’t sell at your yard sale, either because they won’t make you a lot of money or because there are better places to sell them. 

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Antiques and Collectibles

From expensive jewelry and silverware to paintings and other collectibles, these are items that can fetch you quite a lot of money. Selling them at a yard sale is a mistake, especially if you haven’t had them appraised first so you know exactly how much money to ask for.

If you aren’t sure how much they’ll fetch, be sure to go to an appraiser or have them checked out at a reputable dealer. Once that’s done, skip the garage sale tables and sell on a local online auction site, eBay, or again, that reputable dealer.

2. Expensive Clothing

If you have a lot of expensive, name-brand clothing items that are in top-notch shape, skip the yard sale. Again, these are items that tend to be worth more money, so you may want to go somewhere else to get your money’s worth.

Try a high-end consignment shop first. Again, eBay and other online marketplaces are good ideas, too. 

3. Furniture

There are some furniture items that sell well at yard sales, particularly furniture items that are old or of lower value. However, any large furniture items – especially antiques or those that are worth a lot of money – should be sold elsewhere. You can place an ad in the paper to sell these for, again, try online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace.

As a general rule of thumb, avoid selling any furniture worth over $50 at your yard sale.

4. Undergarments

From bikinis to panties, bras to boxer briefs, please, for the love of God, don’t sell underwear at your yard sale. A lot of people do this, but for obvious reasons, it’s not a great idea. Do you really want a potential buyer coming up to you holding a pair of your old skivvies from five years ago?

If you must absolutely sell undergarments at your yard sale, make sure they’re clean and have the tags still on them – both for your sake and the buyer’s.

5. Anything Illegal or Recalled

This one can be tricky, because you might not always know if an item was recalled. You can check for recalls here, something that’s a good idea with family or baby items in particular (car seats, for example, are often found on the recall list). 

As for anything that’s illegal, it’s usually going to be pretty obvious that you shouldn’t sell something – but double-check if you’re not sure.

6. Baby Items

This one is a big “if.” Lots of people sell baby items at yard sales and it’s totally fine. In fact, buying baby gear at yard sales is a great way to save money.

However, you do need to be careful about selling old baby gear or again, anything that is recalled. 

Some things to watch out for, in particular, include:

  • Cribs – older ones, especially used older cribs, are often dangerous and don’t meet modern safety standards
  • Baby bottles – prior to 2012, baby bottles were made with the chemical BPA
  • Infant seats and carriers
  • Baby walkers – most of these are no longer recommended and don’t stop at the top of stairs, making them a hazard
  • Baby gates – newer ones tend to be fine, but the older ones were accordion-style and were possible for children to fall through or get trapped inside
  • Bean bag chairs 
  • Old children’s clothing with strings around the neck

Use your best judgment when selling any products geared toward babies or children to be safe!

7. Bike Helmets

If you have brand-new, unused bike helmets, go ahead and sell them – but beware that buyers might be skeptical. Bike helmets are designed to protect users from just one accident, and even if the damage isn’t visible, they can still be dangerous by not providing full protection.

8. Tires

Again, if you have brand new tires to sell, that’s great. If not, be prepared to furnish an accurate history of the tires to give to your buyers so that they know the tires will be safe and reliable. 

9. Mattresses

Unless the mattress is brand new, people probably aren’t going to buy it – or at least, they shouldn’t. Mattresses can harbor bed bugs, bodily fluids, bacteria, mites, and mold. Gross. 

The same goes for upholstered furniture, which poses the same problems.

10. Computers and Other Devices

Be careful about selling computers and other technological devices that store sensitive information at your yard sale. While they’re technically safe to sell if you have them wiped first, it can be tough to get everything out that needs to be wiped. 

11. DVDs, CDs, and VHS Tapes

Unless you have a vintage collector stop by, these probably aren’t going to fetch you much money – especially if they’re scratched, damaged, or heavily used in any way.

12. Hair Dryers

This might seem like an odd addition to this list, but it’s important that you avoid selling hair dryers, especially older ones, which are often on the recall list. Older hair dryers rarely have electrical shock protection – selling one of these “vintage” items could get you into trouble.

13. Old Makeup or Fragrances

Unless they’re from brands that are extremely luxurious and expensive, you’re probably not going to get a lot of money selling these things. Plus, even if makeup is brand new in the box, it loses its quality over time.

Still curious about what not to sell? Here’s a video with a few more suggestions:

What Makes the Most Money at a Garage Sale?

Now that you know everything that should be avoided at a garage sale, here are some items that you may want to consider selling instead.

  • Clothing – again, just make sure you choose the right kinds
  • Board games, puzzles, and toys (just double-check the recall list)
  • Gaming systems and video games
  • Books
  • Tools and equipment 
  • Sports equipment
  • Outdoor toys (like swing sets)
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Costume jewelry
  • Kids’ clothing 
  • Home decor items

And don’t forget – selling some cold drinks and snacks is a great way to make some extra money at your yard sale, too. If you have kids, this is a wonderful way to keep them occupied!

Can You Sell Handmade Items at a Yard Sale?

Can You Sell Handmade Items at a Yard Sale?

One overlooked area that people tend to forget about at yard sales is handmade items. 

If you’re a skilled artisan – whether it’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, or something else you make – consider selling your wares at your yard sale. 

You could fetch some decent money for your products, and at the very least, it’s free advertising for your crafts. 

How Do I Make My Garage Sale More Successful?

If you’re thinking about having a garage sale, there are all kinds of ways you can help yourself be more successful.

Take the time in advance to research fair prices for your products. Be open to negotiations but also have a clear idea in your head of how much you want to get for your items. 

Of course, if your main priority is just to get rid of some of the clutter in your house, this might not matter as much to you. Consider your goals as you plan.

Finally, be sure to advertise strategically! Put up signs around your neighborhood as well as plenty of signs in the garage sale display area itself so that people know exactly how and where to find what they’re looking for.

And most importantly, be sure to have some fun with it! 

1 thought on “What Not To Sell At A Garage Sale?”

  1. A garage sale is a perfect change to sell old stuff in my family, from furniture and clothing to books or appliances.


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