Garage sales are also known as yard sales and are popular in the United States. Here in the UK, we seem to prefer selling our unwanted items from the boot of our cars but in America, they do it from their garage. Normally the goods in a garage sale are unwanted items from the household with its owners conducting the sale. Popular motivations for a garage sale are for spring cleaning, moving or earning extra money. Clearing some space in your garage is another motivating factor. See Garage Shelving for more information.
The seller’s items are displayed to passers-by or those responding to signs, flyers, classified ads or newspaper ads. In some cases, even local television stations will broadcast a sale on a local public channel.
Buyers who arrive before the hours of the sale to review the items are known as “early birds” and are often professional restorers or resellers. There are some items though that should never be bought at a garage sale:
Bike Helmets – these are designed to protect you from an accident, and if that helmet has already been in an accident, damage isn’t always visible, so buy a new helmet to make sure you’re getting full protection.
Child Car Seats – like helmets, you really should buy new and damage isn’t always visible plus car seat technology improves each year so you may have out of date protection.
Tyres – these could be unstable or unreliable and without an accurate history, you don’t know if they could be damaged in some way.
Mattresses – from a hygiene point of view, you could be sharing your bed with bed bugs, mites, bodily fluids and bacteria! The same goes for used bedding, sheets and pillow cases too.
Shoes – shoes are an item of clothing that mould to the shape of the owner’s feet. If you try to wear shoes that don’t fit you well, it can cause you pain and discomfort. Not to mention the hygiene aspect too!
Baby Bottles – older bottles can contain substances that are now deemed unsafe. Used bottles may also have hairlines cracks harbouring bacteria so you’re much safer with brand new modern bottles.
Cookware – used cookware can have rust, have lost its non-stick coating and may be degrading significantly. Hygiene wise, you’re much safer buying new.
Upholstered furniture – just like with bedding and mattresses, upholstered furniture could be a home to fleas, bed bugs, spiders and dubious smells and stains. If you plan to reupholster then it might be worth the effort for a bargain but steer clear if you don’t want to reupholster.
Clothing – unless you are able to try something on, just looking like it fits doesn’t mean it will. Unless you want to spend extra on alterations, it’s often not worth the hassle. The item could also have been pulled out of shape by its previous owner.
Perfume or cosmetics – the quality of both can lessen over the years these items do expire. Even if the makeup is brand new in the box, skip it unless you can tell that it was recently manufactured.
Hats – definitely avoid wearing somebody else’s hat. It can be pretty disgusting as other people’s hats might contain old sweat, remnants of hair products or bits of skin!Yuck!