What Not to Sell at a Garage Sale (16 Things)

Garage sales seem to be a great opportunity to get rid of things in your home and to make some money. However, not all about garage sales is as rosy as it may seem and there are some items you really should avoid trying to sell. Here’s a quick list of what not to sell at a garage sale.

What not to sell at a garage sale

This list doesn’t cover everything, but some of the main things you’ll want to avoid trying to sell at your own yard sale. Often because it can be unsanitary or even dangerous, but other times simply because it isn’t going to sell anyway so why bother.

We also give you some tips on some things to maybe avoid buying at yard sales.

1. Used underwear

Don’t ever put your used underwear up for sale at a garage sale. No one is going to want to wear something that has already been worn so intimately, it’s gross. We shouldn’t have to tell you this, but just in case it’s first on the list.

2. Used beauty products

Even though you want to use products that will enhance your appearance, you also want to be hygienic. No-one will want effectively to put your face on their face, so don’t expect used beauty products to sell well, or even at all, at a garage sale.

3. Old Shoes

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However well you cover them and protect them from odors, feet do sweat in shoes. This means that shoes tend to wear in ways we don’t see and may even retain an unpleasant smell. This makes used shoes unattractive to buyers at a garage sale.

4. Broken appliances

If an appliance doesn’t work for you, it isn’t going to work for anyone else. Whey sell it, then? If you are so keen to get rid of a broken appliance, then you’d do better to throw it out or even get it repaired.

It may be worth the price, in the long run, to have the appliance repaired and then sell it to a second-hand store. If the repair isn’t expensive, then you can sell it for a higher price at your garage sale.

5. Outdated electronics

You may find yourself stuck with a selection of audiotapes, or even VHS videotapes. You may also have a VHS player that you want to get rid of.

These and other outdated electronics are not usable by most people anymore. Unless you anticipate a real collector coming to your sale, don’t include them on your list.

6. Souvenirs

We all love to collect souvenirs from occasions, such as a wedding, or from our travels. These have specific personal significance and are often linked to memories.

With time, these may fade, and you want to get rid of some souvenirs. They will not have personal significance for most people who attend garage sales and are highly unlikely to sell.

7. Genuine and valuable items

If you have anything that you know is genuine, such as silver or another metal, or a painting, avoid selling them at a garage sale. You will not get a realistic price for them.

Rather look for a market-related price for the items. Begin by having them appraised by an expert, then look for a market that would pay at least near the price that they are actually worth.

8. Reference Books

There was a time when the only extensive source for information came from books. With the internet, information is readily and widely available to everyone, so reference books are no longer attractive to buyers.

9. Encyclopedias

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The problem with information is that it is always changing. Sets of encyclopedias presented a comprehensive and extensive source of information about a lot of topics. The thing is that not one set could ever cover all information, which continuously develops.

Now, all the information we need is available on the internet – and it is always being updated and added to. This is why encyclopedias are outdated and won’t sell at a garage sale.

10. Textbooks

Textbooks are very useful in very limited ways. And for short periods, if you are studying in a specific discipline or subject. This means they are not generally useful. Also, the information they contain is most often available elsewhere and more easily.

If you have rare books or expensive school textbooks that are still in use, try something like eBay or Amazon where you’ll have a bigger audience.

11. Television cabinets and big entertainment centers

As technology has developed, no-one buys big, bulky television sets, or hifi combinations with amps, turntables, and big speakers anymore.

Small is in and portable is the key, so there is no market for big cabinets and entertainment centers, which means these will not be popular at a garage sale. Just give away your old particle board entertainment center, or haul it off to the dump.

12. Anything that’s illegal to sell

This is an obvious one. Don’t even think about selling any substance or product that is illegal, simply because it is illegal. The consequences or penalties might be stiff.

If you are unsure about the legality of something you want to sell, then research it, or don’t take the chance and leave it out of the sale.

13. Used mugs and Cups

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People are not necessarily keen to drink from a used mug or cup from which someone else has drunk. Mugs and cups are a dime a dozen and you won’t get much for things like this.

You may find a few buyers for some mugs, but they do not generally sell well at a garage sale and the ones that do don’t make much money.

14. Goods that may be a hazard for children

Unless you are absolutely sure that something like a baby crib or stroller is in complete working order, don’t sell it at your garage sale. You should also consider the age of some pieces of equipment.

Baby car sets may have a flaw that you can’t see easily, or a crib may not meet today’s safety standards. It is better to avoid any repercussions by keeping baby equipment off your garage sale.

15. Products that have been recalled from retail

If you are in a position to have on hand any products that have been recalled because they are faulty, have a flaw, or contains dangerous ingredient, do not even contemplate selling them at your garage sale. It is illegal to do so.

16. Safety helmets

Whether it is a cycling helmet, a hockey helmet, or a helmet for horseback riding, you should avoid selling it at your garage sale. If there is any hidden crack or other damage to the helmet, it will no longer meet the required safety standards for protective helmets.

What if someone bought your helmet, it ended up being defective, and they were in a terrible accident. There’s possible liability on your end. To avoid any problems in this regard, don’t sell these items at your garage sale.