If You've Ever Bought These Things at a Garage Sale, We Need To Talk

Sign at a garage sale


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Lubeck, Germany, October 24, 2021: flea market stall with Christmas decorations, tableware and household goods on a sunny day, selected focus

That's Trashy

Garage sale shopping either gives you chills of excitement or completely repulses you. There's no doubt that used or unwanted items can offer some great deals if you're willing to dig. But no matter how much you love the thrill of the score, there are some things you should never, ever get at a garage sale — no matter how cheap you are.

Related: Turn Your Clutter Into Cash With 7 Proven Garage Sale Pricing Tips

Pyramid of shoes
frederic prochasson/istockphoto


We’re not saying you should never buy shoes at a garage sale — sometimes there are some pretty cool vintage finds. But if you’re looking for everyday shoes or sneakers, it’s a bad idea to buy a secondhand pair. Shoes usually form to a wearer's feet and are unlikely to offer you the right fit when already worn in. 

Related: 7 Things You Should Never Buy Used, According to Redditors

Waste electrical and electronic equipment

Electrical Items

That toaster they don’t make anymore? Stay away. A cool vintage crockpot? Yeah, no.

Basically, anything that you plug in that's already used runs the risk of sparking or malfunctioning. We don't care what price items like this offer in savings. It’s simply not worth the potential danger. 

For more frugal shopping tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Teenager choosing bikini in store


Seriously? Why would you consider this? We don’t care how clean it looks or that you can wash it thoroughly. It still feels yucky to us. And it goes without saying: Underwear and socks are also a no-no. 

Empty baby crib with stuffed toys inside

Baby Cribs and Bedding

Again, the safety thing. You have no idea how safe that used crib is, if a part of it broke, or even if it’s been recalled. Same with bedding, it could be worn out in a way that creates a danger. Just don’t mess with this stuff. 

A black African-American man delivering a new mattress
Robin Gentry /istockphoto


Ew. If you’re that cheap, just buy the cheapest new mattress you can find, or use an air mattress. For the love of god. Bed bugs are very hard to see, so even if it looks fresh and clean, who really knows? 

Child safety seat in the back of the car. Baby car seat for safety. Car interior. Car detailing

Car Seats

That car seat may have been involved in an accident. It may be expired, meaning the materials have worn down. This is an expense that is always worth paying for new.

Bicycle safety helmets hang on metal wall in a bike shop.


Same thing as car seats: Maybe it’s been in a crash, maybe it’s deteriorated in a way you can’t even see. It’s worth paying extra money on something that keeps your head from cracking open.

Chef in Action
Alex Liew/istockphoto

Nonstick Cookware

Even if you can’t see it, the teflon material may be worn down, meaning when you actually use it, you risk the pan flaking into your food. You can regularly find nonstick cookware on sale, which is a better bet.