Items Not to be Sold

Whether it's to keep yourself safe from legal troubles, prevent potential embarrassment to yourself or others, or just be kind and clean, there are a few things you should never sell at your garage sale.  No matter how much you think you can squeeze out of customers, it's just not worth it.

a very old sewing machine

Antiques and other items that have untold value are going to sell for a mere fraction of their worth if you place them out at your yard sale.  Although you may be sick of keeping that vase in the closet or pushing that costume jewelry back into its box in the garage, if you suck it up and take it to a pawn shop or antiques dealer, you can multiply your potential profits exponentially.  Sure, you won't have to use the time and gas if someone else takes it off your hands, but what if you've been sitting on something worth as much as the rest of your items put together?  Surely you don't want to just give that away for a few bucks!

 Personal items, like journals or old love letters, should never be put out at a garage sale.  Yes, they're interesting, and some writer may pounce on them as fodder for their next novel.  But do you honestly want to give away the record of your parents' romance to some stranger?  Likewise, anything containing medical information should not, under any circumstance, be released to someone to whom it does not pertain.  Actually, releasing someone else's medical information is a crime, and releasing your own -- well, that can be a little awkward.

 Open or expired food is a big no-no.  You can't just throw out a box of edible goods and count on your customers to be smart enough to check all the expiration dates, and you certainly shouldn't ask them to check if the food is open.  With the exception of spices, open food items are bound to go bad at some point in the journey from you to the customer; even if it was fine before you slapped a price on it, putting open food in the hot sun all day will make any bacterial colony delightedly multiply until just looking at it will make someone sick.

 Underwear and well-used socks are just plain disgusting.  Unless you can prove that the underwear have never been used, do your clientele a favor and just toss them in the garbage.  Socks that didn't lose those dirt stains even after three washings are also ready for the trash, so prevent wrinkled noses and suddenly-dropped merchandise by doing away with them before anyone else has to touch them.

 Items that have been recalled by a manufacturer or the government are actually illegal to sell at a yard sale.  If you think you've ever heard a rumor of recall about one of your items, do some research and make sure you're not setting yourself up for a fine.  Granted, it's likely you sent your items in when they were recalled in the first place, but if something slipped under the radar, it's better you don't put yourself in legal danger.

 Unless you very clearly state, on the object or a sign nearby, how an item is broken and what hazards it poses, corroded items should be trashed.  It's bad enough that garage salers have to get past the "fixer-upper" electronics and tools -- garbage that hosts are trying to make some money off of -- but no one should have to deal with an item that is corroded in such a way that it will break during operation, potentially causing harm.

 For more great garage sale tips and trick, visit -- the nation's fastest-growing online garage sale community, where everything (except the awesome t-shirts) is free!a

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