What Not to Sell at a Garage Sale

Certain items are just not meant to be sold at a garage sale.

Whether it’s because they are dangerous, are gross, or could be worth a lot of money, it’s important to know what not to sell at your next garage sale.

While tools, toys, and lightly used kitchen appliances may sell like hotcakes, here are the items that don’t deserve a sales tag:

Dangerous Items to Sell at a Garage Sale

You want to make a little cash but you don’t want to put any of your buyers in danger.


don't sell cribs at garage sale

Safety standards for cribs have changed drastically over time. What was deemed acceptable twenty years ago can now put someone’s newborn in danger.

In addition, age and wear and tear can render a once great crib unsafe.

Leave the old crib in the attic. Or better yet, send it on a one way trip to the recycling plant.

Bike Helmets

Helmets are similar to cribs in that safety standards have continued to evolve and what was once acceptable may no longer be.

Also, prior use – especially crashes – can erode a bike helmet’s safety.

Old Appliances

Have old appliances that don’t work? It might not be a great idea to sell them.

Wiring problems may make old appliances unsafe and not suitable for sale.

While some garage sale buyers may want your old appliances because they have some know how and want to fix them up, it’s a safer idea to simply scrap your old non-working appliances. That way, you don’t have to worry that something you sold might start a fire.

Items That Are Too Gross to Sell

Now this may not apply to you. We’re certainly not saying that you don’t keep your stuff clean, but certain items don’t lend themselves to longevity and resale.

Bathing Suits

No, just no. No one wants to buy a used bathing suit.

Even if you are the cleanest person in the world, potential garage sale buyers don’t know that and will refuse to buy a used bathing suit.

Again, used bathing suits are one step away from used underwear, and are not something to sell at a garage sale. Instead, toss them right in the trash where they belong.

Old Mattresses

can i sell an old mattress at garage sale?

It’s simply impossible to return an old used mattress back to its original glory.

It’s going to be very difficult to find willing buyers for your old mattress.

Concerns about bed bugs, mold, and dander scare away garage sale buyers,  putting your old mattress near the top of our list of what not to sell at a garage sale.

Used Shoes

Worn shoes are another items buyers tend to stay away from.

Besides being kind of gross, used shoes have molded to the prior wearer’s feet, making them extremely uncomfortable.

Save yourself the time of lugging out your old shoes and don’t sell them.

Upholstered Furniture

Similar to mattresses, its very difficult, if not impossible, to restore an old piece of upholstered furniture to its prior glory.

Years of stains and dander are a significant deterrent to garage sale buyers.

However, unlike old mattresses, there is some leeway on whether you can sell upholstered furniture at a garage sale.

Newer pieces, or pieces that have not seen a lot of use, can still be hot sellers.

With furniture, its all about the eye test.

If it looks beat up or stained, it’s probably not worth selling. If it still makes a nice appearance, give it a shot. There’s always a market for affordable furniture.

Items That You Don’t Know the Value

There are people out there that make a living, or at least a side-income, off buying items at garage sales and selling them for more money on eBay.

Why let them make money off of your belongings?

Before selling an item that is unique, or old, or possibly collectible, do a little research online to find what it’s worth.

It varies by item niche, but many informational price sites are too optimistic in their valuation. The most realistic way to gauge an item’s value is to go on eBay and search the item, filtering for items sold.

Don’t just look at what prices people are asking for, look at what the item actually sold for.

Then, either list your item for sale online or sell it at your garage sale for its proper price.

Know What You’re Not Going to Sell at Your Next Garage Sale

We realize that we couldn’t cover every item not to sell at your garage sale in this post. However, we hope that we’ve given you an idea of what to look out for.

Garage sales can be a great way to make some extra cash, but as you know, they can take a lot of work.

By focusing on what sells well, and eliminating what doesn’t, you can put on a garage sale without as much stress.


Questions about specific items that you aren’t sure whether you should sell? Experience with selling items you shouldn’t have? Shoot us an e-mail at contact@homegenerosity.com.

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