Money & Banking

10 garage sale finds worth buying.

10 garage sale finds worth buying.

It’s hard to know exactly what is worth buying secondhand, but these garage sale finds should be snapped up if you see them!

Large furniture

Large furniture can be a great garage sale find. The key to buying big items at a garage sale is to wait until the end of the day. By then, the sellers are wondering how they are going to get that huge vintage sofa off of the grass and back into the living room. Be careful with upholstered items (bed bug alert!), but once you’re confident it’s clean, try to look past garishly coloured fabric and eye-popping patterns: you can always reupholster a piece of furniture to better suit your sense of style.

Home office supplies

Stationary is a great garage sale find. Normally, your eye instantly jumps to the larger items like couches, kitchen countertop appliances, and, yes, questionable taxidermy. But force yourself to examine smaller items too, especially ones you use regularly. Pens, push pins, and paperclips are office staples you can never have enough of.


Garage sale artwork is a great way to add some colour to your home. It’s fun to pick up art for two reasons: You might learn about interesting local artists, or, even if you don’t like the image, you can always repurpose the frame. This is key for larger paintings and drawings, because big frames can be so expensive. Haggle if you want, since art is subjective and the sellers might not have too many interested buyers. Also, odds are that they’re tired of looking at it and just want it gone.

Vintage brooches

Not to sound old-fashioned, but they don’t make brooches like they used to. Since their popularity has declined over the years, you can usually get a deal on these accessories, and if you like, the possibilities for upgrading them are endless. They’re a great garage sale find! Tip: Consult a vintage jewellery guide to learn how to spot key details that will help you recognise what an old brooch might actually be worth.


When you see pots and pans at a garage sale, look out for rust, non-stick surfaces that are scratched or flaking, and chemical coatings that might leach out into your food. Cast-iron ware, on the other hand, can be salvaged and restored no matter what the condition – and it’ll last forever.

Also, if you find the following items in good working condition, snap them up: stainless steel baking items, kitchen timers, serving utensils, Pyrex or ovenproof glass baking dishes, wooden or bamboo serving bowls, wicker baskets, ceramic or porcelain dinnerware, stainless steel flatware and quality knives (you can always take them in to be sharpened). Just make sure to wash these great garage sale finds well before use!


Jackets are a great garage sale find. Since sellers spring-clean before their sales, bulky or unworn winter coats and vests are some of the first things to hit the to-go pile. Check for holes and wear before purchasing, and dry clean or give a good washing before putting in the wardrobe for next year. For children, buy the next size(s) up and store in a wardrobe for future seasons.


Tools like drills, saws, nail guns and compressors can be great garage sale finds. As long as the seller can prove that they’re in good working condition, snap them up. Ask how old the product is and how much it has been used over the years. Always keep an eye out for rust, which usually means the integrity of the metal is compromised, making the tool more dangerous to work with.

Fishing rods

Bamboo rods and reels are non-mainstream antiques that some collectors will shell out major bucks for.


Odds are you can pick up a stylish silverware set for cheaper than what you can find new at most stores, plus you’re likely to hear a cool back-story to boot. There’s also a chance that what you’ve got is actual silver. How can you tell? On the back of silver-plated items there will be markings that can include the company name, the country in which it was made, a product number, and the E.P. (electroplate) marking. Don’t miss this garage sale find!

Children's formal clothes

Looking for a children’s dress or suit for a special occasion? Formal clothes for kids only tend to be worn on a few occasions, and you will often find them being sold in near-new condition for a low price, which makes them one of the best garage sale finds. Garage sales are the perfect place to look for a communion dress or a suit for an upcoming wedding. Also good to score: slightly damaged, cheap party clothes for kids to use in dress-up games.

This article was written by Alison Caporimo and first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.

Image: Getty Images

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