Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales

Yard sale sign
Jerome Kundrotas / Shutterstock.com

Yard sales are the ultimate form of recycling.

Whether your neighbor is hawking a souvenir spoon collection on her lawn or your church has gathered congregants’ donations for a fundraiser, this is a place you can dig up some hidden gems.

Plus, pat yourself on the back: Giving these items new life will likely save trash from filling up a landfill.

Here’s a look at things you’d be smart to snatch up at the next yard sale you visit.

1. Le Creuset and Pyrex

yackers1 / Shutterstock.com

Not all of us are educated on many lines of kitchenware, but Le Creuset cookware and Pyrex glassware warrant a little sleuthing.

Both are sought-after for resale — I cite them in “21 Thrift Store Gems You Can Cash In On.” Or, you could incorporate them into your own kitchen stock.

2. Picture frames

Woman with picture frame
pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

You can print your digital photos or illustrations cheaply enough, but the cost of frames can hang up even the best gallery-wall intentions.

Hunt down frames at yard sales instead.

3. Specialty appliances

Woman preparing food for a multi-cooker
New Africa / Shutterstock.com

Single-use appliances are so tempting. You can almost convince yourself you’d regularly use that cake-pop maker or hot-dog cooker. And maybe you would.

But don’t splurge on a new one when you can pick up your neighbor’s barely used gadget for one-tenth of the price.

Who knows, jelly-making just might become your jam.

4. Legos

3d_kot / Shutterstock.com

Snap to it: Legos have been popular for generations. Kids love them and grown-ups — if they’ll admit it — often find the plastic bricks mesmerizing and fun too.

You may not pick up a complete NASA space shuttle set at a yard sale, but a giant crate of mixed bricks should assemble hours of fun.

5. Recipe boxes

Senior cooking a healthy meal
astarot / Shutterstock.com

Cookbooks and online food sites are tasty, but there’s something about a carefully curated flip-top box full of handwritten recipes.

Grandma’s famous Christmas cookies, the prize-winning recipes Mom meticulously snipped from the hometown paper, Dad’s deviled-egg secret — each family’s treasured treats are special.

You won’t get rich by buying up these cherished collections, but the fun of traveling through another family’s delectable diary is worth it.

6. Baskets

Basket with glass jar of pear butter
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.com

Never pay full price for a basket: Yard sales and thrift stores have enough for an entire army of Little Red Riding Hoods.

I like to scoop them up cheap and save them for teacher gifts, filling them with favorite snacks and a good bottle of wine.

7. Exercise equipment

Nadya Chetah / Shutterstock.com

Resolving to get in shape, but don’t want to trudge to a health club?

Don’t sweat it: It’s likely that someone with great intentions bought an exercise bike or other piece of workout gear, then sat on the couch and failed to use it. Make their fitness fail your core find.

8. Certain baby items

Couple with adopted child
Viktoria Ostroushko / Shutterstock.com

Don’t scoop up a secondhand car seat or crib at a yard sale, as we explain in “10 Things No One Should Ever Buy Used.”

But it’s generally fine to buy items like baby clothes, strollers and bassinets that are used. And the price is a real pacifier.

9. Travel guides

Senior couple hiking outdoors
Halfpoint / Shutterstock.com

Are you Barcelona-bound? Heading for Hawaii? There are online travel guides aplenty, but a good, solid travel guidebook often comes in handy.

Here’s a savvy traveler’s tip: The history, maps and basic info about a region may stay the same for decades, but if you buy a guidebook that’s more than a few years old, verify that hotels and restaurants are still in business before showing up at one. Bon voyage!

10. Sports gear

Happy senior couple putting on rollerblades to exercise
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Obviously, Olympians don’t pick up their ice skates or soccer shin guards at yard sales. But backyard athletes and kids starting out should make it a goal to acquire some sports accessories there.

They’re often only lightly used.

11. Halloween costumes

Halloween kids
Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com

Creep it real at Halloween by buying used costumes — whether child- or adult-sized — at yard sales.

They’re often barely worn and frightfully cheap.

12. Fancy dress-up clothes

A young businessman with a new job in a city
A StockStudio / Shutterstock.com

Wedding gowns, prom dresses, tuxedos with lapels that span a continent — formal wear is a yard-sale favorite.

Not everyone wants to go all Molly Ringwald in “Pretty in Pink” and remake a vintage prom dress, but discarded duds will delight kids with princess dreams.

Or use them for Halloween costumes. You won’t feel guilty splashing fake blood on a $5 wedding dress to create a zombie bride ensemble.

13. Musical instruments for children

Music cello
Minerva Studio / Shutterstock.com

Not every kid is a Prince-like prodigy. Many of us were nudged into music lessons, then abruptly quit the school band and shoved that barely used clarinet under the bed for the next decade.

You may not find the best-quality band instruments at yard sales, but at yard-sale prices, your young Mozart might not care.

14. Pulp fiction

Woman reading a book with her dog
silverkblackstock / Shutterstock.com

No, not the 1994 Quentin Tarantino movie, but pulp paperback books — cheap reads with lurid and colorful covers.

A good pulp makes a juicy purchase — whether you want to frame the cover, read the book, resell it or give it as a white elephant gift.

15. Vintage board games

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Everyone has Monopoly, but not everyone owned the wonderfully goofy Mystery Date game — in which players open a plastic door, hoping the correct handsome hunk is waiting.

A vintage board game could make for a perfect gift for that friend who helped you survive the ‘70s. But be warned: Pieces are probably missing.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More