You’ve probably hosted more than your fair share of garage sales; after all, paring down your possessions is one of the primary principles of garage organization (along with really great storage systems). And you’ve likely perused the neighborhood garage sales as well, checking for any old gems you might be able to snag for a serious deal. That said, shopping at garage sales can get you a lot more high-quality, hard-to-find items than you might think. Next time you’re headed out to see what the neighbors have for sale, know what you should snap up – and what you should totally avoid. 

Wooden furniture

We’ve all seen a million articles on Pinterest that tout the benefits of reclaiming furniture, but there’s an important principle to understand before you bust out that sander: It all starts with solid wood. The higher quality the furniture, the easier it is to refurbish. It’s a good idea to double check the drawers, though – if it’s difficult to open or close them, you probably won’t be able to salvage the piece. 

Cast iron pans

Cast iron is expensive, heavy duty and can last more than a century if you take good care of it. Many people sell old cast iron pans in garage sales after they’ve rusted or lost their seasoning (that shiny quality on the interior surface), but both problems are surprisingly easy to rectify. If you see one of these amazing pans at a garage sale, be sure to snatch it up! 

Leather bags

Just like cast iron, leather is expensive, making it a steal when you’re shopping at garage sale. As a bonus, worn-in leather is frequently more stylish than the brand-new stuff. After all, it has “character.”


People sell old books for absurdly low prices at garage sales, which makes them a fantastic buy. While some people take advantage of this steal for actual reading purposes, others do it for decorative ones. No matter what your reasoning is, books rarely cost more than a couple of bucks at a garage sale, so you can’t go wrong. 

Designer clothing

A lot of people turn to online shops for their designer clothes, there is always the need to have something new or nearly new when it possesses a brand. A lot of these clothes are bought in sales or on secondhand sites with coupons, (see here for an example of these) because they are quite expensive. But what about at a garage sale? These clothes can be gotten a lot cheaper than in-store and online. People sell a ton of old clothing at garage sales, and you’d be surprised how many name brands and designer labels you’ll find at them. The best part? You’ll never see cheaper replicas anywhere else, and you can often negotiate down the price. Plus you can probably find some vintage numbers that aren’t made anywhere else, something to be completely different to everyone else, and still cool and stylish.

Dumbbells, kettlebells and other low-maintenance workout equipment 

Last but not least, keep your eyes open for workout equipment, such as dumbbells. They’re pretty hard to ruin, and you’ll be able to tell what quality they’re in just by looking at them. 

There are a few things you shouldn’t buy at garage sales, of course. Beds and couches are difficult to clean and carry the risk of bed bugs or other unwanted critters, while large appliances, like refrigerators and treadmills, are easy to break and won’t come with a warranty. Knowing what to buy and what to avoid will help you select only what you need – and not re-clutter your perfectly organized garage all over again. 

Culture, Storage