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21 Things You Should Never Buy at Garage Sales

Bargains are great, but cross these gross, broken, and unsafe items off your list when you head out to garage sales.

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Helmets


Helmets are designed to protect you from one accident, and one accident only. Sometimes the damage isn’t visible, so buy a new helmet to make sure you’re getting full protection. On the flip side, if you see any of these things at a garage sale, make sure to snap it up.

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Child car seats


Like helmets, car seats are really only meant to protect in one accident. But damaged car seats are common; a survey found that one in ten have been in an accident. Plus, car seat technology improves each year.

Bart Sadowski

Tires


If they’ve been in an accident, tires are likely to be unstable and unreliable. Make sure you can get an accurate history.

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Wet suits and swimsuits


Personal products that hug your body are technically safe if you wash them in hot water... and still, we're cautious. But constant changes in water pressure also wear out swimwear faster than regular clothing, so it's likely a used wetsuit or swimsuit will tear. Are you the one hosting a garage sale? Make sure to check out these tips for making money at a yard sale.

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Mattresses


Bed bugs could lurk in any used mattress. You might also end up sleeping with other people’s mold, mites, bacteria, and bodily fluids (yuck!). If you're buying something firsthand, these are things you should never buy at Aldi.

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Cribs


Scores of crib recalls, as well as changing safety standards, make it hard to verify the safety of a used crib. Don't miss these thrift store shopping secrets for scoring the perfect gem.

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Laptops or other devices


Laptops, e-readers, tablets, or mp3 players are more likely to be dropped, knocked around, and spilled on, simply because they’re out in the world. A desktop computer sits (mostly) safe at home, but even that would likely cost more to upgrade than buy new.

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TVs


It’s hard to determine how well TVs, DVD players, and other electronic devices have been cared for by their previous owners. Plus, technology changes so quickly that you can often get a better quality device. If you're buying refurbished devices directly from a manufacturer, you'll be covered by a warranty—but a random TV at a garage sale could be hit or miss. Don't miss this story about the strange people that garage sales tend to attract.

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Shoes


Used shoes have been molded to their previous owner’s feet—and poorly fitting shoes will make you miserable, or you'll just never want to wear them.

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Sheets and pillowcases


Sure, you can wash them in hot water, but that might not protect against bed bugs.

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