The Best Things to Buy at a Garage or Yard Sale for Resale

Updated on March 30, 2020

Garage Sale Bargains

You've just seen the local paper and mapped out your plan of attack. The anticipation of what bargains will be dug up at the day's yard sales is building. With a pocket full of change, an empty car boot and a keen eye you venture out for an exciting day.

What antiques will be found? What can be purchased for pennies and resold online to make money? Will there be collectables? Maybe some great novels to read or maybe a shabby chic frame to do up for a mother's day present.

How to Find Collectables - Buy and Sell - Make Money Online
How to Find Collectables - Buy and Sell - Make Money Online

Shabby Chic

Shabby Chic is a design term for furniture or furnishings (including frames, throws, mirrors, serving trays) that have an appearance of age, or show signs of wear and tear. Often new items are re-decorated with a 'distressed' look to give them their antique appeal.

If shabby chic is your style, your passion, or you love decorating, then garage sales are your ultimate 'store'. Buy items, give them the shabby chic touch and resell online.

What a fantastic work from home idea!

  • Frames: paint them, decorate them, mosaic them, cover with fabric - what ever you choose, you will save a fortune buying second hand.
  • Serving trays: repainting a wooden serving tray and lining it with some gorgeous fabric (which you can also buy at a garage sale) or paper can make a great addition to your home or a gift.
  • Old Furniture: give old chairs a new life as a planter box in your garden

Movies, Books & Music

Kids love watching movies. It does not matter whether the Wizard of Oz is playing on DVD or the beloved old VHS, it is still the Wizard of Oz. Sure it may not be digital, or surround sound or 3D but the simple enjoyment is still there.

If you still have an old video player laying around that works, buy movies.

  • Garage sales are a fantastic place to pick up bundles of old movies for next to nothing. If you wanted to resell an old classical movie find, it should be watched in its entirety to ensure there are no warped parts.

How about books?

If you or your children are bookworms, a garage sale will surely be your best friend. You can always find novels, kids books, sometimes old magazines, reference books and even the old textbook.

  • Books sell online - so do collectable magazines and comics, particularly if you can find them in a series or set, so dig deep into the pile.

Cassettes, if you remember them, are classical buys and sell to collectors online.

  • Listen to the entire cassette to make sure it is not damaged.
  • Collectable vinyl records, cassette tapes and dvds are a dime a dozen at garage sales.

If you are a fan of game consoles, keep a keen eye out for the classical Atari console or any of their cartridge games. These are collectables and are fantastic items to buy and resell.

Items never to buy from a garage sale
Items never to buy from a garage sale

Resell books online

There are many successful second hand book businesses on eBay

  • Comics
  • Vintage children's books
  • A book series
  • Autobiographies

Books sell in bulk also so if you find a great bundle of science fiction books, cook books or romance stories (for example) sell them together.

  • How-to books and D.I.Y. guides are also good sellers

10 Items NEVER to buy from a Yard Sale

When browsing your next yard sale, be aware of the Top 10 items NEVER to buy.

There will still be hundreds of other brilliant finds which you can either keep yourself or resell online to make money. Buying items at a garage sale to sell on eBay is a fantastic way that many people earn money from home as a business.

How to find clothing to buy and resell online
How to find clothing to buy and resell online


Buying garments from a garage sale can be a very profitable exercise.

Vintage clothing can be considered classical. In many cases some pieces are timeless and finding a gorgeous two-piece knit set, a dress, skirt or some accessories can be very lucrative if re-selling them online is your intention.

Modern, trendy garments, are great sellers online however more money is made if they are brand name items.

Some items for sale may require a little love and care, a needle and thread or a complete overhaul whilst others may be in perfect condition. Regardless prices are always good, and bargains are to be had.

Just make sure you check for holes, perspiration odours (particularly in jackets), and wear and tear on seams. A missing button can be added at a later date but a broken zip may be too difficult.

Be wary of personalised clothing however. They rank very highly in the list of items not to buy from a garage sale; this includes shoes.

Do you have a green thumb?

Often pots, plants, shrubs and gardening items are popular bargains at garage sales. If you are lucky enough to have a green thumb then take the time to dig through the plants for sale.

Whilst something may look like a weed to one person, you may identify it as a lovely orchid leaf, the beginnings of a red hibiscus or a carnation plant, so snap it up and bring it back to life.

Even second hand gardening tools can be a great find. A little oil here and there, a clean and they can become very workable for you. Probably not the most suitable for resale but you never know.

If you are handy in the workshop, a lawnmower may be bought for pennies and resold for a nice profit. Consider your options.


Who doesn't love a good roll of gorgeous fabric. It is so versatile. And if you are a crafty person looking for a work at home idea this is the perfect place to shop. A garage sale.

You can make almost anything and everything:

  • Cover cushions
  • Throw rugs
  • Cover a plain canvas and decorate
  • Clothes including dolls clothing
  • Bibs
  • Baby blankets
  • Quilt covers
  • And the list goes on

Sometimes the odd vintage garment (dare I say it) makes for a perfect piece of fabric for recycling and re-crafting into something new.

Even vintage doilies can be re-crafted into something special.

Collectables for Resale online

Keep a close eye out for collectables at garage sales. You know the line, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

These items are big sellers online if the right item is found and the right buyer is in need:


  • Check condition of toys, dolls, action figures or boxed sets
  • Check for authenticity if possible via markings - year of manufacture or number.
  • Check for complete sets of lego, board games or activity sets.

Key Rings, Badges and Pins:

  • Memorabilia is a big seller. Look for key rings, badges or pins from a sporting event, a historical figure or a classical brand (i.e. Coca-Cola).
  • If they are truly antique there may be rust; that is OK.


  • Unless you have a trained eye, finding an antique bowl amongst a table full of bowls could take hours. But it is worth a quick glance.
  • Vintage cameras are a great buy too.


  • Look out for charms, lockets, broaches or chains - some may be able to be melted down if they are genuine.

Christmas, Halloween or Party Decorations

Find a box full of old decorations? Go digging. You may find some great bits and pieces for next year's Christmas tree or Halloween dress ups. Don't discount anything.

Party lights, decorations or bits and pieces to create a theme.

Keep your eyes and mind open.

There are endless items that can be purchased at a garage sale. Belts, handbags and even the odd vase or two. All potentially re-sellable.

Comical items including cards, place mats, dress up costumes and ashtrays.

Have fun shopping at a garage sale.

You'll buy some 'lemons' and you'll strike gold.

Enjoy your next garage sale.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      21 months ago

      I have discovered the joys of giving furnishings new life just this summer and I LOVE it!

    • JohnFerris profile image

      John Ferris 

      6 years ago from Montana

      You have gotten my mind going for the upcoming spring/summer garage sale season. I appreciate the tips for finding things to sell on eBay. I am running out of things to sell in my basement! Thanks a lot and I will be sure to read more of your hubs.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      8 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Fascinating Hub on a common neighborhood theme. I learned a good deal from it. Thanks so much for sharing! I'm putting some of these great tips to use this coming weekend. Voted up, useful, and interesting!

    • WorkAtHomeMums profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Believe it or not it is how many successful online traders operate. I myself have purchased many antiques, brand new with tag items and collectables at op shops. Brand name designer clothes too. Garage sales are even better though as prices are far cheaper. If you shop at op shops you'll get to know the days they place new stock on the floor so get in fast :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have never considered buying from garage sales and op shops to resell. This was an interesting read!

    • WorkAtHomeMums profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Thank you for your input. :)

    • RichardPac profile image


      8 years ago from Sunny Florida!

      I was a "professional Ebay'er" for quite awhile, and can attest to your solid tips. I didn't much care for the clothing aspect of the trade, but found that many books and movies were easily resell-able online.

    • WorkAtHomeMums profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Great tip. Thanks for sharing that!!

    • leni sands profile image

      Leni Sands 

      8 years ago from UK

      This is another really useful. I think I am going to enjoy reading more of your hubs and learning from you about ebay, etc.

      I frequently go to garage sales. Car boot sales are very popular here in the UK. I love rummaging around in the boxes to see what magical finds there are. I will keep a list in my pocket from now on of the types of things to look out for.

      Just for the record - Vintage hats, handbags and purses are other things to look out for, they've usually been stashed away still in their boxes and wrapped in tissue in granny's attic and once I found some really vintage stockings as new in their packets. At the car boot sales Look for the sellers that look like they are house clearing...there are usually some real bargains to be had there.

      Voted up useful and interesting.

    • WorkAtHomeMums profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Enjoy and hope you find some fun and useful items. Come back and share with me please I'd love to know :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I use to go to garage sells a lot, but not so much lately. After reading your hub I am ready to go again. I love finding bargains. Up and useful.

    • WorkAtHomeMums profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      you are very welcome. hope it all works out. I have heaps of ebay hints also in some hubs if you choose to sell them on ebay. good luck!!

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      8 years ago from The City of Generals

      These suggestions are great! I think the shabby chic idea can be a thousand fold. I have a file of old cassette tapes from childhood and been wondering how to recycle them. I'm not sure how else can they be useful. But thanks for all your suggestions, I'm definitely trying all of them. Yes online!

      Interesting and useful hub, THANK YOU!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)