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Be Careful about Whose Advice You take when Holding a Yard Sale

by Gregory Watkins (07/31/14).

signI recently read a headline of an Internet article highlighting: “11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale.” Since many of WorthPoint’s subscribers are buyers and resellers of everything from antique chandeliers to old concert T-shirts, I have been following the reseller crowd to see what they are talking about. I figured that knowing these 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale would be good info to file away, so I clicked through and read the article.

“Article” is too grand a term for the piece; listicle is more the correct term. It ran 117 words long, and then listed the 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale, accompanied by 11 photographs and short captions. I scrolled down the list, expecting to make mental notes so when called upon, so I might remember these 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale for any future yard sale I may have, or to be able to talk shop with resellers.

There was only one problem with the list of 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale, as it turns out, that each of them are perfectly fine for yard sales.

So, before we go any further, here is the complete list of 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale:

This promotional Red Diamond Brand Coffee & Tea Good Morning coffee mug was picked up for 50 cents and sold for $24.99.

This Red Diamond Brand Coffee & Tea Good Morning promotional coffee mug was picked up for 50 cents and sold for $24.99.

1. Old record albums;
2. Old shoes;
3. Big, heavy furniture;
4. Stuffed animals, old or new;
5. Tacky travel souvenirs;
6. Old VHS tapes;
7. Old exercise equipment;
8. Half-used bath and body products;
9. Books about outdated technology;
10. Stained/faded plastic toys;
11. Promotional mugs, T-shirts, glassware and totes.

Now, not being an actual expert on the topic, I put the question to a group of people who are: members off the Thrifting with the Boys Facebook Group. For the uninitiated, “the Boys” are Bryan Goodman and Jason T. Smith—the stars of Spike TV’s “Thrift Hunters”—and the folks on their Facebook page are all people who scour thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets, looking for things to buy low and resell for much, much more on eBay and other reseller sites. When I shared the link to the article and asked them what they thought about the article’s advice, they backed up my thoughts: they have purchased everything on the list of 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale, and made a tidy profit by reselling them to boot.

In addition to copping to have bought many of the 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale, there were three basic responses that many of them had. The first was that the author of the listicle had to be a reseller herself and was part of a great conspiracy to keep people from putting these items in their yard sales in hopes that they would all end up in the “free pile,” so she and her reseller friends could pick up these great items at no cost, thereby increasing their margin.

Someone paid $4 for these extremely ugly HeyDay Saints sneakers and sold them for $68 oh eBay.

Someone paid $4 for these extremely ugly HeyDay Saints sneakers and sold them for $68 oh eBay.

The second response was that I should just keep my big trap shut and not bring any attention to the problems with list of the 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale so that these items would end up in the “free pile” and we can pick up these great items at no cost, thereby increasing our margin.

The third was that there were specific items in each category that were known, in the trade, as a BOLO item, as in “Be On (the) Look Out” for these things, because someone just made a fabulous profit on a 25-cent buy and if you see one like it, buy it so you, too, can make a bunch of cash by selling it on eBay.

Each category on the list of 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale has its own caveats, and if you are holding a yard sale, and you have any of these 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale, you’re going to have to do some work and have some luck on your side to be able to sell them.

You should advertise widely, and not just on yard and garage sale sites. Ask to post some signs advertising your sale at thrift stores. Those who frequent Goodwill and the Salvation Army Store are the people who buy these kinds of Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale and you want them at your sale. Then get creative. Do you have a bunch of housewares, heavy, out-of-style furniture or old clothes? Call your local high school drama department and the community theater; they are often looking for props and costumes and have tight budgets. Then channel your inner Monte Hall and play “Let’s Make a Deal.”

This 90-cent steal turned out to be a Foofur Blue Dog by Phil Mandez Dakin, circa 1984, and later sold for $49.99.

This 90-cent steal turned out to be a Foofur Blue Dog by Phil Mandez Dakin, circa 1984, and later sold for $49.99.

And because just about everything on the list can be considered junk, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and price everything to sell—and that means fractions-of-a-dollar-prices on some things. If you really wanted to do the research and find out which five record albums out of that collection of 500 is actually worth anything, you wouldn’t be selling them at a yard sale; you’d have them up for sale on eBay yourself. And that goes for all of the categories of the 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale.

So, where does the luck come in? You’ve got to hope that on the day of your sale—which is now going to includes many of the 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale—you happen to have some resellers drop by. There is no guarantee that someone will buy all or any of your 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale, but if you don’t put them out, they are guaranteed not to sell.

Don’t believe me? Go ahead and just chuck everything you’ve got that’s included in the 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale list on the sidewalk with a “free” sign. There will be people more than happy to take that stuff off your hands (and fill their pockets with cash that you could have had). Don’t believe me? Read on and decide for yourself:

Andy J. says: “Anyone reading (that article) who is having a yard sale will put all this ‘worthless stuff’ in the free pile and I will be over to pick it up. And it will go to a charitable organization called ‘My Baby Needs New Shoes.’”

Craig S. adds: “I just sold a Jerry Vale album for $19.95 that I picked up at a garage sale for a dime. That article is so wrong, but that’s all right; all the stuff will be left for us.”

Finally, this Eat At Ralph’s in the original box was salvaged from the “free” pile at a yard sale. It sold for $63.

Finally, this Eat at Ralph’s game, in the original box, was salvaged from the “free” pile at a yard sale. It sold for $63.

Kathleen J. admits that she has “either sold or bought most of these things. You just never know what someone will buy. It’s the thrill of the hunt through the junk!”

Finally, Pam N. relates this: “My 18-year-old daughter has a closet full of garage-sale shoes. And for the past year, she has been scouring for records to listen to and has made a mission of collecting every Disney VHS tape to watch with Grandma before heading to college this fall.”

So, there you have it. If you have any or all of these 11 Things No One Will Buy At Your Yard Sale, go ahead and try to sell them. You’ve got nothing to lose and possibly a few bucks to gain.


Gregory Watkins is the editor of WorthPoint.com You can email him at greg.watkins@worthpoint.com

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3 Responses to “Be Careful about Whose Advice You take when Holding a Yard Sale”

  1. Wayne Jordan says:

    The first things on my list at any yard sale/estate sale are records of any kind: 78s, 45s, and LPs. If it’s vinyl (or shellac) I want to have a look at it.

  2. I always check the coffee mugs at sales and donation stores, if you know what to look for and you find it – there is an excellent profit zone to be had re-selling on Ebay.

  3. Kay Blinebury says:

    Well I’m certainly happy the people in my town didn’t read the article/listicle before I had my recent yard sale because I sold everything on the list except #8, opened bath products, which I didn’t offer. As to # 9 had a teenager go wild over old DOS 3.0 books. Goes to show that self proclaimed experts aren’t always as knowledgeable as they claim.

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