Buying Garage Sale Items to Resell

Selling select items bought at yard sales can be a great way to make some extra money. This guide is about buying garage sale items to resell.

October 17, 2008 Flag
2 found this helpful

I love eBay and have been very lucky at finding valuable items to sell on ebay at garage sales. My latest "coup", a Getzen trumpet that I paid $25 for, and sold on eBay for $750. I invested $120 in having the trumpet professionally cleaned and checked out. I offered free next-day delivery with buy-it-now, and sold the trumpet in four days. Including the high cost of the shipping, and the ebay/paypal fees, I still netted almost $500!

That isn't the best part, though. My wife and I happen to live in an area that most yard and garage sales feature a lot of decorative brass items - candlesticks, animals, planters, and such - and most people are anxious to get rid of their brass items. Maybe it is because of the time spent keeping the brass polished, but for whatever reason, we are able to pick up a lot of brass each weekend for pennies on the dollar. We then cash in our brass at a recycling center. Lately, brass has paid as little as $1.75/lb. up to $2.10/lb. Our best weekend ever was just over $120 for brass that we had invested less than $30 in. We use the brass money to cover our gasoline expense on our garage sale days and usually have enough surplus to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out or to simply add to our "stash".


By Virgil from Jonesboro, AR

October 17, 20080 found this helpful

Hey the early bird gets the worm. Thanks for the brass idea, I didn't know you could recycle that. Any ideas how I find out about that in my area?

I've made an entire business out of being at the first sale at 7 am and finding the bargains to resell, although I do sell on ebay, I also have a booth at the antique mall. I've always had a knack for finding the best sales and don't feel sorry for those of you who don't. It's how I can afford to work and stay home with my babies.

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October 18, 20080 found this helpful

When people have yard sales, they WANT to sell their stuff even if it's really cheap. They're trying to get rid of it and I think it's smart that you find it and resell it or recycle it. I'm going to consider doing that myself. I have also been selling stuff on Ebay to get rid of clutter around my house and I've been successful at it too. Not enough to pay my mortgage or anything, but enough to have a little extra for bills. Thank you.

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

I bought an old gas pump globe at a yard sale for twenty dollars and sold it for $366.00 plus shipping on ebay a few years ago. Unfortunately, it takes money to make money and if you don't have it to begin with you can't buy the items to resell. That's the situation I'm in now.

The best of luck to you.

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

I guess I don't know how to sell on ebay. I tried a while back and didn't sell a thing. Best of luck to all who can do it.

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November 14, 20090 found this helpful

People who really don't want to GIVE their stuff away at garage sales are going to do a little internet research and realize that that old trumpet (or whatever) is worth something and will take it to the local instrument dealer to sell, or try to sell it on their own on Ebay, Craiglist or the local free Pennysaver magazine. On the other hand some people have enough money and really don't care and are willing to practically give it away in order to "clean house", garage sales are great for that sort of buyer who has the time and energy to look for that sort of seller.

Don't condemn someone because they have the wherewithall to do something you 1) can't or 2) won't do. Everyone has their cross to bear and life is tough for everyone in one way or another. Many have hurdles to jump until they can make even the smallest advance in life. Be supportive of everyone, one day you may be the one w/ the great idea or wherewith all to achieve something, wouldn't you want others to support you instead of tearing you down?

My question to this original poster is:

How often do you find good deals like this? Once a week, once a month? and how many sales do you go to, to accomplish a transaction like this? I'm not an early riser, but could learn to be if the deals are good.. I love to resale shop and find awesome deals on clothes and household items, thing I would pay 10x as much for new I find almost new at the thrift store.

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November 14, 20090 found this helpful

I can sort of see both sides of this issue. On one hand, I can appreciate the initiative it takes to seek out bargains and sell them for more. I do something similar, in that I make jewelry, which means I buy various bits and pieces, put them together into designs, and people buy them from me for more than it cost me to make them.

I also love to see people on "Antiques Roadshow" find out that some trinket with unknown value that they bought for pennies at a garage sale is worth a fortune.

On the other hand, it doesn't warm my heart the same way to think of people routinely cruising garage sales looking for valuable stuff to scarf up cheap and resell for more. Yet as I understand it, this is common with garage sales. You buy stuff at one just to sell it at your own for a higher price. But I've never held a garage sale, nor have I gone to one, so I'm sure no expert on what goes on there.

I don't hold garage sales because things I don't need I donate to Salvation Army, Goodwill, Purple Heart, etc., so that the charity will at least make a few bucks off of selling it at their thrift store. I don't go to garage sales because, honestly, I rarely need more "stuff."

When I donate things to charities, it has always bothered me to think that someone could be picking up those items for rock bottom prices, just for the purpose of reselling them at a garage sale to make a buck on them.

Why does that bother me? I can't really say for sure, but it always has. I guess I have this fantasy of my donation not only bringing in a few dollars for the thrift store, but also going to a good home that needs it - not being passed through a few more hands who bought it just to make money selling it to somebody else.

Call me old-fashioned, but I have the same outlook on this my parents did. I just always figure there's somebody out there worse off than me and I don't mind sharing my belongings as best I can to level the playing field a little.

(And no, I'm not rich. My husband and I are retired and living on a modest savings and his Social Security payments until my own SS payments kick in a few years from now.)

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November 15, 20090 found this helpful

For the person(s) criticizing... what do you think businesses do? They buy low and sell at a profit. This is a business transaction and those people buying low and selling on e-bay or elsewhere are just trying to may a living like everyone else. To me it's no different that negotiating for purchases which is smart and frugal. Something I do on a regular basis.

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July 8, 20110 found this helpful

I do not mind selling my stuff cheap, and I do. What I mind is some ******* who wants me to come down so they can make a 10000% profit.

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August 18, 20120 found this helpful

We don't have garage sales here - UK - instead we have car-boot sales, where all gather at a site, pay about £5m, and sell their items from their car-boot (trunk).

In general, traders here know the value of their goods, but where I think the seller is not well-off, I would tell them if I think an item is worth more elsewhere. They never listen! It would be too much trouble to do the research and so on.

So I have stopped feeling guilty. Anyway, I can only afford to spend very little, not the prices the collectors and sellers pay!

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August 2, 20150 found this helpful

All the posts I read here are indeed very good ways to earn extra cash. A word of caution, though. Get acquainted with your city ordinances on this subject. Some cities have laws against buying items from garage/yard sales and reselling them at your own garage/yard sales. I have seen this ordinance enforced in my city.

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July 18, 2008 Flag
0 found this helpful

Do you have a garage sale purchase that you are particularly proud of? Feel free to post it below.

October 6, 20080 found this helpful

My lucky find was at a local church rummage sale. I found a little professor calculator from the 70's for $.25 and sold it on Ebay for $36.00! Happy day!

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October 22, 20080 found this helpful

I love, love, love Garage Sales. At an estate sale I once purchased a new $3,500 Oriental-style bedroom set including dresser, mirrors, armoire and queen sized head board for $400. Recently I purchased two large room sized throw rugs for $25 that I'm sure were worth hundreds.

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November 1, 20080 found this helpful

was at a yard sale and noticed a butcher block that was used as small engine repair table they said they would sell it , got it for 4 bucks now to clean it up

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November 30, 20080 found this helpful

We drove by a garage sale & noticed an interesting table & chairs on the driveway so we stopped. It was old & I loved it but I didn't need it. The tag was $50 then the owner came over and offered it for $40, without me asking! We took it home, cleaned it, tighted it up, recovered the 6 chair seats with black leather & we use it every day as our kitchen table. The table legs and chair legs are curvy and its a treasure, I think.

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January 5, 20090 found this helpful

Found 12 Cutco Knives. The lady didn't have the 12 knives priced so I asked. She wanted $2.00 each and I asked if she was sure. The knives were her husbands first wife so she didn't want them. So for $12.00 I got at least a $600.00 set of knives.

Also got a pewter candle stick for $1.00.

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January 20, 20090 found this helpful

My house is full of wonderful garage sale buys- quality stuff for low prices.

35 years ago I bought a large painting at a sale for $5 because it is a picture of a red tree. I love the color red. One day out of curiousity I typed the artists name into ebay and my painting is worth about $2-3,000!

New breadmaker- $4. Juicer- $2. I use both of them frequently.

Mostly I look for books and CD's which I sell on It gives a little extra retirement income. I love the hunt. I love it when I buy a book for a dollar and sell it for $25 or even $75. There is a little kids Disney book which I have now found 3 of- and sold each one for over $100.

Gotta love it.

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January 23, 20090 found this helpful

I bought a sunfish sailboat--(which had been used one season and then stored in a cellar and never used by the original owners again) for $75.00--retail worth $3685.00!!!!! Also bought a complete underground sprinkler system--top of the line--for $25.00.

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February 13, 20090 found this helpful

So Kewl to hear of all your finds! I too love garage saling. I find it relaxing and at the same time very addicting. I had found several awesome finds over the last few years. My biggest find was a solid oak ventless gel fireplace with the bookcases. I planned on taking it home and painting it white.

After cleaning it up it was so gorgeous I decided not to touch the finish~! I found this for $35.00! Looked it up on the net and the cheapest I seen the one I purchased was $699.00! Funny thing is I purchased this in December weeks before xmas. Im sure he would of gotten more then what he gave it away for. It looked beautiful next to my tree and I had a real fire for the holiday! What a find! Yes, I too have found capidamonte, hull, etc.

Today I spent 7 dollars came home with a beautiful HUGE wall planter valued at 50 dollars, office supplies, 2 gorgeous pictures for my living room, a hand blown glass and iron candle holder and some kitchen items! All for 7 dollars! Cant do that anywhere else! LOL

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November 16, 20090 found this helpful

Last summer 2009 I found a 19 inch Samsung LCD monitor for $10. The previous owner said it worked. OK for $10 I will give it try. Works perfect!! Great deal. Bought 3 pairs of nearly new, in mint condition Levi jeans for $1.50 each. they fit perfect! Saved over $30 on each pair! Brand new still in the box pool table light $15 store sticker still on the box said $80. Beautiful 47x30 inch framed mirror for $20, new still in the sealed box. These are just a few things I kept. I do buy to resell on ebay and Differenthings.

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October 28, 20100 found this helpful

I purchased a Lego Creator: The Race To Build It Board Game from a man for $1.00 at a garage sale. It was brand new and complete with 72 pieces. He just wanted to get rid of it. has it listed for $239. Definitely going to sell this baby and make some cash. Ca Ching! $

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January 19, 20110 found this helpful
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