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Don't Buy This at a Garage Sale
Everyone loves a good garage sale. It’s a chance to save money while snooping through other people’s stuff. However, not everything at a garage sale is a bargain – or even safe. Reader’s Digest lists some things you should avoid:
Bike helmets. Once a bike helmet has been in an accident, it no longer provides the protection you need. Since damage is not always obvious when you look at the helmet, buy this item new.
Infant car seats. A garage sale might seem like a good place to look for a car seat, especially if you will use it only occasionally to transport your grandchildren. But like bike helmets, car seats offer full protection only until they are in an accident. A used car seat may not keep your precious cargo safe. Plus, car seats are continually being made stronger and more effective, so buy new.
Cribs. Cribs are expensive, and the temptation can be great to pick up a gently used one for a lot less – again, especially if you will use it only occasionally. However, unless the crib is practically new, resist. After a spate of infant injuries and even some deaths, safety standards were updated to call for smaller distances between crib rails and an end to the drop-side crib. Plus, if the crib is very old, it could have lead-based paint.
Mattresses. There is the danger of bringing home bed bugs, or course. And besides, sleeping on a mattress used for who knows what by someone you don’t know is just gross. That’s why many jurisdictions don’t technically allow resale of used mattresses.
Shoes. The reason your own shoes feel good on you is that they have become formed to the shape of your feet through months or years of wear. And that’s why someone else’s shoes – formed to someone else’s feet -- may never fit you correctly.
Upholstered furniture. Along with that new couch, you might bring in bed bugs, fleas or other parasites. Plus, once you get the piece out of the open air and into your home, you might notice smoke or pet odors that you missed before.
Hats. Hats are a common place for head lice to hide. And even if you avoid lice, do you really want to wear something that someone else has had on his or her sweaty head?
Blenders. It may look fine in the garage. But when you get it home you might find the blades have become so dull they can’t cut butter, much less whip up a margarita.
Tires. It is hard to tell by looking whether a used tire is safe. So if you are planning to hang the tire as a swing from that big oak tree, go ahead. Otherwise, skip it.
Swimsuits. You might be able to get past the “yuck” factor of wearing such an intimate garment if you wash it in hot water. But chlorine and sun can seriously weaken the fabric of a swimsuit, so your purchase is not likely to last long.