How to Avoid Yardsale Junk

by Christina Heiska

I am a yardsale fanatic. I go every weekend and usually hold a few each year. I just love them but have been known to make a buying mistake here or there along the way. Here are some tips on how to avoid the junk and just buy the good stuff:

Battery operated items Before buying check the battery compartment for old corroded batteries that may have damaged it.

Electrical appliances Ask to plug it in to test it (most garages have an electrical outlet handy.) Since most items are sold "as is" you'll be out of luck if you get it home and it doesn't work. Make sure all the parts are there, and hopefully the instruction manual too.

Clothing Check for missing buttons, zippers that don't zip, snaps that don't snap (or are missing altogether). When buying kid's clothes, keep in mind that the clothes may have shrunk so don't necessarily go by the tag size.

CDs Check to make sure what the cover says is actually what's in the case. Also check for major scratches and damage.

Books Smell them to check for musty smell. If you are an avid book collector, or buying books for someone else, bring a list of what they already own so you don't buy duplicates (or even triplicates!)

Jewelry Check clasps on necklaces to make sure they work. If a sparkly ring catches your eye, look at the band. If it's a cheap band, chances are the stone is an imitation. Jewelers don't set pricey stones in bands where the gold rubs off.

Glassware Run your fingers over the edges to check for chips and nicks. Your hands will find imperfections sometimes before your eyes will. Keep some extra newspaper in your car to wrap fragile items, in case the seller didn't think ahead and have some handy.

And lastly if you see an interesting item you think you may want to buy, pick it up and carry it around a little bit and then decide. Because if you don't, the moment you decide you want it, someone else will have just purchased it!

Christina Heiska is a stay-at-home mom who gave birth one day after having a yardsale. Check out her website for more yardsaling tips at The Yardsale Queen at

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