In Abilene, Texas, garage sales are a common sight, and if you knew my mother, Alice, you know that Saturdays and on occasion some Sundays (after church)  were the days that were meant for going to or putting on a garage sale. I recall in Mom's latter days when I would drive her to and from her doctor's appointments she would spot a garage sale and yell "Pull over, pull over, it's a garage sale and they've got just exactly what I'm looking for!"

Still, to this day I've wondered even while writing this article, I'm thinking about every gift I ever received from Mom and Dad. I often thought "Is this a garage sale find or did she go to the store and pick it out for me?" I recall one time in the fourth grade we were at an Air Force Base where my dad was stationed, and a kid came up to me at the playground and said "Hey that was my jacket you're wearing, my mom sold at our garage sale last weekend!" And then he and the other kids all started laughing, I was never the same.

12 Things You Should Never Buy at a Garage Sale

To this day when I pass a garage sale you will hear me say out loud "Pull over, pull over, they have just what I'm looking for!" I believe it is super important to know what items to avoid for health and safety reasons (not to mention a possible embarrassment). While the thrill of a bargain is enticing, always prioritize your well-being over a good deal, ALWAYS.

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Garage sales are a treasure trove for bargain hunters, my dear friend Christopher who is a genius computer tech, loves garage sales he is looking to buy jewelry and old electronics to extract the precious metals from them.

But some items are best left untouched. In our hometown of Abilene, Texas, garage sales seem to pop up daily, it's tempting to snag a deal. However, certain items come with hidden risks that outweigh any potential savings. Here are some things you should never buy at a garage sale and why.

Top 12 Items to Never Buy at a Garage Sale:

1. Underwear and Socks
Used underwear and socks can harbor bacteria and other pathogens, posing serious health risks. Even if they appear clean, it's best to avoid these intimate items.

2. Clothing and Swimwear
While new clothing even if they still have tags might seem like a steal, used clothing and swimwear can carry lice, bacteria, and other contaminants.

3. VHS Tapes and VCRs
With modern streaming services, VHS tapes and VCRs are outdated.

4. Video Game Consoles
Older video game consoles may not work properly, and finding compatible parts can be a challenge.

5. Sneakers, Shoes and Cowboy Boots
Footwear, particularly second-hand, can mold to the original owner's feet, leading to discomfort and boots can carry fungus and bacteria.

6. Appliances
Small and large appliances from garage sales lack warranties and may have unseen defects. Most electrical appliances can pose fire threats if not in good condition.

7. Used Luggage
Second-hand luggage can be infested with bedbugs or other bugs. These tiny hitchhikers are notoriously difficult to eradicate once they invade your home.

8. Baby Cribs and Bedding
Safety standards for baby cribs and bedding change frequently. Older models may not meet current safety guidelines. Think about your infants' safety.

9. Used Mattresses
Used mattresses and bedding are a breeding ground for bedbugs, dust mites, and allergens of all kinds. These pests lead to health issues and can infest your home.

10. Helmets and Headwear
Safety gear like helmets should never be bought second-hand. Helmets can have hidden damage that compromises their effectiveness.

11. Hats, Cowboy Hats or Helmets
While cowboy hats are a popular item in and around West Texas, they can harbor lice, bed bugs, and other critters. Opt for new instead.

12. Personal and Hygiene Items
And this is an obvious NO! Items like toothbrushes, razors, and makeup should never be bought second-hand. Also, things like handheld vibrating muscle massagers or personal items. These things can transfer bacteria, diseases, and other pathogens, that will put your health at risk.
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What are good items to find at garage sales around the Key City? Look for well-used lawnmowers, lawn furniture, hand tools, artwork, musical instruments, exercise equipment, sporting goods, outdoor supplies, books, and so on.

Also, the most important thing to keep at front of mind is: when buying at garage sales make sure you get a sales receipt whether you're buying a shotgun, a riding lawn mower, a rocking guitar, or whatever it might be. In that receipt include a brief description and serial number if possible and both seller and buyer sign it.

Happy bargain hunting y'all!

LOOK: These Are 12 Things You Should Never Buy At A Texas Garage sale

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