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    33 Homestead Items to Look for at Yard Sales

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    33 Homestead Items to Look For at Yard Sales

    Yard sales and garage sales can be treasure troves for the homesteader. With a little time and effort, you can save a substantial amount of money on quality items and supplies for your homestead.

    Some homeowners either don’t see the value of what they own or don't know how to make use of what they have. Therefore, they are willing to sell their used belongings for far less than they are actually worth. You may even find new and unused items for sale at a fraction of their original selling price.

    Here are some ideas for items to put on your garage sale checklist…

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    1. Appliances

    Be cautious when buying electric appliances at a garage sale because they could be difficult to clean or in poor repair. However, there can be some great deals out there on bread machines, food processors, ice cream makers, dehydrators, crockpots, grain mills, and coffee grinders. Hand-operated machines are always a great choice.

    2. Backpacks

    Backpacks are another commonly expensive item that you can sometimes find in good shape for affordable prices at yard sales. Many hiking backpacks can cost over a hundred dollars, but it’s more than possible to find used backpacks for a fraction of this price at yard sales.

    Just carefully inspect the backpacks for loose stitching, worn-down straps, holes, patches, or broken zippers. If you don’t find any of those issues, give it a shot.

    3. Battery Operated Items

    Battery powered lamps, radios, fans, and tools can be lifesavers in power outages. Stock up – and then make sure you have fresh batteries for them.

    4. Bicycles and Exercise Equipment

    Kids outgrow bicycles, and people get bored with their exercise equipment. Their loss can be your gain. Be sure to take bikes for a test ride and try out treadmills and stationary bikes.

    In addition to garage and yard sales, check your local newspaper and craigslist for estate sales. Also, make regular rounds to hunt for these items at your local thrift stores.

    Always inspect items carefully for missing parts, chips, cracks and other damage. Ask the seller to try out anything that has moving parts. Don’t be afraid to bargain on prices. You never know what amazing deals you might get.

    5. Books

    Best-selling novels, how-to manuals, homeschooling curriculum, children’s storybooks, classic fiction – garage sales have them all. Start or add to your family’s library with inexpensive, quality books.

    6. Buckets

    Old buckets or flower pots are another common site at garage sales. You can use buckets for a variety of purposes when it comes to homesteading, including for gardening, ammo storage, making a DIY clothes washer, storing fish you catch, distilling liquor, storing virtually anything else you can think of, or if you absolutely have to, disposing of waste.

    7. Camping Equipment

    Many people hosting yard sales are downsizing and therefore are looking to get rid of big and bulky items like tents, tarps, sleeping bags, and backpacks. Also look for quality cookstoves and cast-iron pots and pans to add to your homestead inventory.

    8. Candles

    Stock up on inexpensive candles. You may find used candles offered at only 10 cents each or in a “free” box. Remember, small candles can be melted down to make larger ones.

    9. Canning Equipment

    You can often find pint jars for a quarter each at garage sales. Also look for lids, rings, and canning tools to save big-time in canning your homegrown produce. In addition to canning, you can also use mason jars for a variety of other purposes around the homestead.

    10. Canvas

    Canvas tarps or sheets of canvas also serve a variety of survival uses and are often found for affordable prices at yard sales as well. You can use canvas for shelter building, distilling water, providing a barrier in between yourself and the moist ground, an emergency solution for a leaking roof, covering up damaged windows, or to catch rainwater, among other uses.

    11. Ceramic and Glass Canisters

    You can find a zillion purposes for jars and canisters around the homestead. You’ll find an array of colors, sizes, and styles at garage sales, and they are often at just a dollar or two each. Also look for quality serving bowls and platters at rock bottom prices.

    12. Cookware

    You're bound to find some cookware at almost every yard sale. People accumulate dishes, pots, and pans but rarely use them, so they practically give them away. You should especially keep your eyes peels for cast iron pots and pans which are often sold for a fraction of the original price.

    13. Firearms and Ammo

    Guns are another big-ticket item that can often be found for a fraction of the original price. In most U.S. states, the private sale of firearms is perfectly legal. You'll sometimes find them at estate sales if the auctioneer is licensed to sell them.

    14. Fishing Supplies

    Fishing rods, tackle boxes, and lures all find their way into garage sales. Think about offering the seller one price for a combination of items for even more savings.

    15. Games and Puzzles

    Most garage sales have a section with some old-fashioned fun stuff. Hunt for some new additions for family game night, and you can often find puzzles for $1 or even less.

    16. Gardening Supplies

    You may find incredible bargains on hoes, rakes, shovels and other gardening tools at yard sales, especially in the fall.

    17. Grills and Smokers

    Grills and smokers are also quite expensive (though even more so) when new, but can sometimes be found used but in good shape at yard sales. If you do find a grill or a smoker at a yard sale, it should be available for a mere fraction of the price it would be brand new.

    18. Handmade Quilts and Linens

    Handmade quilts, tablecloths, and other linens can sometimes be found tucked away amongst other items at yard sales. These often hold a charm and quality craftsmanship that store-bought items can't match.

    Not only can they be used for their intended purpose, but quilts, in particular, can be repurposed into other items like tote bags or cushion covers. Inspect them for any signs of wear or stains, but even those with minor flaws can be mended or reworked into something new for the homestead.

    19. Jewelry

    Used gold and silver jewelry that you find at a yard sale won’t carry much sentimental value. But what it can be useful for in a major grid-down disaster is bartering. Just collect whatever cheap jewelry you can find then store it in a wooden box to set aside. When things get rough, all that jewelry you stored could become immensely valuable.  

    20. Kitchen Supplies

    Can and bottle openers, graters, measuring spoons and cups, funnels, mixers, graters, you name it – you can usually find it for cheap at a garage sale. Keep an eye out for supplies you can use in the fireplace and campfire, such as a fireplace popcorn popper.

    21. Lawn Equipment

    Any kind of lawn tools or related equipment applies here. Lawn mowers, weed eaters, rakes, soil rakes, hoes, gardening gloves, etc. The equipment will be used, but as long as it’s in good condition and serviceable, you’ll get a much better price than if you were to buy it new.

    22. Medical Supplies

    First-aid and medical supplies are a great find at a yard sale. Homeowners like to get rid of their unused supplies after a loved one’s long illness, and you could score valuable items such as walkers, canes, slings, bandages and hot water bottles. You might find unopened packages of surgical gloves, face masks and alcohol wipes.

    23. Oil Lamps

    With winter weather around the corner, it's a good idea to be prepared for power outages on your homestead. You often can find an oil lamp on sale for just a few dollars at a garage sale. Also look for wicks and oil for the lamps.

    24. Old Windows and Doors

    Yard sales, especially those related to house renovations, may have old windows and doors up for grabs. These can be repurposed into cold frames for extending the gardening season, creating a greenhouse, or even for unique and rustic decoration elements around your homestead. When choosing windows, it's essential to ensure that the glass is still intact and that the frames are sturdy.

    25. Rain Barrels and Compost Bins

    People often purchase rain barrels or compost bins with great intentions, but sometimes they end up unused and taking up space. These can be found at yard sales, often in great condition.

    Rain barrels are fantastic for water conservation, and compost bins are an essential tool for any homesteader looking to enrich their soil with organic matter. Make sure to inspect for cracks or any signs of wear and tear.

    26. Sewing and Knitting Items

    You may be able to stock up on yarn, thread, needles, and even fabric at giveaway prices. A great find would be a treadle sewing machine, which operates with foot power.

    27. Sheets and Blankets

    Some sellers offer new or barely used sheets. Look for quality blankets in good condition. Also check for soft flannel baby blankets, which can be used for a variety of tasks around the homestead, from diapering babies to making quilts.

    28. Shoes

    Look for cheap shoes or boots that you could use for dirty yard or outdoor work at home. The idea is to find used and worn shoes that can still be used, but that you won’t care about if they get destroyed. What’s best is that you should be able to buy them for incredibly cheap too.

    29. Solar Lights

    Solar lamps to light up your paths and walkways can be pricey at the store. However, you might find some in good shape at a garage sale.

    30. Tools

    Look for hardware such as hammers, screwdrivers, axes, and saws. Examine all tools carefully and look for brand names you trust. You also may be able to pick up nails, bolts, screws and the like for pennies. If you can find a manual (reel) lawnmower at a great price, get it!

    31. Towels

    You can typically find cloth rags and towels at incredibly low prices. Just wash them thoroughly before using them!

    32. Toys

    This includes anything from wagons to dolls to clothing to coloring books. Every Christmas and birthday our children get some toys we found at garage sales – they never know the difference.

    33. Winter Wear

    We all know how kids grow out of everything. Boots and winter clothes are expensive, so scan garage sales for quality boots, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, and heavy socks. Even if they are too big now, the garage sale prices make it worth buying for when your kids grow into them later.

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      4 thoughts on “33 Homestead Items to Look for at Yard Sales”

      1. Just a word of caution: Make sure puzzles, games and card games (crazy 8’s,Go Fish, etc) have all the pieces. Very frustrating to the little ones if they’re not complete. I got a puzzle at a garage sale once, lady said all pieces were there but guess what? It was missing about 4 pieces. Grandson was disappointed but had fun with it any ways. My grands “test” out the stuff I get when I go garaging ;), when they come to visit. Keeps them off the electronics LOL

        • That’s a truth with a lot of Garage Sale/Thrift Store buys. My Mother in Law recently purchased a fancy vacuum cleaner, only to discover a critical piece was missing. Won’t work without it, and the product has no parts support from the manufacturer. With something like that, you might find one somewhere or you may never find the part. Caveat Emptor!

      2. One thing I will not purchase 2nd hand is footwear. I the early 80’s I bought a pair of used hunting boots. They looked almost brand new. Within a few weeks I began to develop Plantar Warts. I was treated and didn’t think a thing about it. Next year, hunting season came and I wore the boots again, and once again I began to develop Plantar Warts. I was surprised when my Doctor asked if I was wearing 2nd hand footwear. Apparently, the type of HPV virus responsible for Plantar Warts can survive in shoes for years. I immediately trashed the boots, and bought new pair the next hunting season. I’ve not had a repeat infection ever since

        So, be cautious with what you buy 2nd Hand.


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