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You can find some great bargains at yard sales, which is why weekend garage-sales warriors won't miss an opportunity to pick through the eclectic assortment of items and antiques just waiting for a new owner.
Finding deals is great, but low prices can also inspire you to buy things you probably wouldn’t give a second look if you were in a store.
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So the next time you explore backyard sales, don’t let those shiny objects blind you to any defects, and make sure you leave broken, chipped, damaged and unsafe items behind.
Here are several types of products that you may want to leave at the yard sale.
Televisions, DVD players, CDs, VHS tapes and other electronic devices can be tricky, since you never know how well the previous owner took care of them. You also can't tell if the item was refurbished. In general, steer clear of things that need to be plugged in. Technology changes so quickly, you’re better off buying new.
Blenders, microwaves, coffeepots and other kitchen appliances get worn down. Blades in blenders can get dull, and mechanisms in appliances can weaken, no matter how good the gadget looks on the surface. That's why you should generally avoid things that need to be plugged in.
Plug-in holiday decorations and lights
Go ahead and buy that unusual centerpiece or tree ornament, but steer clear of lights, animated characters or anything that has wiring . Old cables in holiday decorations can be a problem — they could blow a fuse or even catch on fire.
Pots and pans
Avoid pots or pans with chipped enamel, rust or flaky nonstick coatings. Along with being impossible to fix, enamel or flaking surfaces can leak chemicals, and rust can form in the breaks.
E-readers, tablets and mp3 players often take a beating. They get knocked around, dropped and spilled on. Desktop computers, which are usually kept in a stable setting, also fall in this category. It is probably more cost effective to buy these items new, rather than gamble on used versions.