Yard sales are the ultimate form of recycling.
Whether your neighbor is hawking a souvenir spoon collection on her lawn or your church has gathered congregants’ donations for a fundraiser, you can dig up some hidden gems at these sometimes-luxe, sometimes-loopy sales.
Plus, pat yourself on the back: Giving these items new life will likely save trash from filling up a landfill.
Here’s a look at things you’d be smart to snatch up at the next yard sale you visit:
1. Le Creuset and Pyrex
Both are sought-after for resale — I cite them in “Hunt Down and Cash In on These 21 Thrift Store Treasures.” Or, you could incorporate them into your own kitchen stock.
2. Picture frames
You can print your digital photos or illustrations cheaply enough, but the cost of frames can hang up even the best gallery-wall intentions.
Hunt down frames at yard sales instead.
3. Specialty appliances
Single-use appliances are so tempting. You can almost convince yourself you’d regularly use that cake-pop maker or hot-dog cooker or snow-cone machine. And maybe you would.
But don’t splurge on a new one when you can pick up your neighbor’s barely used gadget for one-tenth of the price.
Who knows, jelly making just might become your jam.
Snap to it: Legos have been popular for generations. Kids love them and grown-ups — if they’ll admit it — often find the plastic bricks mesmerizing and fun, too.
You may not pick up a complete NASA space shuttle set at a yard sale, but a giant crate of mixed bricks should assemble hours of fun.
And if you happen to find the right set, you could really cash in. As we reported in “Your Old Legos Could Be Worth More Than Gold,” a 2015 analysis by the British newspaper The Telegraph found that certain Legos offer better returns than some common investments.
5. Recipe boxes
Cookbooks and online food sites are tasty, but there’s something about a carefully curated flip-top box full of handwritten recipes.
Grandma’s famous Christmas cookies, the prize-winning recipes Mom meticulously snipped from the hometown paper, Dad’s deviled-egg secret — each family’s treasured treats are special.
You won’t get rich by buying up these cherished collections, but the fun of traveling through another family’s delectable diary is worth it.
Never pay full price for a basket: Yard sales and thrift stores have enough for an entire army of Little Red Riding Hoods.
I like to scoop them up cheap and save them for teacher gifts, filling them with favorite snacks and a good bottle of wine.
7. Exercise equipment
Resolving to get in shape, but don’t want to trudge to a health club?
Don’t sweat it: It’s likely that someone with great intentions bought an exercise bike or other piece of workout gear, then sat on the couch and failed to use it. Make their fitness fail your core find.