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Also known as a yard sale, estate sale, etc. In the UK they're additionally known as car boot sales and jumble sales.
For real-life purposes, garage sales are events where owners get rid of all the useless junk they couldn't use before and buyers pick up some trinkets cheap. You can find puzzles, books, adorable clothes for your nephew, even the occasional working appliance.
In fiction, garage sales are much more interesting. The puzzles, books, clothes and microwaves have been replaced for fictional purposes with swords, ancient amulets, magic tomes, guns, bombs, and the occasional Call to Adventure.
Some common events:
- One of the family members (usually an adult) decides that they just can't let some of their stuff go. They may end up trying to take items back from customers trying to buy them.
- A child is put in charge of sales and ends up selling items for much too little due to inexperience.
- A valuable item is accidentally (and incorrectly) sold, and the seller has to get it back before the owner notices it's gone.
- Spouses will argue about "that awful ______" "but it's my lucky/favourite ______"!
- the person holding the sale trying to convince someone that a worthless piece of junk is a valuable antique.
- An ad for AT&T cell phones shows a garage sale in which the mother refuses to let her family sell their old, unused minutes since they're still perfectly good.
- Wow! A yard sale!!
- In Toy Story 2 Al steals Woody from one of these.
- Borat. Borat thinks he ended up at a gypsy yard sale with shrunk women (Barbie dolls) - and eventually finds a magazine about "Baywatch" and his big love - DJ aka Pamela Anderson.
- In the movie of Ghost World Enid has one of these, but ends up pissing off all her customers.
- There's a Babysitters Club book where the baby-sitters are running a fundraiser event with the local elementary school, and a few kids get the bright idea to run a garage sale! Cue a bunch of kids being yelled at for trying to sell daddy's books ("But you never read them!") or mommy's new shoes. I think the book was called Dawn and the Big Sleepover.
- There were at least two of these. In one case it was a garage sale, and in another kids were donating their parents' stuff to disaster relief for their pen pals in New Mexico.
- on Everybody Loves Raymond Ray's parents have a yard sale; his father wants to charge $20 for a used thermos, claiming it was once used by Elvis Presley.
- In one of the episodes of Dead Like Me, George goes to her mother's garage-sale to buy a doll that used to belong to her when she was alive.
- Charles In Charge one of the Powell's kids is left in charge of a family yard sale, and decides to move it inside the house when it starts raining, resulting in several non-sale items getting sold/stolen.
- The Malcolm in the Middle episode "Garage Sale". Lois puts Reese in charge to prove that he can handle things responsibly, and he ends up destroying an old computer worth thousands of dollars because he believed it was junk. Meanwhile, Dewey decides to start selling the family's furniture and appliances after everyone continuously ignores him.
- Achewood: Teodor has a sale to make money for rent. With Roast Beef's help, he makes over 1800 dollars "selling chipped egg cups and gummy scissors to people who squashed the backs of their shoes down with their heels instead of working their heels all the way into their shows."
- Cinema Bums features one in this strip, where Mindy needs to raise funds for a walk-on role in Joss Whedon's latest film.
- The Strong Bad Email "garage sale."
- One arc of Nodwick has the party holding a massive yard sale to get rid of the incredible assortment of junk they've looted from dungeons and had Nodwick cart home. Complications ensue when Piffany sets up a lemonade stand and the lemonade gets spiked with Love Potion.
- Uncle Sam holds one in Sinfest.
- In a Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons Homer buys a matter transporter from Professor Frink, which leads to Bart reenacting The Fly.
- Another episode of The Simpsons begins with a neighborhood-wide yard sale before a Halfway Plot Switch shows Homer feuding with new neighbor George HW Bush.
- Homer buys Flanders' barbeque grill and his living room furniture at a very low price when Flanders puts a yard sale when his left-handed business was failing.
- On Family Guy Brian accidentally sells Stewie's teddy bear Rupert in a garage sale, leading the two to go on a Quest to find him.
- Timmy's parents on The Fairly Odd Parents got a "priceless" Ming vase at a garage sale for $1.
- An episode of Cow and Chicken has the title characters doing one of these. Unfortunately, one of the signs on their table blows off it and in front of the house, which The Red Guy buys and the only way they can get it back is if they defeat him at a game of "My First Battleboat".
- On Animaniacs, the Warners misinterpret the concept of garage sale and ask to buy the owner's garage, with a starting bid of 25 cents.
- One Powerpuff Girls story has Mojo Jojo selling off some of his weapons because he's bankrupted himself building weapons. Hilarity Ensues when one little old lady mistakes a disintegrator for a hairdryer.
- Rocko's Modern Life has Rocko and Heffer holding a sale to make money to pay their pizza tab. Rocko makes enough money by selling his childhood pogo stick, then realizes he can't part with it and buys it back. Fortunately, he still ends up in the black because the melted action figure Heffer donated is bought by an art lover who mistakes it for a sculpture
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Finding Mary McGuffin," Candace's favorite old doll is accidentally sold at their garage sale and Phineas and Ferb play detective to get it back. Dr. Doofenshmirtz also buys a used Inator at a garage sale and tries to figure out what it does.
- Venture Brothers episode "Tag Sale - You're It!".
- In an episode of Rugrats the kids misunderstand the purpose of a yard sale and somehow manage to get everything in the house - including the furniture - out on the lawn, where their relatives assume that each item was put up for sale by one of the others, and sell it to some random passerby for far less than it's worth. Each adult thinks the sale was quite successful, until they come back inside and find the house completely empty.
- Happened in Beavis and Butthead when the duo watch over Tom Anderson's yard sale. They end up selling his stuffs inside his house at very low prices, believing they ripped the buyers off.
- Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants has a yard sale of all his garbage and lies through his teeth to get people to buy his junk, including selling SpongeBob a soda-drink hat with a "#1" on the front. He finds out moments after SpongeBob leaves that the hat is actually worth a fortune and spends the rest of the episode trying to get it back.
- A garage sale can be seen in the Left 4 Dead 2 level Hard Rain... with various firearms and deadly melee instruments on sale.
- In Killing Floor, one of the "Get to the Trader" quotes is "Time for a car boot sale, I feel..." Only in this case, the car boot sale is run by an incredibly heavily armed woman charging for powerful ordnance in a not-zombie apocalypse.