Stockpiling unwanted items somewhere in your house, putting a price sticker on everything, getting the word out there and haggling over a glass vase you think is worth the $5 tag you thoughtfully priced it as.
Many know this as the hassle of a yard sale. Sometimes yard sales can be very profitable and families manage to get rid of things they don’t use anymore. Often times though yard sales can be tiring and the profit doesn't match the time put into organizing the event. This is why Facebook yard sales have become so appealing.
Erin Angiolillo-Smith, the administrator for a Downingtown yard sale group says it’s “shopping from home.” She explained with most Facebook yard sales you take a picture of the item you want to sell, post it with an asking price on the site and you can essentially “forget about it” until you get a notification that someone is "interested."
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You can even post the items to Facebook from your smartphone.
As a stay-at-home mom this allows her as well as other women and men to make money on the side without the stress that comes with a traditional yard sale.
Since Smith took over the site last winter there has been significant growth. When she first joined there were around 3,000 members. Now, there are nearly 11,000 members and the site gets between 75 to 100 new requests each day that she and the other site administrator screen on a regular basis.
Some Facebook users that frequent these sites have even turned the online groups into a hobby by buying any old furniture pieces that are posted, fixing them up and then re-selling them on the site.
Other popular items include baby toys and kids’ clothes, some sites even being strictly devoted to these kinds of products.
Tim Sweeney, a site administrator of a Lansdale yard sale group on the other hand was tired of seeing all the baby clothes and strollers posted on other groups.
In May he created a site for men’s items only and today the group has more than 650 members.
Sweeney says women are allowed to be members of the group too but all the items posted have to be considered “manly.”
“If you post high heels we’re going to take it off.”
People will often sell fishing equipment, cars and engines of any kind.
Members of this site as well as other yard sale groups can also post “ISO” which means that they are “in search of” something whether it be a lawn mower or a picnic table. Potential buyers can now specify what they’re looking for and wait to see if anyone is willing to sell.
People can belong to multiple yard sale groups but it’s important to keep in mind that most are based on location. Most of the sites have the location right in the group name being either a town or encompassing multiple counties.
It’s helpful to read a site’s description before requesting to join. This way you can be clear on how exchanges are coordinated. In most groups the buyer assumes the responsibility of picking up the item they are purchasing.
Many times the seller may agree to leave the item on their porch called a “PPU” or “porch pick-up” and determine a spot such as under the doormat to leave the payment.
These details though are usually kept private through Facebook message.
Sometimes the seller will agree to meet the buyer half-way at a shopping center parking lot or similar location.
It’s rare for a seller to be willing to drop off the item they are selling to the buyer’s house. However, quite a few members of the yard sale group “People Helping People” do just that.
What makes this site truly unique is that members only post items they are willing to donate to people in need.
Marlo Davis started the group with the motto that “we can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone.”
She admitted the generosity of others has amazed her.
“It’s not me, it’s them.”
Davis said the site has new members every day and she’s constantly answering Facebook messages and requests with the help of two other administrators.
She explained that this site is a lot different than donating to Good Will because people get to see the individual that they are helping and the site like many other yard sale sites has become a community of people.
To ensure people are getting some kind of help that they need one of the site rules is that members are only allowed to claim one free item per day.
"People Helping People" also takes advantage of “ISO” posts and Davis said most people are able to find what they need. One young woman was able to get free dishes for her new apartment.
Now the site is going one step further by organizing challenges to help as many people as possible.
The "Grocery Challenge" posted on the site was prompted because many members were posting “ISOs” for food items.
Some are willing to bring families in need to the grocery store and help them pay for meals.
Others are doing what is being done on all yard sale sites by looking at what you have but don’t use and thinking that maybe someone else would use, want or need this more.
Whether you belong to one of these groups or a similar one know that it’s best practice to use common courtesy.
Occasionally sales fall through or someone that commented on a post showing initial interest may change their mind.
One safeguard against this is that other people who are interested in the item will comment "next" signifying that they are "next in line" if the sale doesn't go through.
The administrators themselves also have the ability to remove people from the group if they see a recurring pattern with certain group members.
All of the administrators are volunteers and the only profit they make is if they post their own item to sell. The rules they put in place are to ensure a comfortable and safe group environment for everyone.
If there's an item you want to sell or a whole closet worth of things you no longer use, there's no need to wait for the annual community yard sale, all you have to do is log onto Facebook.