Maybe you’ve thought of cleaning your storage space or releasing your shelves of old books and materials by having a garage sale. However, it might not be feasible, or friendly on the back, to host a garage sale at home. Or in my case, when you live in an apartment, there is no yard or area to do the hosting. Not a problem! There are groups across the country, hosting both virtual and in person yard and garage sales that you can be a part of. You can even have one from the comfort of your home or apartment using your computer. Before you rush off to sell your goods, you need to learn these important steps, if you are going to be successful: 1) How to find garage sale/yard sale groups on Facebook. 2) The Rules of The Road. 3) Lingo. Once you have learned steps 1-3, you should be ready to make some extra money this summer!
Step 1: Finding Groups On Facebook To Sell Your Goods
This part is easy! You can go to your Facebook page and in the search menu, type in garage sales/yard sales + your county and presto! This will bring you to various groups. Check them out, find the one you like and click join. If it is a closed group, you will need to get approved by an administrator or get invited to join by someone you know. You can also go to the “find new groups” title in your Groups menu, click on it and then search through what comes up. You can also check out sites like Varage Sale, and GarageSaleHomePage.com. Pretty simple! Now, if you become part of a group and want to stay there a while, you will need to know the proper etiquette.
Step 2: Understanding the 9 Rules of the Road
1) Make sure you are allowed to sell your items in the group you found. There are not only the commonly restricted items, such as weapons or hazardous material, but some groups place limits according to how far of a driving distance it might take to make an exchange. After all, most of that money earned will then be lost on gas.
2) Read all of the instructions in a pinned post at the top of the page. Be courteous and limit conversation only to what is necessary and relevant to the sale. Don’t Forget Your Manners!
3) Most groups do not allow advertising of any kind unless it is related to the items in your garage sale or block party. For example, if you sell cosmetics for commission, you probably won’t be allowed to post about it.
4) Beware of any reported or dangerous individuals that have given participants in the group issues with sales. Most of the time, a moderator will remove them, but beware of scams!
5) Be prompt with returning messages. Make it clear that you will only receive cash, unless you’ve agreed to barter.
6) Meet at a convenient, but public location, such as malls during the day or a police station at night. Police stations are becoming more aware of online sales and the potential dangers of in person exchanges, and encourage people to perform exchanges near them, as mentioned in this Chicago Tribune article regarding Craigslist sales. This Texas Councilman is also calling for “safe exchange zones.”
7) Let someone know when you are out making the sale. Note: Some people opt to leave an item in a mailbox, where the buyer can then insert money, take the item, and then the seller will claim the money later. This is obviously a risky choice, as some sellers don’t collect enough money or are duped entirely.
8) If there are any problems with the sale, contact the buyer about the issue. If not resolved, report them to the group administrator, and if there is criminality involved, contact local law enforcement.
9) Report back to the group when one of your items is available for sale again, has a change of price, or if it was sold.
Now you know the rules, but to really be successful with your sales you need to understand the lingo.
Commonly Used Lingo
BUMP: “Bring up my post” means after someone posts an item for sale, and many other items are posted on the Facebook page, inserting a comment into the comment section will bring the post higher in the feed. But caution, you may only be able to “bump” your post only a select number of times to allow others’ items to be seen on the page.
INTERESTED: Means someone has first dibs on an item. (As opposed to a tagged person or follower of a post.) If you are interested in telling your friend Sandra about a great-looking kitchen table set, you may tag her name in the post, but unless she writes that she is “interested,” she might not be first in line for it. If an “interested” party tags the seller’s name in the post, to get their attention, they may have a question or be willing to make an offer.
PASS: Someone changed their mind and is passing up on an item.
NEXT: Next in line after the first interested person.
CROSS-POSTED: When an item is up for sale and posted in various groups either by county, town, demographic or interest.
ISO: Abbreviation for a person who is “in search of” an item.
FSPU: For sale, but a pick up from the location is required.
FF: Item is for free (see you can get some things without charge!)
NIB: Item is new in the box
NWT/NWOT: New with or without tags
PPU: Pending pickup
EUC: Excellent condition
GUC: Gently used condition
For more information about online garage sale lingo visit Varage Sale.
Teachers, do you sell items online to make a few extra dollars during the spring and summer? If not, do you think you will after reading this? Tell us at TeacherCents.
Melissa Heule, Freelance Writer