Come on garage sale, kiddo needs a new pair of rain boots! Spring is here, and with that comes a slew of garage sales. Rather than spending a good chunk of the season cruising my town for an elusive pair of practically new Wellies, I'll be hitting up my local Facebook garage sales sites.
What's a Facebook garage sale?
"Craigslist and eBay have long offered online marketplaces for people to hawk their junk. But some expert garage salers have found a more comfortable option in the many Facebook groups that recently began spreading across the massive social network. These group pages, some of which number in thousands of members, resemble online neighborhoods where friends bump into friends in search of sought-after goods. From New Prague to Andover to Alexandria, they sell everything from furniture to children’s toys." – Katie Humphrey, StarTribune.com
Never joined your local FB garage sale site? Don't worry, I'll give you the lowdown on how to find the best stuff and stay safe.
I've scored some great deals, including a mint condition Tiana costume from the Disney Store for $10, pristine Hunter rain boots for $15, a Hello Kitty bicycle for $12, and a sand and water table with sand, cover, and toys for $5. Amazing, right?!? OK, here's how I nabbed these deals.
1. Respond Quickly – If you want it, claim it! This can be as simple as typing "interested" in the comments of the item's picture. The seller is obligated to sell to the first person in the queue. Not first in line? Don’t worry. I've seen sales fall through for all kinds of reasons. The seller will continue to work through the line until the item is sold.
2. Ask Questions – If you have a question, call dibs to secure your spot in line, then fire away. I recently bought several Tiana/Princess and the Frog items for the girls. I was sure to ask the seller if the DVD had any scratches or performance issues after nabbing the top spot in line. She assured me that it was in perfect condition. Her two girls had simply outgrown their princess phase.
3. Search for It – A lot of times, you may be on the prowl for something specific. Create an In Search Of (ISO) post. To nab that Disney Store costume for kiddo, I posted: "ISO: Princess Tiana costume size 4T. Could potentially make a 5T work." Within an hour, I had three responses. The costume was the highlight of my daughter's birthday.
4. Stay Safe – Even though you've likely seen a headshot of the seller from their profile, you still don't really know them from a can of paint. Take precautions to stay safe.
Meet in public. In our area, it’s pretty typical to arrange to meet at Target or the YMCA for smaller items like clothes, books, and movies. I like to meet inside the establishments, but parking lot meet-ups are common, too.
Don't go inside. You'll probably have to go to the seller's house to pick up larger furniture pieces and play sets. The seller should have the item in the driveway for you to inspect and load into your car.
Travel in numbers. I often go with my husband to pick up items from a seller's home. I figure I can distract them while he delivers a few swift Judo chops to any sellers who turn into assailants.
If you go solo, let someone know where you’re going. Be sure to text a friend with the seller’s address and your meeting time before you go.
5. Go Retro – If all of this virtual buying is a little too trendy for your tastes, you can still take advantage of your local sale site's deals. Lots of sellers use the site to announce their single, multi-family, or neighborhood sale, so you can still hit the pavement and bargain hunt the old fashioned way.
What are you waiting for? Start your digital deal dash!
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