Business

Online yard sales, beyond Craigslist

POSTED BY
Heidi McIndoo, MS, RD, LDN

It’s always fun to get new stuff, and even better if you can get what you need for free or at bargain-basement prices. Personally, I also like getting rid of stuff I no longer need. I find I’m more productive and more relaxed in a less-cluttered environment, but I hate creating more garbage. The ideal situation is giving what I no longer need to someone else who can use it. The only thing better is if I can sell it to someone who can use it.

Fortunately, in this world of online everything, plenty of opportunities exist to give, sell, get and buy all kinds of items. The things I’ve seen sold/bought or given/received include furniture, toys, clothes, appliances, books, DVDs, sporting goods, electronics and shoes.

If you’re stuck in the days of Craigslist, it’s time to embrace the modern world of online yard sales and swap sites. Discover the many ways you can buy and sell all kinds of items in your local community or beyond. There are also sites for people who want to give things away for free!

How to give stuff away or get stuff for free

Freecycle.org

Freecycle.org is a great resource started by people interested in keeping stuff out of landfills. There are more than 5,000 groups (usually community-based) around the world. Chances are there are one or more groups near you. I belong to the one for my town as well as two nearby communities. This gives me more opportunities to get things for free and give stuff away. As a mom of two young kids, it’s been an invaluable way to get rid of outgrown toys. 

Before you jump into the world of Freecycle, though, brush up on these rules of Freecycle etiquette.

Email loops

Another resource to get and give away free items as well as buy and sell stuff cheap is town email loops. My town has a neighborhood loop that is free to join. Users not only post when they have goods to give away or sell, but they also ask about and recommend new restaurants, local businesses and more. These groups may be run through your town hall or by a private person or group. Try asking around to see if your town has one or check Nextdoor.com. If not, you may want to consider starting one, if you’re tech savvy.

Buy Nothing Facebook groups

For hyper-local swapping and community building, look on Facebook for a local Buy Nothing group. You can only join one, based on your exact home location. The goal of the Buy Nothing Project is to reduce waste and excess consumerism, while creating a bond within the neighborhood as people help each other out by gifting items for free. Some also have traveling boxes for clothes, books, jewelry, puzzles and the like where neighbors borrow from the boxes and add in their own items or return previous loans. Who knows, you might even make a new friend through the transactions?

How to buy and sell online

Facebook and Facebook Marketplace

When it come to buying and selling, there are a number of options. My current favorite is Facebook. Many communities nationwide have Facebook yard sale pages. One easy way to find local ones is to do an online search for “Facebook yard sale” or “Facebook Buy and Sell” with your town’s name. When I tried, I found eight on just the first page of results. In my town, there are two pages, one for just kids’ stuff and the other for everything else. These are closed groups that you need to request to join. I believe that helps keep the posts real and clear of clutter and junk. 

You can also use one of Facebook’s most popular features, designed exactly for the purpose of shopping and selling locally. Facebook Marketplace has made it easier than ever to use the social media platform to find hidden gems or sales from local businesses. Shop or sell clothes, electronics, furniture and even apartments. 

One of the best parts of these pages is that most people post pictures of their items so you can see what you’re getting. In addition, if you need something, you can post an “in search of” message. You never know what someone may have sitting in their garage, basement or closet. While I have no interest in going through the trouble of holding an actual yard sale, I have no problem snapping a picture and posting it. In fact, in the last two days I’ve sold four old toys that were in good shape and a set of brand-new baking pans I was given as a gift, but don’t need. I made $50, not too shabby for a few minutes of easy work.

Bookoo

Another local buy and sell option is Bookoo. This is basically an online yard sale in hundreds of towns around the world. You can join for free, and if you don’t have an option in your town, it’s easy to request one. Then, encourage your friends to do the same, so the folks at Bookoo see your town is really interested. This is especially big in the military community, but is expanding outside that group quickly.

Letgo and OfferUp

While any of these options can be used on a smartphone, there’s also free apps devoted to buying and selling locally. Letgo and OfferUp will let you post items for sale as well as see what people in your area are selling. 

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