Online Garage Sale / Online Yard Sale FAQ! Earn Money While Decluttering Your Home!
Make a new year’s resolution to declutter your home? Ever wonder how to use an online garage sale site like Craigslist or Facebook yard sales to earn some $$ as you’re organizing? Well, you’re in the right place because that’s something I’ve done for years, and I’d love to share all the ins/outs, tips and tricks I’ve learned so that you can get started, too.
I grew up in a home that had lots of tchotchkes. There were figurines on the countertops. Paperweights. Collections of dessert plates. Collections of spoons. Collections of dust bunnies hanging out with the collections of spoons and dessert plates. There was stuff everywhere.
Now mind you, I loved my childhood home. Still do. And that dust bunny comment is in actuality quite the fib. Somehow, my mom managed to keep everything completely neat, tidy, and dust-free despite the fact that every available surface was inhabited by this, that and the other.
But the thing is, I’m NOT as neat and tidy as my mom. Not by a loooooooooonng¹² shot. So I need to quell any inherited urges to clutter-fy. I need to de-clutter. And sometimes, that can be hard.
But you know what helps?
cold. hard. cash.
Yep. Before the advent of Craigslist and yard sale groups on Facebook, my drawers were much more cluttered. My garage was much more crowded. But nowadays, I find it pretty darn easy to punt just about ANYTHING out of the house, because there’s a little reward in it.
A while back, I wrote up a post about the mechanics of how to buy and sell using Facebook yard sale sites. So if you want the down and dirty details, head here.
And for our newsletter subscribers, we have a simple, downloadable glossary of all the important lingo and acronyms that are used to sell and buy on Facebook yard sales and Craigslist. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so now! It’s free!! Just click the image below:
Online Yard Sale/Online Garage Sale FAQ: tips & tricks for using Facebook yard sales and Craigslist to declutter & earn money:
Having used both Craigslist and Facebook yard sale groups to declutter my home for years at this point, here are my favorite tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
1. Try decluttering your home several times annually, on a regular schedule.
In our home, we organize and declutter several times each year. For us, it works best at the following times:
- while taking down all the Christmas decorations at the beginning of a new year
- in the spring, around spring break/Easter vacation
- in the summer, prior to the beginning of a new school year.
Being in the habit of organizing and decluttering at these designated times of the year generally helps us with the execution. Sometimes I have to drag myself into these projects kicking and screaming, but generally, I’ll still get it done eventually.
2. Declutter prior to any large-scale home DIY, renovation or redecorating project.
My favorite time to work on decluttering and selling things off is right before we tackle a renovation or redecorating project. Why? Because of that beast we homeowners have to slay called the B-U-D-G-E-T.
By selling off items that we won’t be using post-renovation, I’m able to impact the project budget in a positive way. So if I run a little over on my new lighting budget, selling off the old curtains may be able to keep my budget on track.
3. Sell seasonal items one month before the season arrives.
The sales cycle on Facebook yard sales and Craigslist runs about a month or more ahead of the calendar year. So don’t post your Christmas items on December 5, or you will have already missed the boat.
We’ve put together a calendar for the ideal time period for selling various household items throughout the year. It’s part of the guide that’s available free to our subscribers. It will highlight each month, and the items that will sell easiest, and for the most profit during that time of year:
4. In rural areas, Facebook yard sales are > Craigslist.
Having lived in urban areas most of my life, I was accustomed to selling mostly via Craigslist. In urban areas, there are tons and tons of Craigslist users, so it’s easy to find buyers for anything and everything. Beyond that, most things you want to purchase can be found close to home as there’s a great volume of items being bought and sold daily.
But when we moved to a rural area several years ago, finding buyers via Craigslist, or finding accessible items to purchase became much more difficult. Thankfully, a friend turned me onto a local Facebook yard sale site, which I’ve been using ever since.
Again, the meat and potatoes post about how to use Facebook yard sale sites can be found here. But here are the basics. Search for a local group on Facebook using the search bar as seen below. The search bar is located in the upper left corner of the screen when you have Facebook open.
Once you type in the name of your town, typically a slew of applicable groups will pop up. Pick a couple and join them. Many of the groups are “public” meaning ANYONE can join, buy and sell. Usually public groups are very large…great to maximize the opportunity to sell.
However, the downside of public groups, at least to me, is that if you post something for sale, ALL your friends and family on FB will be able to see what you’re trying to sell. May not be a big thing to you, but I kind of found those groups awkward, so I tend to shy away from public groups and participate mostly in “closed” or “secret” groups.
Selling on an online garage sale via Facebook is easy once you’ve done it once or twice. Below you’ll see the basic format of Facebook yard sale posts.
And here is how the posting template looks on Craigslist.
5. Brands bring buyers.
While you’re going through the process of decluttering, keep in mind that items which carry a brand name draw more buyers on an online garage sale like Craigslist and Facebook yard sales. Always mention the brand name when crafting the title and description for your item.
I sell mostly home goods and furniture, and I’ve noticed that stores like Ikea, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Crate and Barrel, Ethan Allen, Restoration Hardware, West Elm, and Anthropologie always draw buyers. So if you’re item carries a brand name, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you forget to mention that.
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6. Traditional items sell better than super trendy ones.
This part of selling always cracks me up. It tends to be that whatever it is I’m selling that I like the best always is the item that is least likely to sell at an online garage sale.
Why? I tend to love things that aren’t necessarily favored or embraced by the masses. If you are someone who bucks trends, or is a bit trend forward (or backward), then you’ll likely find the same.
People love the things that were in magazines five years ago. Long after Joanna Gaines has decided to turn her nose up at shiplap, anything with shiplap will still be moving and selling on yard sale sites faster than gossip in a junior high locker room.
7. Keep track of online garage sale earnings.
Don’t forget to take note of how much you’re earning! I keep a simple Excel spreadsheet on what I’ve sold through Craigslist and Facebook yard sales. $15 here and $25 there can add up!
It’s gratifying to see your home being decluttered and motivating to see what kind of an impact you’re on your budget with little sales here and there.
And there you have it! You’re off to the races. Or to the online garage sale, rather. Best of luck, and let me know how it goes. Hope you’ll be able to declutter your home a little easier now with a bit of monetary motivation.
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Joanne Anderson says
Are you nervous about strangers knowing where you live or just coming to your house? Obviously I’d have them come when my husband is home but then they know where you live. Any suggestions?
Gosh Joanne, I think that’s such a personal decision and obviously very much depends upon your community, etc. I always try to get a sense of the person a bit through our online interaction prior to seeing up a time to exchange the item. I can honestly say I’ve never felt concerned, but I know that many people would never feel comfortable with doing things this way.