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.
How to give stuff away or get stuff for free
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. You can get more information here. 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, its been an invaluable way to get rid of outgrown toys.
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.
Buying and selling
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.
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.
One more 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.
While any of these options can be used on a smartphone, there’s also a free app devoted to buying and selling locally. Close5 will let you post items for sale as well as see what people in your area are selling. Like the others, this may or may not be in your town, but you can request to start one.
You can see there’s plenty of ways to get stuff cheap and get rid of old stuff, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some books and holiday dishes to sell.