Saturday, April 16, 2011

Casual reCommerce Series: "Virtual Yard Sale" Mini-Review

Welcome to Casual reCommerce, a series of posts on selling your stuff online. I've previously posted an Introduction to Selling your Stuff Online and each day this past week, a little more detail about eBay, Amazon Seller Services, AbundaTrade, craigslist. Today I'm posting a mini-review of a "virtual" or "online" yard sale, the last of the mini-reviews.

Artsy yard sale sign
Photo by /\ \/\/ /\, some rights reserved

Virtual/Online Yard Sale

Not really a service per se, a "virtual" or "online" yard sale is the concept of using free online tools and technology to promote and facilitate selling your stuff out of your house like an old school yard or garage sale. People still come to your house either by appointment or during a scheduled time like a regular yard sale and (hopefully) give you cash for your stuff. You use web-publishing tools (such as Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, etc) to have your "inventory" visible online. You also promote your sale using flyers on bulletin boards, craigslist posts, and by letting your social network know (via Twitter, Facebook, etc).  No yard necessary!

Fees/Cost: Low

  • Whatever you want or need to spend on yard sale promotion supplies (like printing flyers, posters, etc)

Complexity: High

  • Requires decent photos
  • Must have some comfort with "publishing" on the web
  • Flyer creation and distribution
  • Finding and using free community advertising tools (classifieds, bulletin boards, etc)
  • You need to be cool with folks coming to your house (by appointment, or during certain hours)

Reliability/Feedback: Medium

  • Fewer "lowball" offers than other in-person or Craigslist-only selling methods
  • Cash in hand without fees
  • Due to it's dependence on Craigslist for visibility, you may encounter some "CL Flakiness"

Shipping: Variable

  • None if you do local pickup only...Or offer shipping on your terms
  • Easy to use the online shipping tools of UPS, USPS and FedEx if you weigh your packages and type in the addresses


  • Free
  • Go at your own pace
  • Don't need a yard or a garage or even a stoop


  • Limited audience
  • Success tied to popularity/usage of Craigslist, your social network and flyer visibility.

Best for...

  • Folks comfortable with technology & blogging tools
  • Free community-based selling of clothing, household items, furniture & books
  • Turning a large household de-cluttering project into cash....over time or quickly with a "physical world" component
  • College towns

See how I compare "virtual yard sales" to my other favorite selling methods in the series Introduction.  I've had some successes and enjoyment doing it this way, but it felt too time intensive for a small town like Santa Fe.

What do you think?  Have you tried having a virtual yard sale?  What did you like most about it?

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