Yes, you can buy and sell garage sale style all year round

The Online Garage Sale

by Hannah Stevens


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Every weekend garage sale bargain hunters search for those precious few items that will match their needs. The art of the garage sale is all about the jewel hidden among the less than useful castoffs. It's like that old saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." The key to that saying and to a successful garage sale encounter is matching the perfect buyer with that perfect, deeply-discounted item.

The problem is that for every garage sale find, there is much sifting and sorting to be done. A day of garage sales may only amount to a few bargains and maybe none of them are what you had been hoping to find. To be fair, some people enjoy the search. There is a mysterious element in the thrill of the hunt. On the other hand, some people might prefer a more direct way to link them to that pre-used item they need. For those of us who fall into the latter group and are content to get our thrills elsewhere, the Internet might just be our friend once again.

You probably already know that there are many sites aimed at connecting buyers and sellers. What you might not realize, however, is that these sites are in such frequent use that there is a wide (and widening) selection of goods just a click away. These sites are the garage sales of the online world. Hotspots like Craigslist or eBay allow buyers to search for the specific items they need, browse pictures, and ask questions of the sellers. As a perk, some sites have a link to free items as well. Online buyers can even narrow the search to sellers in the area and, if necessary, arrange to do business out of the garage (just for old time's sake).

Less well-known sites narrow the population of buyers and sellers. Sites like MyKidsCloset.com are frequented by parents looking to sell and buy kids stuff. On these sites, one can find most everything a kid needs, including bikes, DVDs, sporting equipment and even pet supplies. Some other sites that allow you to buy and sell are Blujay.com and PowerSellersUnite.com. Depending on the site, it may be difficult to find a seller in your area. Even so, the discounts often make the shipping cost worth it. The online world of buying and selling may not replace the yearly ritual of searching through our neighbors' garages, but it can definitely add to the bargain hunt.

The next step after buying in this online world is selling a thing or two. Remember that other people may treasure what you no longer need in the same way you treasure their old items. Posting items for sale online is not as scary as it may seem. Most sites have easy to follow instructions even for the technically challenged. A helpful tip in getting people to look at your item is to add pictures and a detailed description to your ad. Also, be sure to let buyers know how you would like to be contacted. Look out for scams, follow the "too good to be true rule," and only share information you are comfortable with sharing. Finally, get ready to be a savvy online seller.

We've been hearing how our world is becoming more and more connected. The good news is a more connected world could mean big savings, both in time and money. Undoubtedly, there are those who could spend many hours searching the Web for these online bargains. However, if it's just that one or maybe two things you need, a computer may help you get to it faster than a day of garage sales might. A final perk is the obvious acknowledgement that the computer garage sale is not subject to changes in the weather. To veterans of the traditional garage sale, give the online world a try. You might just find what you've been looking for.

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