Facebook: The new way to garage sale in Chicago

Every year in the month of May, I spend an entire weekend wheeling and dealing my “treasures” away at the neighborhood garage sale. I have a system down perfectly: I don’t price anything individually and instead use PowerPoint slides that I tape to the outside of carefully organized plastic bins. This allows me the ability to change the prices as the sales goes on in order to minimize the amount of stuff that doesn’t sell.

Most of the items that I have are kid related: clothes, toys and accessories that they have outgrown or moved on from. There is the occasional household knick-knack, but most of my items have centered around my girls things. I’ve been hosting a garage sale for so long that I have repeat customers every year; those moms that know I have the good stuff.

I’m like the Heisenberg of children’s loot on the Garage Sale circuit. #BreakingBadReference

This year, with my family’s move getting closer and closer, and the amount of time that I have to keep myself on track shrinking rapidly, I contemplated what to do about my annual garage sale. I had plenty of children’s stuff to sell this year, but I also had a TON of furniture that wouldn’t be coming with us and I needed to find it a new home.

Welcome to Jen’s List. It’s like Craigslist without the creepers.

I carefully took pictures of all the big items that I was interested in selling, making sure that the lighting and angles were at their most flattering (my blogging skills coming in handy here). Making sure to include measurements for each item and pricing things fairly, I started posting on Facebook.

And things started selling.

I encouraged my friends to share anything they liked, but didn’t have a need for, in the hopes that maybe someone in THEIR network was interested. After the first two days, I’d sold about 1/3 of what I listed. Friends were making requests. People were telling me that they created notifications of my status updates so they could see what I was posting first. It was a little crazy.

The children’s items I put into groups and sold them as lots. All games went in one group; Disney princess items went in to another. I am thrilled so far with the results – over half of the items I’ve listed, including large ticket furniture items – have sold already. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a “regular” garage sale again!

Here are a few tips if you are interested in holding your own Facebook garage sale:

1. Take great pictures!

2. Make sure to include as much detail about the item as you can i.e., measurements, color, style,

when and where it was originally purchased, etc.

3. Include a picture or link of where the same or comparable item is available now with it’s current price.

4. Use app like PhotoGrid to make collages of same items and offer a discount on groups.

5. Put lots of similar items together to create a big group. You can’t sell something for $.25 on


6. Having trouble moving a few items? Throw a sale on specific items for a designated period of time.

7. Use PayPal for credit card purchases and indicate All Sales Final on the transaction. Better

yet, use their Create An Invoice service (it’s free) and have the buyer sign-off so there is no confusion.

8. Don’t accept personal checks unless it is from someone you know. Very well.

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