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Ways to Have a Yard Sale Online

Ways to Have a Yard Sale Online

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As a child growing up it was common for my parents to have a yard sale that encompassed our entire driveway leading all the way up to our interior garage door. While some neighborhoods still schedule times throughout the year to conduct such events, many find that HOAs and city codes limit their ability to sell Knick knacks and used items. Even more so there are limitations on how advertise them. Luckily, the internet has come to the rescue. This article sheds light on a few very effective ways to sell your items online. Some options are free, some have strengths in communicating with prospective buyers, and some relish in their outright simplicity. We will keep this page updated as we review new options over time.

1. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace

Summary: At Facebook Marketplace you can pretty much buy and sell anything that you can think of. From houses and cars to pens and printer paper. Facebook Marketplace takes advantage of knowing your location, thanks to your profile, and smartly sorts results in a way that combines the relevance of an item with your search term with the driving distance. It is possible to find listings that will ship their goods as well.

Cost: An account with Facebook… in other words it will cost you whatever data you may have on your Facebook account. From another vantage point you could say it costs your anonymity but you gain some level of safety by ensuring that both parties are being watched by Big Brother.

 What We Like:

  1. You can pay or receive funds for items through a linked bank account or credit card. Funds show up almost instantly to your checking account making the exchange easy and safe.
  2. As a seller, items can sell in a matter of minutes if priced to move. Often, competition among buyers can lead to higher offers than the list price.
  3. Facebook offers an easy way to communicate with people that limits what both parties can see. In essence, once the transaction is over, both parties will not have anything that is easily identifiable to the other person unless it was handed over willingly in the chat (e.g. phone number, home address, bank or card information, email address). 

What We Don’t Like:

  1. As a buyer, it appears that items priced at a great value are sold nearly immediately. Casual browsing of what is available will often lead to only seeing what items that were ‘left over’ after all the good deals were snatched up.
  2. Beware of scammers. Even as a seller, folks may try to chat and ask for your phone number (fraudster tell-tale sign). Once they get a hold of it get ready for some type of scam to come your way.

2. Ebay

Ebay Homepage

Summary: By this point, pretty much everyone has heard of eBay. Founded in 1995, this “Dot Com” company not only survived the 1990’s but has continued to refine and update how it does business. Decades ago (man, I feel old), eBay was known for its auctions. Users would place some type of collectible on the site for a set amount of time and let others bid the price up until the auction was over. Although you can still do this on eBay, it is no longer the only game in town.

Over the years, manufacturers across the world and in particular China have used eBay to move goods cheaply and effectively. Business supplies, t-shirts, dolls, and yes even cars can be bought and sold legally on eBay. If you ever find a silhouette of Jesus on your tortilla chip then this is the place to sell it.

Cost: Complicated. Sellers will have to think hard about the fees prior to placing anything for sale. There are insertion fees, final value fees, fees for all types of upgrades and these fees all differ based on the category of the item you are trying to sell. There can be a cost for listing an item even if you don’t sell it. If you would like more information on fees then this link will spell it out for you: Ebay Fees

What We Like:

  1. Ebay is well known and highly respected for ensuring that transactions go as expected. Sellers with high ratings had to earn those ratings and thus are usually very trust worthy to not only ensure that what they are selling is the expected item, but to right any wrongs (perceived or otherwise) to ensure they keep their ratings high.
  2. Most items are sold with a shipping option. This allows buyers to comfortably shop from home without any expectation of having to meet someone they don’t know at a location that they may not be comfortable with.

What We Don’t Like: 

  1. As a new seller it may be difficult to have the ratings necessary to convince buyers that your products are worth their time. Even simple disagreements with a buyer early on may end your time as a seller on eBay.
  2. Fees are complicated and add up quickly. If you are trying to sell several items it may be difficult to determine how much you are actually paying for the service.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist Homepage

And then there was Craig’s List. This website is basically what would happen if anyone could post anything for sale on the internet without any type of restrictions. Everything from cars to ‘escorts’ can be found on Craig’s List. Craig’s list is routinely used for posting jobs of all types, from professional to less than high brow. Local instances of the site are used to separate buyers and sellers from different geographical areas. The site is easily searchable and pretty much ‘anything goes,’ is a term that applies to all aspects of listing an item. Listings are very simple with a gallery of images and plain text for descriptions allowing for users to focus exclusively on the items for sale.

Cost: Free. There are exceptions for listings that deal with cars or job postings but for standard yard sale items this doesn’t apply. For more details: Craig’s List Fees

What We Like:

  1. It’s simple! No need to add any flash to your post. Add a few pictures and describe what you have to sell and that’s it. Fee structure is uncomplicated since generally they are free.
  2. As a buyer, it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for in a specific geographical location.

What We Don’t Like:

  1. Communication between seller and buyer can be a bit complicated since it may be necessary to exchange a phone number when trying to meet each other in person.
  2. The option for having things shipped is limited. When meeting buyers and sellers in person things can go south quickly if you don’t screen listings with a bit of common sense.


At the end of the day, suffice it to say that there are numerous options to sell your unwanted belongings online. There are ways to sell absolutely everything under the sun with varying levels of expense or physical exposure between the buyers and sellers. One thing to keep in mind is that safety of both parties should be exercised and respected. Only do what you are comfortable with and limit the details of the discussion to items that are absolutely necessary. If its not necessary to give out your phone number then don’t. Additionally, if the item is small enough, it should be handed over in a location that is well lit in a safe part of town. Never compromise safety for the chance to get a deal that may be too good to be true.


Guy Money

As a formally trained Data Scientist I find excitement in writing about Personal Finance and how to view it through a lens filtered by data. I am excited about helping others build financial moats while at the same time helping to make the world a more livable and friendly place.

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