Neighborhoods using Facebook more and more as a virtual yard sale

Posted at 8:00 AM, Sep 18, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Liberty Township native Sarah Laschinger is headed to Disney World -- thanks to selling unwanted items on Facebook’s underground marketplace. 

Deals once only available at garage sales are now a smartphone click and a few miles away. Area residents are paying 10 to 30 percent of retail prices through these closed regional buy/sell/trade Facebook groups. 

A $100 IKEA lamp?

Just $10 on Butler County Buy Sell Trade Online Yardsale

A lime green iPod Shuffle?

Just $25 on Deer Park/Kenwood/Madeira/Montgomery/Loveland OH Online Yard Sale.

Each neighborhood has “closed” Facebook groups where members can post items for sale from clothes and toys to furniture and vehicles. Some groups require a friend to add new members, while others have administrators to approve requests. Buyers will comment “interested,” and sellers will send a private message to schedule a pick up.

Unlike Craigslist, most local groups require sales to take place only in that neighborhood, so participants only have to drive a few minutes, not across town. Moms of Monroe and Ladies of Liberty (Township) administrator, Stacey Hodgeman, started her own groups for this reason. 

“I wanted something local. I thought, ‘I will invite friends and let it spread to a community thing,’” Hodgeman said. “I got so excited when Moms of Monroe got to 100 members. Now, there’s over 4,100 members.”

Thousands of area residents are involved, from 1,627 in Hamilton, Fairfield TWP Buy, Sell or Trade to more than 30,000 members in Butler County’s Best Yard Sale. More members means a wider audience if you are selling, but can also mean more to sort through as a buyer.

Nothing is too small to list, such as a $2 spatula. Those $2 sales can add up to nothing less than a Disney Vacation, as Laschinger, discovered.

“You save an incredible amount of money,” Laschinger said.

She saved $2,394.11 to be exact. That money will pay her family of five’s Disney trip in January.

Aside from selling, she purchased $5 children’s soccer cleats, compared to the same ones at Once Upon a Child for $10. But for Laschinger it’s less about the money, and more about a lesson in savings for her three children.

“Instead of throwing something out, the kids say, ‘Let’s put it in our Disney fund.’ It’s teaching them about the rewards of saving money,” she said.

To actually purchase the item, buyers and sellers can meet in a public place or do a “porch pick up.” The seller sets the item out in a designated place, usually a plastic bin or bag on the porch, and the buyer leaves money. It’s the honor system at its finest, as Hodgeman has had only two incidents of stealing in four years. Laschinger finds porch pickups more convenient.

Hodgeman said there’s more to it than buying and selling.

“It’s grown into a community thing. People ask about recommendations for doctors. They say strep’s going around school. We have helped fundraise for sick kids with cancer,” Hodgeman said.

Her group rallied around a teen mom that gave birth, with people collecting and donating items to her.

Watch 9 on Your Side at 11 p.m. Sunday as John Matarese tells you more about how to make the most money selling items on Facebook.