Facebook yard sales

July 24, 2013

All you have to do is go to Facebook

From a toy box to suede boots for $25 to a Bissell cleaner for almost half off - everywhere you look, you'll see evidence of Meredith Trotter's newest shopping obsession.

"So I bought these four Franklin books for $5 for all four, and one is normally $5," she said.

Trotter shops a Facebook yard sale called the Whitemarsh Area Treasure Chest.

"I like it a lot better than something like craigslist because on this we actually have friends in common," she said.

And many of the items are brand new! Little Matthew scored some cool boots he says he loves "because they light up!"

Other finds? A Longchamp tote for half off, Lily Pulitzer shoes for 75 percent off and an Ann Taylor dress for just $6!

Jen Olsen is one of the founders of the Whitemarsh Area Treasure Chest. She and her neighbors, Jess Amici and Lauren Gordon, call it hyper-local.

"It means instead of craigslist, where you'd have to go far to get things, it's right around the corner," said Amici. "And we have women only. Men are not allowed to be on the site to keep it safer."

And the site is closed. You have to request to be a member or be invited.

"We only approve people that either know people in the group or were invited by people in the group," said Gordon.

The neighbors launched this online yard sale six months ago, and it now has more than 1500 members!

And members don't just buy. They can post things to sell, right from their smartphone, in seconds

Trotter says it's easy money.

"So I'm definitely hooked on it," she said. "It's just a great way to clean out your house. You'll get rid of things that just sit around."

Amici has made about $2,000 so far.

"I have a stash that I keep in a wallet," she said. "And I forgot my Mac number because I haven't been there in six months."

But no recalled products, expired car seats, or counterfeit merchandise. Meeting details are handled offline or by private message.

With all these safeguards in place, Facebook yard sales are growing in popularity, popping up in neighborhoods all over the Delaware Valley.

"We've had a lot of people tell us it makes it feel like a small town," said Gordon.

"I'm in the grocery store and I'm like, 'Hey, I bought a bike off of you,'" said Olsen.

One word of warning: whether you are buying or selling, these Facebook yard sales are addictive.

For more, check out the links on my Facebook page.

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