Why You Totally Need to Join a Local Buy & Sell Group
I've always enjoyed hunting for bargains and have never one to hold onto things I would never use again, so until recently, Kijiji was my jam. From little finds like musical instruments and boots to bigger investments like cars and furniture, Kijiji served me as well as I thought possible for a free site. Of course, my experiences were much like anyone's who uses a fairly anonymous buy-and-sell like Kijiji or Craigslist: mixed. Sure, I sold and bought a few things but mostly there were a lot of crazy lowballers, a couple clear scam artists, a few people who wanted to trade me oddities for my items (Will I trade pimped-out rims and a car stereo for my motorcycle? Hm, sounds stolen! No thanks.), and a lot of no shows. Often, I'd wait ages for someone only to get a message two days later that they'd been in a car accident or other such catastrophic event. Either being a Kijiji buyer somehow puts one in a higher risk bracket or people sure have a go-big-or-go-home attitude when excuse-making. So when a neighbor told me about our local Buy & Sell on Facebook, I was quick to click the "request to join" button. And as it turns out, I found plenty of reasons to love a Facebook-based local Buy & Sell other than simply getting off Kijiji.
Neighborhoods tend to attract similar demographics in terms of families and style and luckily, people are in purge and collect modes at different times. When I joined my group, there was a new baby in the house so I was in the latter camp and one of the first things I picked up was this handy book sleeve shelf for $25.
All pages have rules for sellers and buyers to follow but the Buy & Sell for my neighborhood (Stonebridge) requires the seller to live in the neighborhood, and has a few other guidelines like deleting the post when the item is picked up and not commenting on your own item just to bump it up the list. As for buyers, it's first-comment wins, so there are often a lot of 'next's if it's a killer deal or in-demand item. That way, if the first commenter passes there are other potential buyers in line.
Stonebridge is home to a lot of young families, so there are often goodies destined for my babe, like the above dress. I love shopping of any sort but you know thrifting is my favourite.
I mean, where would one even find a happy face cardigan like this? It was definitely knit by its previous owner's grandma and I'm sure she'd be glad to know the cardi has found a new life in Petra's closet.
Yup, there have been a few really great buys. But it's not just getting a good price on gently used pieces that spurred me to write this post, it's that going to pick up my purchases got me out of the house onto streets I wouldn't have otherwise explored which has made me feel involved and connected in my community. And it's a great feeling.
When I started posting, it felt great to de-clutter and I quickly got into the habit of finding things I was no longer wearing and using to post something nearly every day. Because my taste is similar to a few ladies in the group, I got to know a few of them when they came to the door and it's nice to have a chat with these neighbors I wouldn't have otherwise met.
I found it's beneficial to be consistent in your photos' aesthetic because that way, even if you change your profile picture, that post is clearly yours. I found my neutral-coloured kitchen table has plenty of light around naptime (2pm), so I place my item on there, crawl up onto a chair, and snap a photo. If it's clothing, I'm always sure to include the brand, size, and condition in my title and sometimes a styling suggestion in the description helps people picture what they might wear it with.
There are also times I (and others) just want to give something away, including samples or nearly unused product, and the Buy & Sell page makes sure that stuff gets put to use immediately. No one would use an open litre of shampoo found at some thrift store, but it's different on the neighborhood page because everyone is a friend of a friend. I'm not sure why I even try new brands when I like Surface so much. Oh well, waste not, want not!
If an item looks good on, but it would be hard to tell on the table, it helps to throw it on and take a mirror selfie. The above striped shirt pretty much looks like a sheet until it's on, for example. I also include a detail photo if I think that's the best part, or if there's a minor scuff or snag. These are your neighbors, so you'll want them to know exactly what they're getting.
Personally, I don't mind try-ons and tbh, the knowledge that almost daily someone will be coming by means my house has been pretty tidy. But sometimes schedules don't line up and porch pick-up is necessary, so if someone's seen it on me and I'm their size, it lends confidence.
Finding things to purge means getting reacquainted with what you have and more than once, I've decided to keep something after photographing it. This NYC print had been collecting dust in the garage until I decided to post it (for $10, mind you) and when I wiped it off and hung it up in my front entrance to take a pic, my husband wanted to keep it there! So, there it stayed.
Buying via a local Buy & Sell means that you know the history of the items; since people have to use their personal profiles as sellers, there's a far bigger bond of trust than with a stranger on Kijiji. I wouldn't buy pillows at Value Village because who knows if a cat has peed on them or if my cat would smell another cat on the fabric (or if there are non-cat-related issues, I suppose) but I bought the two black pillows above the other day on the B&S for $15. A gal had bought them at Home Sense and was just changing up her decor. What a win for me-- they're perfect with my wallpaper!
I never had cash around the house since my money is pretty electronically dealt with so another benefit is the little bit of cash at the front door. Petra has been loving it because I finally have loonies for rides at the mall.
So how do you get involved in your neighborhood's Buy & Sell page? You can ask your neighbors or search keywords on Facebook, and if you don't find one, maybe you'd like to start one. The admin are so important not just for getting things started but in keeping the page running smoothly. The admin add people at their approval and if a buyer doesn't pick up time after time, the admin has the power to delete that person. Our Stonebridge page admin give little reminders about deleting sold posts and other such important info for newbies, and everyone appreciates their efforts so much!
There are also city-wide Buy & Sell FB pages which still have the advantage of personal profiles but you may not be able to walk or bike over. However, you've got a bigger audience, so there's a benefit to being a part of a few. I'm in three now and just thinking about them makes me want to see what's newly posted so I'll just wrap things up here. Happy buying and selling!