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Social media is morphing from a way for users to connect with long-lost friends to the new trend of member-only buy/sell/trade groups.

Some of the local Facebook buy/sell/trade groups have become so popular that their groups consist of over 20,000 local members. Membership requires approval by the group’s admin and is generally only open to members who reside in a specific ZIP code. But once you are “in,” you are welcome to buy, sell or trade at will as long as group rules are followed.

These kinds of Facebook groups make it easy to unload your unwanted stuff. A user just needs to snap a picture with their smartphone and upload it directly to a group’s Facebook page with details and price. Group members can post questions about an item, arrange a purchase or trade, and submit an ISO (group lingo for “in search of”). 

Selling and buying usually includes either the honor system with a porch pickup or a meeting with the seller at their home or a designated location. While most sales go smoothly, sometimes they don’t. Recent posts on some of the local buy/sale/trade groups have included complaints about the quality of purchases, nonpayment with porch pickups or a buyer who never shows up at the designated time. This usually causes feathers to get ruffled and a stern reminder of the group rules posted by the site admin. Any member who violates the posted rules could risk being removed from the group at the discretion of the admin.

For those who prefer the old-school garage-sale experience instead of the new digital garage sale experience, there is still a way to utilize social media. Many people are posting their actual driveway garage sale locations on the social media platform Nextdoor. Just search garage sales and start mapping out your Saturday morning adventure.

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