When I was a kid in the 1970s, my younger brother and I used to travel across the countryside with my grandmother, an aunt and an uncle, looking for yard sales. I don't think they bought much, and I'm very sure they were never looking for anything in particular. It was just a way to pass time.
Flash forward to the 21st century, and naturally, the yard sale has evolved a little. The items being sold are a little more modern, and of course, there are Web sites to help you in your selling.
A few that I've learned about in recent weeks:
Tag Sell It aims to help people who live in pretty desolate areas, where they aren't likely to get a lot of customers. They also target companies that want to sell parts of their inventory but aren't set up to do it through a storefront. In other words, you can sell all of your wares, junk or, um, unneeded treasures through Tag Sell It. They charge a small listing fee, but there are no commissions. I'm not a garage sale connoisseur the way WalletPop writer Zac Bissonnette is (he wrote twice about yard sales last month, here and here, both fun reads), but it seems like a pretty neat site to me. And if you are holding your own tag sell at your place, they allow you to list it here for free.
Garage Sale Source. They're allowing people to list their garage sales here for free -- but they make it clear that eventually, at some point, they're going to start charging. Seems like a nice enough site, though.
Garage Sales Tracker. Very sharp-looking, user-friendly (from what I can tell) site. You can list garage sales here for free as well, but they've also indicated that the free lunch thing won't last forever.
In any case, if the economy doesn't improve soon, my guess is that the need for garage sales -- both folks who have items to unload and people in desperate need of a bargain -- is going to go up exponentially. And that's another way yard sales seem to have changed over the years.
I'd like to think that there are plenty of people who like to go to tag sales for the enjoyment of it, but judging from what went on several houses away from me a few weeks ago, there does seem to be an ominous overtone to some of the bargain hunting these days. This house had what looked like a typical garage sale, only the sign in the front yard begged to differ. It read: Estate Sale.
Cars clogged our street as people from near and possibly far clamored to get good deals from good but desperate folk. Several weeks later, their house is barren, and the lawn looked like a prairie, until someone came by recently and mowed part of it.
Suddenly those days of innocently driving around with my relatives, looking for bargains on a clothesline or on a folding card table, seem far, far away.
Even garage sales have the dot-com thing going for them