End of the Garage Sale Era?

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yard sale
by Jamie Brazil, Portland

Her blog
Author of Prince Charming, Inc.

Turn on the TV, open any lifestyle magazine, and chances are America’s new thriftiness has grabbed your attention. From “Storage Wars” and “Pawn Stars”, to Flea Market Style Weddings, the new-to-you market just keeps growing. And while secondhand may never be sexy (unless there’s a Goodwill Gone Wild in the offing), it’s a sizzling hot industry with sales in the billions.

But an article in the weekend paper made me pause, and wonder if my favorite weekend hobby of garage sale shopping might be coming to an end before long. Enter The Garage Hunters. Hosting a garage sale takes days out of the seller’s life with pricing, nailing up signs, selling, and then later hauling the leftovers to a donation site… so why not sell everything in one lot to the highest bidder?

According to Yazen Haddad, founder of Garage Hunters, the average household makes about $1500 for their cleanout effort. The buyers, who own thrift stores and similar outlets, will resell the goods for a profit. Everybody wins.

Except the true shoppers, people like me, who love the multi-generational tradition of shopping yard sales. It’s a pastime, a treasure hunt, and a way to save money. Sure, I could switch gears and go to Goodwill, but I don’t like the Goodwill politics, their prices for basic products seem pretty high, and anything of real quality is auctioned online for even more money. Plus big box secondhand stores smell funny, and I’m more of a fresh-air-and-exercise thrift shopper.

Garage Hunters already features hundreds of garage auctions per week. They’ve partnered with the auctioneers from Storage Wars and their enterprise seems to be growing rapidly. How long before they start auctioning off garage sales here in my state? And when they do (it’s probably inevitable), what will I do with my Saturday mornings?

Quite possibly, one of those Saturdays might be spent putting together a few boxes of my no-longer-in-use items and giving Garage Hunters a call. Offers, anyone?