We’ve touched on resale shops quite a bit. I’ve thrown in garage sales, flea markets, and farmers markets, but have you heard of the ‘newest old craze’? It’s called community sharing groups. I feel it’s important to point out the differences between sites like, let’s say, e-bay and a true community sharing group. E-bay, Letgo (now Offerup), Facebook marketplace, Mercari, and portions of Craig’s list (yeah, I’m old…not sure if anyone still even knows what Craig’s list is anymore) are consumer driven web-based hubs for hawking used merchandise for a price. Now there’s also an electronic version of a very old concept emerging- sharing stuff with your neighbors (the free stuff section of Craig’s list pioneered this by the way).
Still don’t get the concept? Let’s break it down. Let’s say your kiddo just potty-trained and you have a ton of diapers left in an open box because, of course, your kid couldn’t potty-train BEFORE you opened that box of 146 diapers that you now can no longer return to Target. Let’s say Betty at the end of the block is expecting her first child and has zero diapers. You give your diapers that you no longer need to Betty for free, who is super grateful. Now later on, Betty is five kids deep and her youngest is five years old and her husband just ‘closed the baby shop’ for good. So Betty notices that Wanda down the street has two girls, but is expecting her first boy. Since Betty is done with her son’s baby clothes, she gives those to Wanda and then she gives all her baby crap: cribs, walker, stroller, etc. to Tammy who is expecting her first and has no family to throw her a baby shower. Get it? It’s like recycling meets paying it forward!
Now, imagine that you need this stuff, or you want to give your stuff away to someone that needs it but you just don’t know how to find the people that need it or want it. Enter community sharing groups. They are the ‘want ads’ of the electronic age. These hubs help unite those that have stuff they want to donate with those that need it or want it. Pretty cool, huh? Where can I find these groups? Well, I’m glad you asked! Check out this link below to an article that does a pretty decent job of laying out some different names of sharing groups and where each is located. You can also find local sharing communities on Facebook as well by simply typing ‘community sharing’ into the search box.
Now, I will come clean here. Prior to knowing anything about community sharing, I have used the above-mentioned secondhand retail apps quite a bit. I will sheepishly admit to an Ebay and Mercari habit to find collectibles like Ray Dunn and even those awful Squishmallow things that my kids love (beanie babies take two anyone). I will warn you flat out that you are not going to find a deal of any sort on these sites. These are vendors using the apps as an online platform to sell stuff and make a profit. So, if you are looking for that one hot holiday toy that is sold out in all the stores that your kids will die without, and you don’t mind paying through the nose for it (plus shipping!) then Ebay and Mercari are your apps.
If you are looking to score an infant bike seat, a toddler tag along bike, or a cheap adult’s bike like I was a couple summers ago then you can have some success on sites like Letgo (now offerup) or Facebook Marketplace. Some of these folks are truly just trying to recoup a bit of money while cleaning out their crap.
Just be a wary buyer here and RESEARCH your prices for new items first so you know if you are getting a deal or not. I have searched through hundreds of listings for kids balance bikes where people are asking the same, if not more, than the price of a new item for something that is used. At that point, I’d rather just buy it new!
I did note that the more rural the location of the seller, the lower the price and the more urban the location, the higher the price- not a big surprise here. PLEASE, just make sure that if you are driving to Timbuktu for that five-dollar power wheels for your kids make sure you don’t go alone!!! Make sure you take someone with you or tell someone exactly where you are meeting the seller and at what time. Or you could do as my genius husband did and have the seller agree to meet you in the parking lot of the police station.
So, as always, with all this in mind-
Happy shopping and happy community sharing!