Making a Difference and Building Community in an Online Yard Sale

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Whether figuring out how to declutter a home, rearranging things, or setting up a yard sale, there's always joy and satisfaction when doing a summer cleaning. The pandemic made it possible for me to organize a room full of things my parents had not used for years. Since most of the items were theirs', I went on to put things up for sale with their permission. One way or another, someone out there would find something of value in the items sitting in the room. Throughout this online yard sale, I met people I eventually made friends with, who have shared their heartfelt stories I have found worth sharing.

We Rise Together

Ben had been looking for a bag to store his carpentry tools. Though he had inquired about a similar item earlier, another buyer was quicker to close the deal. After I had more time to organize, I discovered my dad's old-forgotten, heavy-duty weekender bag. Since he had a newer one, he agreed to sell it. I reached out to Ben. There was a slight problem with one of the zippers, and the exterior showed signs of use, but overall, it could hold a lot. After learning Ben ran his small business making beds, I figured that giving this for free would help him. "My brand new one didn't last as long as I expected, and I didn't have enough to buy another," he said. “I figured it was worth searching for a used one of good quality." Soon after, he sent photos using the bag. 

Paying It Forward

It was 6 p.m., and after sorting out items in the kitchen from morning till afternoon, I was about to call it a day when a notification popped on my phone screen. "Can I get these soup bowls, including the 6 pcs melamine glasses and 4 pcs salad plates," Cher inquired. Since the salad plates were sold earlier, I suggested looking for something else she might need instead. "I'm giving these to our building's security guards," said Cher and had kindly asked if I could add more things that would be of great use to them. I set aside a few dinnerware and cutleries for Cher that I skipped posting online. We finalized the transaction and had the items delivered the next day. "The guards were truly appreciative of the items. Though it wasn't a lot, it was a chance to help and give back for all they do," she said.

Passion With a Purpose

When I found more time to organize things at home, I discovered my old Barbie dolls had been stored safely for the longest time. While I initially thought of doing a "How To Declutter Your Home" video, I decided to do my version of the movie Sisterhood of Traveling Pants instead. Since these dolls, which needed a little cleaning and hair brushing, had been instrumental in my younger years, it was a great idea to pass down a few chosen ones to my goddaughters and then sell the rest. That was when Elena, a doll collector, came across my listing — a bundle of eight Barbies. When we met, she was collecting porcelain dolls but occasionally would find herself looking to buy old Barbie dolls to repair. "I make it a point to donate these restored dolls to little girls in need," she said with a sense of gratitude. "I hope the dolls bring the girls the same joy I had growing up." 

Finding Ways

One of my first buyers was Christianne, who surprisingly bought numerous items and availed a couple of giveaways from my online marketplace. From a variety of pre-loved clothes, books, kitchenwares, never-been-used wallpapers, my Taekwondo kick pad, and more. Over time, we became friends, and I learned that this mom was doing her best to provide for the needs of her children — five girls and three boys. By way of bargain deals, she had found ways to support her kids through the pandemic. Through Christianne's humility and resilience, I found a sounder purpose in clearing the shelves during my summer clean as more books and office and school supplies found a new home in her family. 

Partnerships Spread Goodwill

Kenneth caught my attention when he bought a wide assortment of items from my online yard sale — a pre-loved skirt, several computer accessories, vintage magazines, and limited edition Coca-Cola glasses. Eventually, I learned that other than collecting, he shared the same hobby as Elena — restoring old items and giving them a second chance at life with those in need. And working at his uncle's hardware store offered him a convenient opportunity to do his hobby. "My uncle's store helper will be giving birth," he said. "I wanted to ask if you had any used baby items to sell. It would be easier for the first-time mom." I introduced him to a close friend who was also doing a summer clean of her baby's gently-used clothes and gears. 

Getting By

Arche, a notably committed and decisive buyer, said that buying and selling items in this niche had helped support his mom's hemodialysis treatment in the past. He had been impressively particular about what he wanted and needed — anything vintage, regardless of whether working or defective. While he had found value in my dad's decade-old items, like analog and digital phones, home theater supplies, my brother's old remote control car, and computer speakers, he and I continue to work together to offer items that may benefit each other.

The Bottom Line

Community is built everywhere and anywhere you are open to building it.

Tags: Community, Friends, Organization

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Written By

Andrea Conopio

Andrea is a writer, a digital content creator, and an advocate of mother earth and furry friends. See Full Bio

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