I’ll let you in on a secret. Local Facebook selling groups are brilliant for parents. Sure, they can be a little annoying and sometimes scary, but they’re a fantastic way to pick up cheap second-hand things plus flog stuff that you no longer need.
We always saw ourselves as being a two-kid family, so we basically hung onto everything of L’s – clothes, toys, pushchair etc – in the hope that we’d have a second. When ‘Beetle’ was born, we were able to buy some new things, but we’ve reused quite a bit of the stuff we held onto. Now though, as we’re DEFINITELY not having any more kids, it means we can get rid as soon as he no longer needs them.
This has two main benefits. Firstly, we have more space. When you become a parent, your house becomes massively cluttered with baby and kid stuff, so being able to free up room pleases the Marie Kondo in me. Secondly, it helps to bring in a little extra income. As they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so getting a few quid to fill the money pit created by kids helps with the family finances.
I’ve always been a fan of eBay as a way to sell things I no longer need. I’ve got rid of so many things on eBay over the years – books, DVDs, phones etc – however, local Facebook selling groups and Facebook Marketplace are now my firm favourite. It’s easier to get rid of large and bulky items, there’s no commission or fees, and (depending on what local groups are in your area) you can better target potential buyers, i.e. new parents.
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I know some people can’t stand them, but I absolutely LOVE local Facebook selling sites. I managed to pick up this play table yesterday for 8 quid, then sold our treadmill (aka glorified clothes airer) today for £240. If you ignore the weirdos, time wasters and unrealistic negotiators, it’s a fab way to sell unwanted stuff and pick up bargains. How’s that for a parenting tip!
Over the last few years, we’ve sold all manner of items that we no longer need. From kid-related things like car seats, baby carriers, play mats, pushchairs and outdoor toys, through to stuff we no longer use or want including an armchair, a guitar, a Christmas tree, a barbecue and even a treadmill. I’ve not totalled up the exact amount, but I’d guess that it’s easily over £1,000 for stuff we no longer needed. A crazy income for unwanted items.
I guess the ease of selling stuff comes down to the quality of the local Facebook groups. We seem to be pretty lucky in this regard – I guess we live in an area with people who are receptive to preloved items as they want the top quality names but can’t afford the full retail price. By contrast, I know that my folks really struggle to sell anything where they live – and that’s when they’re just trying to get rid of good stuff for only a few quid.
Not that I’m a local Facebook selling group expert, but for me, the key has always been to (a) take good photos, (b) describe the item clearly, (c) price competitively, with the assumption you’ll be negotiated down, and (d) only list good quality items that you think will sell. Is it any wonder that you can’t sell your broken toaster when you list it at £135 and use a photo which looks like it’s taken by a three-year old?
Of course, it’s not all about selling. You can also pick up some proper bargains on local Facebook groups for a fraction of the full price. I still prefer to buy new and I’m a bit snobbish about using certain preloved items, but I’ve learnt that second-hand doesn’t mean broken, stained and passed its best. For instance, two good bargains we’ve bought are a brand new seat with play tray for £20 (RRP £49) when ‘Beetle’ was younger, as well as a used, but in good condition, play table for the kids for only £8 (RRP £50).
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“What kind of sorcery is this?!” The confused face of a baby who is sitting upright for the first time after spending the entire four months of his life in a horizontal position. (Side note: we picked this up for twenty quid in a local Facebook selling group. Bargainous, some might say!).
That’s not all though. Somehow, we managed to find a SnuzPod bedside crib (RRP £150 ish) which someone was giving away for free. After buying a new mattress and giving it a good clean, it basically looked new and was ready for ‘Beetle’ to use. Similarly, this weekend in fact, we picked up a used Little Tikes slide (RRP £110) for absolutely nothing. It’s a bit faded and has a few marks, but it lives outside, was free and will provide hours of fun – a great find!
I realise that I might be making local Facebook selling groups sound like Utopia. Trust me, they aren’t. To get to the good stuff – i.e. finding bargains and people chucking money at you for your shit – you have to wade through some unfavourable aspects, including:
1) The Fear Of Death: Buying and selling items means interacting with people you don’t know. This requires trust. Sadly, there’s a fair few untrustworthy people in society. As such, you’ll find yourself letting out a huge sigh of relief after every successfully completed transaction where you haven’t been mugged, abused or killed at your front door. Season 5 of Luther did very little to help this fear!
2) The No-Shows: You’ve just agreed to sell an item to someone and arranged a time for them to come over to pick it up. You patiently wait for the stranger to turn up at the allotted time, then nothing. You’ve sacked off your plans and stayed in rather than gone out for absolutely no reason. Not only did they fail to turn up, but they also didn’t bother letting you know. Selfish jerk!
3) The (Unrealistic) Negotiators: Local Facebook selling pages operate in a similar way to a car boot sale. Everyone knows that the price being asked for is on the higher side because people are going to barter. If you want £12, then you list it at £15 because you know someone will offer £10 and you can meet in the middle. However, you get some cheeky sods who don’t understand this rule and offer stupid prices because they’re twats. £3 for something listed at £30? Jog on, fella.
4) The Question Askers: I understand that you want to make sure the item you’re buying is what you want and I’m happy to provide additional info. However, asking questions which I’ve already answered in the listing makes me want to stab you in the eyes that you’ve failed to use to read the description! “How much? Where are you located? What’s the condition? How big is it?” Read the fucking info I’ve given before speaking to me!
5) The ‘Get Your Hopes Up’ers: You’ve listed something and want to sell it. You wait patiently for your phone to ping. Then you get a notification! Someone has liked the post – get in! But then nothing. Why like it then?! Hours later you get a message from someone else – “Is this available?”. “Yes, yes it is. Want it?”. “Sorry mate, I didn’t mean to send that message, I pressed it by mistake.”. Jesus wept! Then another message comes in from someone else. “Interested, but need to speak to husband first.”. “OK, no worries, let me know.”. “Sorry, he won’t let me buy it”. FFS! Why not find out first, and more importantly, get out from under your husband’s thumb!
So those are my thoughts on the brilliance – and annoyance – of local Facebook selling groups. A great way to buy cheap stuff and sell unwanted items if you’re able to tolerate annoying people and don’t mind fearing for your life! Do you use them? Have you ever found a good bargain? Let me know below!