Are Yard Sales Losing their Curb Appeal?

Spring is the season for enjoying the outdoors and sharing with friends and family. Yet one of our nation’s past times is now under scrutiny. A growing issue for municipalities are the increasing complaints received from neighbors of yard sales gone to the extreme. Imagine living near neighbors offering appliances and cars on their lawns. This was the focus of a recent story spurring a sharp debate with more than 400 comments to date. In Delano, Calif., the city has declared a ‘yard sale showdown’ following numerous complaints received from residents of citizens operating business from their homes. 

When thinking of a yard sale, what comes to mind is the additional traffic and visitors entering the neighborhoods in search for bargains. For some, this is welcome as their goal is to share with their neighbors while generating funds from items no longer used. The issue at hand is that many of these so-called yard sales are de facto illegally operating storefronts. For yard sales of the extreme form, it seems a few are ruining it for everyone else.  

“While yard sales provide a great way to recommerce, they vary by the location and are as unique as each city’s demographic,” said Mollie Loeffler, President of the Parklawn Civic Association in Alexandria, VA. “In extreme cases, it is unfortunate when municipalities must take action in order to protect citizens from code compliance issues.”

Some of the cities that have enacted restrictions and permit fees are detailed by this recent BusinessWeek article. While the limits vary, cities such as San Angelo, Tx., Phenix City, Ala., and Ontario, Calif., allow for no more than two yard sales per year, yet others including Elkhart, Ind., allow up to 15 a year. As for fees, in South Greensburg, Pa., citizens must pay a $5 permit fee, while in Miami, Fla., it is as high as $28.

In retrospect, yard sales are a lot of work. From applying and paying for permits, to organizing and pricing items, to driving foot traffic and hopefully making sales, physical garage sales involve too much friction. Tradepal’s peer-to-peer marketplace offers a solution for both municipalities, as well as the weekend garage gal who is planning to move or just wants to de-clutter. The difference is, it doesn’t require a permit or any cash outlay at all. Another benefit is each item can be listed with images in less than a minute. Once all the items are listed, all you do is share the link to your ‘Tradepal virtual garage sale’ with your social network. And as simple as that, the offers will start rolling in.

Listing an item is done in less than a minute on Tradepal. For example, type ‘iPhone 3G’ and tradepal will serve you relevant options to choose from to complete your listings in one-click. For books or games, just enter the ISBN number and the system will automatically upload your listing. If you were planning to move, this service is a great option as you can even list giveaways. The options are endless.


Tamar Burton

Twitter: @TamarBurton



In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.

Recent Posts by Tamar Burton