Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a MainStreet series called Secondhand Nation, which takes a closer look at how thrift stores, garage sales and secondhand shops have fared during the recession and what the future holds for the frugal consumer.
Phoenix resident Rebecca Smith Moore started going to neighborhood garage sales to save money. What she didn’t expect was to find a way to make some as well.
Back in 2008, Moore and her husband went from being a two-income family to a one-income family after she left her job as an administrative assistant following the birth of their third child. Local yard sales subsequently become a convenient place to find deals.
“Phoenix is garage sale nation,” says Moore, now a mother of four, explaining that people from wealthy neighborhoods in her area would hold sales where you could find designer children’s clothes, often with the tags still on, well below their list price. “I would go to [these sales] to find toys, clothes and furniture for my kids.”
During one outing, Moore spotted a $250 leather sectional in perfect condition. Looking to make the space for it in her living room, she put her old couch up for sale on Craigslist. In less than a day, it had sold for $340, leaving her with an extra $90 and a sectional in better condition than the old one.
“I couldn’t believe how fast it sold,” Moore says. “I told my husband ‘I think I can really make some money off of this.'”
Her assumption was proven correct the next week when she bought another sectional at a garage sale for $175. This one also sold on Craigslist in a relatively short amount of time for $450.