I’ve been an avid yard saler for years, and now that the season is once again upon us, I marvel all over again at the benefits offered. In a society so addicted to overconsumption we find, every summer weekend on just about every other block, neighbors getting rid of their useful, sometimes nearly new “stuff” for rock bottom prices. The sales are so close to home that to buy there requires less travel than to go to the nearest store for the same items new.
Of course, overconsumption is what makes yard sales possible. If people weren’t buying more stuff than they need, they wouldn’t have so much to sell. It’s sad to think of the vast amounts of earth’s resources going into the production of goods that buyers are going to practically give away in such a short time. But we who care about the environment can at least avail ourselves of opportunities to purchase secondhand the things we need and thereby make those resource inputs last as long as possible.
Yard sales also encourage conversations among neighbors in ways that build community. I’ve learned a great deal from talking not only to sellers but to other people browsing the goods. It feels friendly and supportive. Such sales are also great fund raisers for organizations, and allow volunteers to get to know each other better.
A final way I’ll mention that yard sales are amazing is perhaps the most obvious: they can save buyers money, lots and lots of it. I can buy clothing items for 50 cents or $1.00 that still have a lot of wear left. Housewares and art pieces go for a small fraction of their original price. Sellers benefit too, not only from the money they take in but also if parting with their stuff means they won’t have to pay to move it.
Yard saling is an easy and fun way to accomplish three goals at once: to be kind to the planet, build community, and save money.