Online Yard Sale Fosters Sense of Community

ISO. Bump. Next. This lingo is necessary for understanding posts on the Park Cities Online Yard Sale, a neighborhood garage sale that takes place solely on Facebook.

“I was going through things in my house that were too nice to just give away,” founder and University Park resident Peggy Sutcliffe said of the June 2013 launch.

Originally, it was an “open group” in that anything posted would show up in friends’ feeds, resulting in more requests to join.

The group has grown to nearly 10,000 members, with more than 8,500 awaiting approval.

Only Park Cities residents or those in surrounding neighborhoods are accepted. Everyone who wants in must send Sutcliffe a message directly.

“PCOYS is a great resource to buy and sell items locally, with little hassle and quick transactions,” Highland Park High School graduate and frequent poster Liz Healy said. “It’s become a trusted network.

As for the lingo, “ISO” means in search of. “Bump” means that a seller has reposted the item back to the top of the feed. And “next” means the person interested is next in line.

“Any spare minute I have is doing this,” Sutcliffe said. “I have incredible members who help me by letting me know if something is going wrong.”

Those problems typically include people who cross-post in other groups or post knock-off merchandise. Violators are often removed altogether.

Amid housewares and high-end clothing, there are the occasional posts-in-jest, such as a dachshund “ISO” Tory Burch flats to chew on. 

Some members went on to form their own groups, such as Highland Park Garage Sale, which was  started by another HPHS graduate.

But Sutcliffe values the sense of community most out of her operation.

“Members feel comfortable letting people come to their house or trust them with a porch pick-up,” she said.

What’s next? A stand-alone website where members will have an account login to monitor their purchases and sales. The site will be zip-code restricted, but current members of the group that don’t fit that parameter will be “grandfathered” in.

“You can post up to eight images of your item, add videos, and add more detailed information,” she said of the site.

Posts will also be categorized, searchable, and feed directly into Facebook. Members will also be able to auction off items, pay by PayPal, rate other members, and participate in a chat room.

Though it will be free initially, members will eventually pay a $3.33 monthly fee. The fee will not, however, be applied to the Facebook group.

“The site is to help make the experience better,” Sutcliffe said. “Membership will allow this concept to continue and evolve for the longer term.”

This story appears in the August edition of Park Cities People, on stands now.

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