Watch out, Ebay and Craigslist.
Moms – as well as single women and a few men – are buying, selling and trading in a new way. Over the past few years groups like the “Murrieta Exchange” Facebook group are drawing large crowds to buy and sell gently used items in a way that’s much more local and as many participants say, safer.
“I love it,” said Lori Ivany of Wildomar. “I just started doing garage sales a few months ago and then found the exchange on Facebook. Now, I can garage sale from my couch.”
These groups are available by invitation only – a Facebook friend who is a member must invite outside members to see the items available on the group site.
Pictures of items for sale are posted, along with a price and a general location. Group members use the Facebook comment tool to place their bid and make pickup arrangements.
“I’ve been meeting people in the Target and Costco parking lots,” Ivany said. “We just pick a place that’s convenient.”
A list of rules exists for each site for both buyers and sellers to keep the process fair.
The Murrieta Exchange group now has about 5,000 members buying and swapping anything from baby clothes to decorative home items. And, the Menifee Exchange group has nearly 1,100. More specialized offshoots have grown from these larger groups, and these groups are growing in the 200 to 400 member range.
One such group is “Just Furniture,” created by Murrieta resident Anne Marie Mitchell.
Mitchell has created several specialty groups because she wanted to make it easier for people to find exactly what they were looking for when shopping. She also hosts a Homemade Goodies group and Home Décor group. Managing the groups started out as something part-time, but over the past few months has turned into a full-time job.
“It’s very time consuming, but I like it,” she said. “I wanted individual sites where I could go straight to it and find what I want. If I’m looking for a dining room table, I don’t want to go through baby clothes or home décor items too.”
Mitchell asks members to strictly follow the rules of her groups, which means posted items that aren’t furniture on the furniture site are deleted.
“People get really mad at me when I delete their posts, but I want to keep the sites separate,” she said. “I don’t allow cross-posting either. If you’re looking for home décor, you should be able to just see home décor.”
Mitchell is a stay-at-home mom with two daughters. She has been selling home décor items and jewelry using a Facebook page for a while. One of the things she really appreciates about the exchange groups is the friendship she has gained through the interactions.
“I’ve met so many people I would never have met,” Mitchell said. “I’ve made some really good friends.”
Facebook feels safer than Craigslist or other online ads for users as well since user profiles can be seen.
“I can see their picture,” Mitchell said. “And the thing is … so many people know so many other people. Everyone pretty much knows everyone.”
Jennifer Dean is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.