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The Evolution of Yard Sales

Written by Mary Blevins on .

In the early 1800s, shipping yards would sell unclaimed cargo and collections of furniture at discounted prices that would draw in crowds for miles away and be known as rummage sales. The “yard sale,” as it would become known post WW2 in the late ’50s and ’60s, would bring families and neighbors together as significant events and sometimes even pot- luck picnics.

While everyone explores for treasures of vintage dishes, artwork, old games, and the ever-popular costume jewelry or trinket as they snack on popcorn and the famous melt in your mouth and not in your hand’s peanut M&M’s. Everyone who was anyone knew that the best yard sale day was the perfect sunny Saturday in May, and you must not forget to advertise in the daily gazette.

Now It’s A Yard Sale!

The fields were parsley-green with a host of daisies scattered throughout.  The clouds were shaped like tufty pillows gliding slowly across the sky as a carnival of scents blew in the air, hotdogs, baked goods and the sweet smell of lemonade may be the only good thing about being dragged around to yards sales by your family “the food” oh and don’t forget the candy.  Nerds, Skittles, Hershey Kisses, Reese Pieces, and Atomic Fireballs if you had a quarter, you had five pieces of candy. Yes, we are in the “materialistic decade” of the ’80s, always looking through rose-colored glasses and searching for toys, Star Trek movie posters, baseball cards, and the rise of The California Raisins and electronic music.

Decades through the Hourglass

Yard Sales and ‘mini flea markets” as it soon became known as moving into the late ’90s and 2000s would have a more considerable competition as the internet comes along with Craigslist as one of the first American classified web-based services established in 1996.   In the year 1995, E Bay was one of the first companies to create and market an internet website to match buyer’s and sellers’ benefits. Today, there are many online yard sales, garage sales, apps, virtual social medial sales, and marketplaces, with some of the most popular being Varage Sale, Wallapop, and Let go. However, the vintage and nostalgia of opening your front lawn, garage, or church is still a social trend.

Fun Facts:

  • Each week in the United States, yard sales bring in $165,000.00 
  • $0.85 is the average cost of a yard sale item.
  • 690,000 is the average number of people who purchase something at a yard sale each week.
  • There are an estimated 95,000-yard sales listed on Craig’s list weekly
  • The estimated totally weekly revenue from yard sales in the U.S. is $4,222,357.00
  • “The World’s longest Yard Sale is 690 miles running along U.S. Route 127 from Michigan to Alabama.
  • Top yard sale food Homemade cookies

The future of Yard Sales is unknown, but you can rest assured, on this futuristic voyage, no matter how we plan to sell something, there will always be stuff to swap, and market research shows that around 71% of individuals between the ages of 8-18 say they would be happier if they had money to spend.  They are focused on objects, ownership, and wealth; the more, the merrier, right?

We all love a great why couldn’t I have been in possession of a fortune without realizing it kind of story, especially if it involves a yard sale market find.  Speaking of famous finds in history in 2012 when a gentleman purchased what appeared to be a sketch at a Las Vegas yard sale for $5.00, and it ended up being a painting by the pop art pioneer Andy Warhol and was worth $2,000,000.00.  I think I haven’t found a rare 1959 Barbie doll, an original 1980 Cabbage Patch doll, or a Velvet Underground Record worth $25,000 at any yard sale.  I just haven’t got lucky yet, and it doesn’t mean that I may or may not plan to stop searching the world for unexpected treasures and a rag to riches historical yard sale story.

Another person’s junk could be your treasure.


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