A fun way to clear some clutter and collect some cash (Facebook 24-hour Auctions)

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by Robin

Does your community have a Facebook Auction group?  It would quite literally pay to check it out.  So far we've made hundreds of dollars auctioning off stuff that was collecting dust around our place (also quite literally - I am a hopeless housekeeper).   

I'm convinced that through these auctions we've earned many times what we would have from selling the same stuff at a garage sale.  Plus, we didn't need to get up with the birds on the weekend (unheard of around here), or sit in a lawn chair in the rain or go bonkers putting tiny price tags on things.   All fabulous reasons enough to give Facebook Auctions a try.

I have a blast selling this way!  For 24 hours my family gets to hear me squeal when the next bid comes in.  (I'm sure they love it and it is not annoying at all.)  This is likely a sign that I need to get out more, but in the meantime, here's my tips for how you can join in this fun.

This milkshake maker sold for $19.  It was a wedding gift from 2000 that we used a half dozen times in all those years.

Our local Facebook Auction group has a couple pages of rules. Yours will likely be different, but maybe similar?  I'll lay out a few here, but you'll really need to read it all yourself.  

To participate in our city's auction group you need to be invited.  This is usually pretty easy, check out which of your "Friends" are already on there, and then ask them nicely to invite you.  

Our auction lasts exactly 24 hours.  The last bid wins the item, if the bid has met the criteria you lay out in your post.  Then you arrange for pick up and payment. 

Your post is important.  Here's some of the details needed:

  • description of the item
  • photo of the item
  • how and where you'd like the item to be picked up
  • starting bid
  • what increments you'd like the price to move up in

Here's an ad I posted recently:

"Mini Stepper from Body Sculpture.
Adjustable tension.  Very sturdy.
Screen tracks steps, time, etc. (may need a new battery - the screen is getting faint).
Compact - it can be stored easily when not in use.
Used for only 2months (to train for CN Tower climb).
SB $1 Inc $1
Porch pick up within 72 hours of winning, please."

This stepper sold for $35!  (A bidder about 0.5 second too late came in at $40!) If I had it at a garage sale, I'd be surprised if I'd get $10 for it.  

Some 24-hour Facebook Auction Group Tips:

  • Think about the schedule of the folks who will bid on your stuff.  If you post your item at 2 am on Saturday night - your final bidders will need to be up at 2am on Sunday night to fight for it.  If your market is a white noise machine for insomniacs - go for it.  But if you're selling a kid's bike, you may do better posting that to end in the after-kids-in-bed-time-frame when parents are vegging with Facebook.  I've had good luck with posting on the weekends between 8 and 10 am or 9 and 10 pm.

  • Have a low starting bid.  It takes some nerve to post your stuff for a buck or two, but it pays off.  Everytime someone bids or watches your post, it moves up in the auction groups' Facebook feed.  So, the more interest the more exposure.  I've seen lots of stuff go without getting any bids, simply because the starting bid seemed way too high to spark interest.

  • Take a great photo.  It doesn't have to be Pinterest quality photos, but make sure it makes your stuff look its best.  Take the photo in good light.  Clear away any other clutter in the frame.  Make sure the focus is good.  I shake my head when I see blurry, dark photos with bizarre clutter all around it.  And I've seen stuff that's filthy!  Put a couple minutes into getting the best photo.

  • If there's flaws, point them out.  There's a good deal of trust that goes into buying items from strangers with a paragraph and a photo.  Don't hide flaws, describe them with words or photos.

  • If possible, include a link to the product from a retail site.  I'll do this to easily show how much the item is new.  I usually put this as the first comment.  I think it helps people make a quick and easy judgement on how valuable the item is.  Make it easy for them.

  • Answer questions when there's a lull in bidding.  Often people will ask questions about the item.  Maybe they want to know how old it is, or if there's still a box or something like that.  It's important to answer them, but I like to wait until there hasn't been any activity on the auction post for an hour or more.  This way my answer boosts the post to the top of the list of items again.

  •  My preference is to do a "porch pick up".  Basically, this means I put the item on the porch and the winning bidder comes and picks it up and leaves the money in the mailbox.  It takes some trust, but with about a dozen sales so far I haven't had a problem yet.  So much easier than arranging a time!  You certainly don't have to do it this way.  Through Facebook Message you can arrange whatever pick up time and place works best for you and the winner.

We got 2 full size samples of this lotion at a conference.  I had a terrible reaction to it - I have ridiculously sensitive skin.  I sold this unopened jar for $21

 Do you have a Facebook Auction Group in your community?  Have you sold anything on it?  Got any great tips to share?



    1. She was a cutie. It was bittersweet saying goodbye, Kyla. :)

  2. What! That milkshake machine only sold for $19! That's a steal!! Also, I have never heard of the 24 auction thing - totally going over to search one out now - I'm getting sick of the crazy free for all selling groups.

    1. I was really happy with $19 - we've had that thing for almost 15 years. And it was taking precious cupboard space.
      I'm an auction addict - check it out! So. Much. Fun. :)

  3. how do i find a facebook auction? i see the facebook Marketplace, but no auction.......what a grand idea!!!!!!!


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