The Old Way
The term PPU (Porch Pick Up) is about 10 years old. You likely have some experience with garage sales. I shopped them on Saturday mornings with my parents when I was a kid. People haul their unwanted stuff into their yard and garage, price items and let the mayhem begin. Or at least you hope for mayhem. Afterwards, you decide what to do with all the unsold items. Donate, trash or back into the house?
The New Way
In this article I share how our family has adopted a new way. For us, it started with kids – about 11 years ago. Your bundle of joy doesn’t stay the same shape for long. And retailers profit well as they grow. Wanting our daughter in trendy clothes, but not at full-sticker prices, Sarah shopped resale stores. She found clothes in good shape for half-price. And then resold those clothes back to the same shops a few months later.
Optimizer mommas realized resale shops took nice profits, so they cut-out the middlemen. Facebook groups gained popularity around this time. And so, optimizers began posting items for sale in garage sale groups on Facebook. Targeted, local groups provided enough security for both parties. Initially, most felt more comfortable meeting at neutral locations. Sarah did a lot of these deals. I noticed transactions in parking lots all over town. Two minivans pull up at Target, moms get out, haggard looks, kids screaming in the back and they make the exchange.
Over time we felt comfortable providing our address and placing items on the porch. PPU was born. In the last decade, Sarah has sold thousands of dollars of items from our porch, with cash left under the mat. For us, this trend started with baby clothes and grew from there. We’ve sold all kinds of things: decorations, toys, games, furniture, appliances.
Some deals I remember well. Fifteen years ago, I took up triathlon racing and bought a legit Trek road bike. All in I had about a $1000 in bike stuff. In 2010, I completed my last race and hung up my bike in the garage. I’d see it and think, “I’ll get back into riding one day.” That day never came. 10 years later I decided to let it go. I cleaned up the bike, took pictures and Sarah posted. We negotiated and settled on $250 for the bike and gear. Same-day cash buyer and we did the deal on the porch. For another recent deal I did with my son, read the Pokémon Effect.
Integrated into our Life
These days, Sarah has 5-10 listings on Facebook Marketplace at all times. We have a spot in our house dedicated to those items. And if they don’t sell, we donate them.
A couple other recent transactions:
- Sarah posted ISO (in search of) a trampoline and we picked up one for free.
- I installed a GE electric cooktop in great condition that she found for $180. They retail new for $800.
- I bought a rowing machine on Amazon right before the pandemic and sold it one year later for more.
- A couple hundred dollars on a cool loft bed with desk for our son – priced new at well over $1000.
- Outdoor patio set and chairs for $25
As I look through our house, I see online deals in every room.
Tips for Success
- Handle each transaction professionally – this establishes your Review profile on Facebook Marketplace. Making buyers more comfortable dealing with you
- Sarah’s profile strengths (based on reviews) – Pricing, Friendliness, item description, punctuality, reliability, communication. These are the type of descriptions you want on your public profile.
- Cross-posting – create your listing once on FB Marketplace, then tag it on local group pages. Saves you time and reaches a more targeted audience
- Research your items – research what similar items have sold for on FB Marketplace.
- Price to sell – think garage sale prices – people want a deal.
- Sell seasonally – be smart about when you post items (i.e.: post kid’s backpacks in July)
- Bundling – bundle items to entice buyers with a volume discount.
- Sell for a commission – Sarah has sold items for others and taken a 50% commission on the sales price.
The Art of the PPU is a true FI move. Although not completely passive, it’s low effort and convenient. Take a few pictures, post, agree on price, put it on the porch, collect the cash. Much more efficient than traditional garage sales. And if you’re the buyer you often save 80% off full retail, which adds up on large items. You’ll find savings on small items and recurring purchases like kid’s clothes too. It offers a way to rid your home of unwanted items. The average home has 300,000 items. (21 Surprising Statistics About How Much Stuff We Actually Own (becomingminimalist.com). There’s no reason to keep stuff you won’t use or enjoy. Good on the environment too, keeping stuff out of landfills. Just remember:
My challenge to you this month. Sell items on Facebook Marketplace from your home. Invest your proceeds into low-cost index funds. You will trade something providing you no value, for something providing future freedom. Comment below on any interesting deals you make.
3 thoughts on “The Why and How of Porch Pick Ups”
Nice article. Porch Pickup when I lived in-town in DFW was amazing. The only real issue I had was deciding between holding an item for pending pickup or just saying first come, first serve. I’ve held items to have multiple people flake out while doing first come first serve upset some people. Two contractors flipped a coin for a ladder in my front yard! Unfortunately I live in a smaller area now and it’s nowhere near as good as DFW was
Robert, Thanks for reading and commenting. Yeah, we are actually in the process of moving out of the metroplex into a smaller community, so I’m sure we’ll see the opportunities diminish some. At least the contractors didn’t escalate further over the ladder – a coin flip seems fair. 🙂
Great practical post!