Garage sale turf under threat

00:00, Jul 10 2014
Old school: Elizabeth Baxter, who is organising a garage sale in Palmerston North this weekend, talks about the culture of garage sales and their decline with the invention of Facebook and Trade Me.

The rising popularity of online trading sites could spell the end for a weekend ritual for thousands of kiwis. Kelsey Wilkie looks at what the future holds for the humble garage sale.

Spare change and a knack for bargaining are the tools required for garage sale hunters.

A wooden spoon, black at the bulge from years of use, going for 50 cents is seen as a steal to some but this niche market could be under threat, due to the the popularity of online trading sites.

With Trade Me and Facebook buy and sell pages encroaching on the garage sale turf, the next generation could be done with garage sales for good.

Tanya Wootton of Palmerston North was once a big fan of garage sales. She would make a day of it with her girlfriends but says they are a waste of time these days.

"You can get so much online and it's delivered to your door. You don't even have to leave the house.


"You don't get the older stuff as much. People are just tending to throw it away.

"It is a shame because you're not having that hunting through thing."

Tiana Gray, 16, hasn't been to a garage sale in almost 10 years and doesn't think she'll be back.

"I think people sell stuff more online, it's just easier."

Elizabeth Baxter is selling her stuff the old-fashioned way.

In her garage.

On Saturday she expects a decent crowd, mainly older people, to rummage through her discarded things.

Old board games, puzzles, plastic planting pots - they're all up for sale.

"With me, it's more for the selling than the buying. I get a buzz out of selling."

For a wooden spoon, she says, "you could ask for 50 cents and you'd settle for 20".

"I actually get a buzz out of haggling."

But even she can see the end of the garage sale era coming.

"I can see garage sales phasing out.

"The young ones basically want new."

Massey University senior lecturer in marketing Gurvinder Shergill said things that could be easily digitalised were the ones expected to vanish.

He said he didn't think the internet would replace the garage sale concept completely.

"New media has given more options for the vendors.

"The way we provide the information to potential buyers, that will change."

Manawatu Standard