By: Courtney Phillips
Saturday mornings begin early for yard sale enthusiast, Lexi Hasapis. “Every Friday night, I go to bed and think, ‘I’m not going yardsaling tomorrow,’ but I wake up early. I’m usually out and about by 8:00,” laughed the Fayetteville native.
Of the hobby which began in childhood with her mom and grandmother, Lexi was an “unwilling participant.” Five years ago, her outlook changed with the Craigslist purchase of Harriet, her 1976 blue and white Volkswagen bus. Ironically, Harriet isn’t much help on yard sale days. “She rarely works,” said Lexi, who occasionally enlists the help of friends or family with other large vehicles.
During yard sale season, which begins in April and lasts until the weather transitions to unpleasantly chilly mornings in October or November, Lexi goes “saling” at least twice per month.
“Am I going to sleep late and watch Netflix for an hour, or am I going to go out and find something cool?”
It’s an easy decision for Lexi, whose shopping is always complete by noon.
An Eye for Retro
A child of the 1970s, Lexi is drawn to mid-century furniture and housewares. Bar carts, vintage Pyrex bakeware, brass pineapples and Coleman coolers are some of Lexi’s favorite finds. Seemingly rare, the retro niche is plentiful on Saturday mornings.
“They’re everywhere,” she said. “Someone has their grandmother’s Pyrex, grandad’s chairs or mom’s table.”
An item that will always be on Lexi’s “wish list” is milk glass. Pieces of glassware, which range from kitchen pieces to lamp bases, originated in Italy in the 16th century and peaked in popularity in the late 1800s. In the 1940s and 1950s, production was revived by several mainstream glassware companies and, today, collectors are devoted to discerning old pieces from new. While finding an original piece of the semi-opaque pastel-hued molded glass would be nearly impossible, Lexi enjoys searching for the reproductions of the 50s, and counts a pink milk glass cake plate among her most favorite finds. “She’s the sweetest thing ever,” Lexi said proudly.
Currently, her weekly search is driven by the desire to change her home furniture. “Going to big box stores and getting what everyone else has is kind of boring. We just buy so much stuff and then we throw it out. The mid-century stuff I’m collecting seems to last so much longer,” she said.
Treasure on the Cheap
Lexi counts a set of three brass nesting tables as her best financial deal. “I found them in a lady’s patio room for $5. I refurbished them. Last week, I saw them at a store for $275.” She whipped out her phone for a view of impressive before-and-after shots of the stylish tables.
After hearing her talk about her unique finds, one might assume that Lexi’s pastime gets expensive. “I’d never spend more than $100 a month,” she said matter-of-factly, and while she would be willing to spend more for a special item, she quickly affirmed, “I’d never pay $275 for a table. Ever. For any table.”
Plan of Attack
Lexi’s most-used research tool is the Yard Sale Finder on the Fayetteville Observer Marketplace. It displays all advertised sales on a map and includes a selection function to populate a route of sales a user wants to navigate. “It’ll make you a route. It’s awesome. It’s like ‘Yardsales for Dummies,’” laughed Lexi.
Equally profitable for the advertiser, it alerts local authorities to a sale and prompts a seller to obtain a permit, which is required for sales within city limits. A permit is $20 and must be obtained by Thursday for a sale on Saturday. No more than three permits will be issued per year for the same address. “I live on a thoroughfare. The last yard sale I had, the police actually stopped by and helped people cross the street, so I thank the City of Fayetteville for that,” said Lexi.
For the tech-savvy enthusiast, Lexi recommends downloading the Varage Sale app to augment a route and find items before a sale. An online community of buyers and sellers, with an especially active Fort Bragg community, Varage is unique in that it requires login via Facebook which builds trust among its users and ensures people are dealing with other real people.
When Lexi finds herself without a plan on Saturday morning, she will often venture through the historic Haymount neighborhood or simply drive down a country road. “Some of the best places to go are places you didn’t even know existed. It’s a fun way to get out in your community. Talk about meeting people!”
In off-peak months, estate sale business booms. “Estate sales are a concentration of better stuff, but you’ll usually pay more. If you’re looking for something specific, they’ll have pictures out the day before and you’ll know what’s there. There will be rhyme or reason to it. I only go if I see something in a picture that I like,” said Lexi.
Phil Huggins of Howie and Huggins Estate & Moving Sales said, “There’s something out there for everyone. We have people coming from other locations, sometimes as far away as Iowa. Even after all these years, it’s exciting for us to be a part of estate sales. Everything tells a story. Everything has a memory.”
When asked if she has more success in Fayetteville or surrounding areas, Lexi noted that the estate sale structure in other towns is different from Fayetteville. “In Raleigh, you have to sign up on Friday to get in line on Saturday. In Fayetteville, it’s first come, first served.” One of Lexi’s favorite estate sale companies is Carolina, Let’s Get Organized, which takes debit and credit cards at their sales. When in doubt, arrive early and don’t forget the cash!
Miles of Sales
Equally attractive to the beginner and seasoned devotee, uniquely structured sales abound in the Fayetteville region. These sales, planned in advance, decrease the “hit or miss” nature of a regular Saturday. Be sure to mark these sales on your calendar!
On June 16th and 17th, sellers will gather along US 301 from Weldon to Dunn from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. for the 4th annual 301 Endless Yard Sale. For a vendor map and answers to frequently asked questions, visit www.301endlessyardsale.com or like them on Facebook.
On August 13th, the Maxwell Road Endless Yard Sale will begin at 7:00 a.m. and range nearly 25 miles between NC 24 and US 421 in Stedman.
On June 24th, at Fayetteville’s monthly Fourth Friday downtown celebration, there will be a vintage mart for fans of retro items. Check the Downtown Alliance Facebook page or www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com as details emerge.
As one might imagine, Lexi is also a seasoned seller. Throughout the year, she collects items for a personal sale and “when the pile gets too big, it’s time to look at the calendar and pick a Saturday.” She doesn’t strategically choose a date or even a time of year, as she lives in a heavily-traveled area. Even on chilly days, her sales are well-attended.
“I don’t get attached to items. Clothes, especially. If I haven’t worn something in a year, it goes,” she said as she named items that always sell quickly at her sale. “Plus-sized clothes have a crazy following. If you have them, advertise them.” In addition, she noted that stereos, baby clothes, baby toys, electronics and larger, substantive home items, like artwork, go quickly.
Lexi limits advertising so that she can easily manage the deletion of posts after a sale. She always advertises on Fayetteville Observer Marketplace, Varage Sale, her personal Facebook page and virtual yard sale groups on Facebook for Fort Bragg, Fayetteville and Hope Mills. Of the latter, a simple Facebook search will reveal more than ten active groups whose memberships range from 100 members to groups of over 15,000 people.
“This last time I had a sale, I posted some pictures online on yard sales sites and people were buying things from there. I probably won’t do that, again. It becomes too complicated when 14 people show up in your driveway at 6:00 a.m.”
As for organization, Lexi recommends that a seller structure their yard like a retail environment. Create distinct sections for housewares, clothes, electronics and children’s items. “Put things out there that you’d purchase. Don’t try to sell miss-matched socks and chewed-up dog toys. Get organized,” she said.
Of planning with curb appeal in mind, she hinted, “Don’t just throw some clothes out on a tarp and expect people to come. I drive right by those.” To catch the eyes of passersby, Lexi makes bright signs. “I always put up funny signs that say things like ‘Best Yard Sale Ever.’ I don’t know if they help, but it makes me laugh.”
Lexi’s southern hospitality shines, even early in the morning, as she usually offers patrons coffee or a little snack and has a box of free toys for kids. “Sometimes, a good Krispy Kreme doughnut will make anyone buy anything,” she laughed while musing on a new trend she’d like to start – the brunch yard sale. “Wouldn’t that be great? If we could brunch, and shop?”
When pricing items, Lexi noted the importance of determining motivation. Does a seller want to get rid of stuff, or do they want to make money? “To me, there is value in moving this stuff out of my home. I don’t want to take it back in. My things are priced to sell,” she said. Consistent with Lexi’s motivation, all of her items are usually unmarked and cost $1. If something is more than the flat price, she marks it. “I think I’m either efficient or naturally lazy,” she joked.
Lexi sets up a clear boundary and tells patrons that nothing behind the cash register is for sale, but still, yard salers will always try to venture out of bounds. “I always have to put a sign on Harriet that says, ‘Not for sale.’”
A self-described “people person,” Lexi grew up working with the public in her family’s restaurant and is now the director of the Women’s Business Center at Fayetteville’s Center for Economic Empowerment and Development (C.E.E.D). For Lexi, meeting different people enriches the experience, even when they ask to go into her home and shop for more items or haggle over fifty cents.
Finally, for someone interested in holding their first sale, she offered sage, potentially time-saving advice with cheer: “Yard sale patrons are an eclectic group and the questions you get are hilarious. Don’t take anything personally. I’ve worked around people my whole life, but if you don’t like doing that, it’s probably better to just donate your stuff.”
“Saling” for the Introvert
For bargain shoppers who do not enjoy the thrill or camaraderie of early weekend mornings, online yard sales are gaining popularity. While Craigslist has held a virtual corner on the online swapping market for years, sites like Bookoo and, Lexi’s favorite, Varage Sale, are gaining popularity with shoppers who seek a more focused search area.
Getting Started with Bookoo
One of the more user-friendly (and free!) virtual yard sale sites was created by two brothers whose large families had budgets that depended on frequent yard sale patronage.
With a free Bookoo account, users can search by category or browse new listings, follow sellers and items, communicate with other buyers and sellers and track sales and purchases with the website’s Money Tracker function.
If sellers want to list more than ten items at the same time, post more than one picture of an item, use bold titles or write longer item descriptions, they can upgrade to an “Unlimited” membership.
Currently, members receive a free Unlimited membership for two months. After expiration, users may extend their Unlimited status by purchasing an extension (less than $10 per month, depending on the length of extension) or earn credits to extend their Unlimited status by inviting others to join Bookoo.
Buyers and sellers meet in-person for transactions and the website does not collect a fee per sale. If a seller is holding a live sale at their home, they can post about that, too, and Bookoo will link a map to the sale.
Locations near Fayetteville include an active Fort Bragg page, along with Goldsboro, Lumberton and Sanford. With active local online communities and a smart phone, extra cash or a great deal are just a click away. Go ahead, explore some new territory and set “sale” this spring!