So, lately I have been into major spring cleaning and purging. I began to realize the value of spring cleaning (or “nesting season”, as I like to call it) when I moved in with my husband at his parent’s house and the only personal nest I’ve got is a 20-something sqm bedroom that I now share with him and our handful little angel. I had to learn to keep just the things we need and use to maintain the room as liveable a space as possible.
But one big dilemma of doing this whole spring-cleaning exercise is what to do with all the things you decided to let go of. Sayang to just throw them, especially if they are still in good condition, right?!
Last year, we had major decluttering at home (just a few months after dad passed away) so we organized a garage sale in our neighborhood. It was super fun, not to mention a major hit! But it wasn’t so easy to pull off. First, your neighborhood should be up for it because you need a captured market. Second, you literally should have a garage because you need a space to turn into a mini warehouse. And lastly, it calls for major general cleaning and purging in one go because you should have as much stuff to sell as possible to make the time and effort all worth it.
This year, while we were all fumbling with the thought of another garage sale, my sister-in-law and another close friend ushered me into this group on FB called The Manila Online Garage Sale (MOGS). Yes folks, garage sale just got E-ven better!
MOGS is a closed group but once you get in, it’s like being virtually transported to a buzzing marketplace full of good finds, both used and pre-loved and even brand new! You know the thrill you feel when you go to a bazaar or a warehouse sale? It’s exactly the same thrill when you log into the group page (or at least for me haha!). The members get to buy, sell, and bid on items, which are mostly sold below the average market price. Great deals, SALE, anyone?. If those words didn’t excite you, I don’t know what will (kidding ;-).
Most of the items being sold by members of the group are stuff that they have at home but they no longer use or need. You can find homewares, kitchenwares, home decors, appliances, clothes, shoes, bags, little trinkets, and basically anything. Much like a garage sale, but all transactions are done online until a sale is made. The group has 8000+ members so you can expect a wide variety and assortment of items for sale everyday.
But what I like most about this group is the kind of culture and vibe that it was able to cultivate and sustain among its members. I am also a part of other buy and sell groups in Facebook, but I could say that this is one of the most dynamic. While others mainly just serve as a free site to post ads without actual active buyers, MOGS has managed to maintain an environment where most members actually participate and benefit both as a buyer and seller. So if you intend to sell, you already have a captured market for your goods. And if you intend to buy, most of the time at least one member can offer you what you need.
There are also certain rules in the group that are meant to protect both parties. Such as rules that prohibit selling of fake and counterfeit items and unhygienic products. Proof of authenticity especially for high-value items is a must. Sellers should also openly disclose the condition of the items they are selling, especially used and pre-loved ones. Buyers, on the other hand, should be committed in follow-through of sales done and not leave the seller hanging. So even if deals are done online, you can be assured of authenticity and transparency and honesty of transactions.
I believe that was all thanks to the group’s creators and admins. I had a little virtual chat with them a few weeks back and I really admire the vision they had for the group and how they were able to carry it out. Managing a group with thousands of members online (and still growing organically!), most of whom you do not personally know, is a tough job. These guys have their own businesses and professions and careers to run and social lives to live but they are able to squeeze in some of their time to ensure the group doesn’t fall off. They have done a great job shaping and revising rules, screening members, and resolving any issues within the group. And they just it do it out of passion.
Yes, I admit I can be a little shopaholic at times. But being part of the group also taught me important lessons such as being smarter and practical with my purchases. I realized I have also become more mindful of my personal stuff, knowing that when the time comes that I won’t need or want it anymore it should still be in good condition to serve its purpose to someone else. And most importantly, I became more aware of the value of the things I have. This whole nesting and purging season I had with MOGS even allowed me to earn and it has helped us with our finances. Would you believe we were able to raise our whole travel fund for the year just from selling items we no longer use in this group! Little treasures are everywhere and sometimes you just have to look around.
Credits: Special thanks to the group’s admins for sharing some info and thoughts: Natalie, a policy maker and regulator by profession with masters in finance, and Christine and Raymond, husband and wife who run their own business.