The Yard Sale, Minus the Hassle (and the Leftovers)

The online consignment site Delvage will take all that stuff you don't want to move off your hands and sell it for you. All you have to do is just sit back and wait for the checks.

Imagine: All the tchotchkes you no longer want, gone in one fell swoop. Delvage replaces this with a simple online process. | iStock photo by Basya555

One of the more stress-inducing aspects of the run-up to a move is disposing of all those things you don’t want to take with you. If you don’t have loads of relatives you can foist stuff onto, this usually means holding a yard sale. And that usually means spending several days with all your stuff around you, spilling out of your garage, as you sit there and hope that lots of people will come by and buy most of it.

Or it could mean flooding Craigslist with online classifieds, one for each item you want to sell.

In either case, the more stuff you want to get rid of, the less likely you’ll get rid of all of it. Besides, as Dawn Fournier says, “Do you really want to put 400 items on Craigslist and have 400 people show up at your door?”

Fournier is the chief marketing officer for Delvage, an online “consignment shop” created to relieve the soon-to-move, or anyone with too much stuff on their hands, of their burdens.

They haul, they sell, you relax

Literally. It works like this: A seller contacts Delvage with stuff they want to sell. Delvage staff come out to their home or office, take pictures of all the stuff, ask the seller what price they want to charge for each item, then measure all the goods, pack everything into boxes and cart it all off. That’s the last the buyer sees of the stuff they wanted to get rid of.

Pictures of everything go up on the Delvage website. When an item sells, Delvage ships it to the buyer and sends the seller a check for a portion of the proceeds. If the buyer has any issue, Delvage handles it. And if an item is still hanging around on the site after six months, Delvage will either donate it to charity and send the seller a receipt for the charitable donation or return it if the seller wants it back.

Now wasn’t that easy?

Taking advantage of three trends

The New Yorker who started the online garage sale — Fournier described him as “a serial entrepreneur who wishes to remain anonymous” — thought so, she says. “He started it because he saw he was able to take advantage of three trends.

“One, downsizing was such a huge issue. People were moving from homes they raised their children in, and all of a sudden they had a lifetime of items to dispose of. You can’t move from 4,500 square feet to 1,500 square feet and expect to keep everything.

“Another was the fact that we can’t simply dispose of objects the way we have been — we can’t just keep throwing them in landfills. Then there was e-commerce, and that’s not going away.”

And thus was born the biggest of the worldwide flea markets, helping households from Connecticut to Virginia find new homes for their oldies but goodies.

The company’s name is formed from parts of two words that describe what it does: staff “delve” into people’s “garages” for buried treasure and put what they find up for sale on the owners’ behalf.

The difference between Delvage and other online garage-sale sites like Letgo, Fournier explains, is that on the others, the sellers have to remain involved in the process once they list their items for sale. “With us, it’s hassle-free.”

Good for the buyers too

And buyers on the site can also do good while unearthing rare gems. “We have local charity partners” in all the areas where Delvage picks up items, Fournier says. “They all have local promotional codes, and when someone buys from us using their promo code, we give 20 percent of the proceeds to that charity.” In this region, Delvage currently partners with several animal-rescue and -welfare charities, including the Last Chance Ranch in Quakertown, Sam’s Hope in Wyndmoor and Aark Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Chalfont.

Anyone anywhere can buy on Delvage. “We market things and ship worldwide,” Fournier notes. “We’ve sent items to Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom.”

Buyers who register on the site get advance notice of flash sales and special discounts on items.

There are, however, some items Delvage won’t take off your hands. Furniture is one category; clothing, except for shoes and accessories, is the other. (Chances are that you can get rid of your furniture by posting it on Craigslist or Freecycle, the popular online swap meet.)

Currently, about 200 sellers are represented on Delvage, and the staff makes about three pickups per week. About 5,000 buyers have registered for its mailing list. If you have things you’d like to offer to those 5,000-plus buyers, the process starts with a call or email to the number and address on the Delvage website.