Garage sales are a great way to unload unwanted items and make a few extra bucks.

But some residents across America have been holding yard sales of epic proportions and now towns are looking to crack down.

Richard Zambito, of Alexandria, Virginia, has seen a recent jump in garage sales in his neighborhood, some of which are being held on a weekly basis. “Two weeks ago, I drove by a home and they were having an auto sale, 20 cars parked on the lawn,” he said. “And I went by another home and saw the yard full of appliances, including vacuum cleaners, washing machines and driers.”

According to Zambito, the sales create traffic and litter problems. He’s now on a mission to have county officials keep them under control. Likewise, in a borough of Pittsburgh, town council president Clentin Martin introduced an ordinance to limit the number of garage sales residents can have every year. The city council of Dallas passed a similar law and now requires residents to pay a $15 fee for each sale they hold.

So, why the recent explosion in garage sales? Not surprisingly, the answer lies in the bad economy. “The middle class appears to be shrinking while the lower-classes are growing, and members of the middle class seem to be engaging in thrift behaviors,” explained Todd Goodsell, an assistant sociology professor at Brigham Young University.

[Today]