Garage Sales – Doing it for (the) community

Jenny Trapnell shows off her first garage sale find this year,
a decorative item for the garden

In early April, 79-year-old Lorraine White did what lots of Yukoners do: she held a garage sale. White, who was moving to Vancouver Island, sold her furniture and old china at her Takhini senior’s residence, and gave away the rest.

Moving on or moving out are two reasons for garage sales.
Connecting with community is another.

Since last year’s closing of the Sally Ann’s thrift store, garage sales have become more important than ever for the reuse and recycle crowd. Garage sales take off after school ends, said Stephanie Newsome, operations manager at the Yukon News. Its Friday edition has the “go-to” listing for garage salers.

A few trends she’s noticed: more neighbourhood sales, “especially in Riverdale,” and collectives of people renting tables.

Last year Patrick Jackson started renting tables for flea markets held at his used sports gear store, drawing 1,000 shoppers each time. He’s hosting four flea markets this year.

“People don’t want to throw things away,” Jackson said. As a recycler himself, he likes “the vibe” of garage saling. And while the flea markets help profile his business, he said, the rentals don’t bring in much more than a regular day.

Jackson donated rent from the first sales to the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter and calls the markets “ a community investment.”

Other sale organizers agree.

Proceeds from the sixth annual Gala Fundraiser for Little Footprints, Big Steps – a Haiti-based charity founded by Yukoner Morgan Wienberg – will help buy everything from pencils to school uniforms for 400 children.

But the organizer of the “biggest, wildest garage sale ever” – Karen Wienberg, Morgan’s mom – also sees the event as a way to give back.

“Bring us your great items, and leave with other people’s great items,” she said.

Wienberg is part of a group of non-profits exploring possible venues for a thrift store to replace the Salvation Army’s thrift store. What doesn’t sell at the gala on Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 will go to those in need inside and outside Whitehorse. The doors open at 10 a.m.

The Royal Canadian Legion’s fourth annual sale, which takes place May 11 to 13, supports programs for service and RCMP veterans, including Rangers.

“Garage sales are really an important part of the community,” said Legion volunteer Sylvia Kitching, who’s hosting the event at her Porter Creek home.

“They’re recreation, fundraising, cleaning out stuff. They’re great!”

She enjoys going to sales to “get a glimpse into how people live.”

Admitting she doesn’t buy as much as she used to – “I’m trying to get rid of stuff,” – Kitching said she always gets a little tchotchke, meaning a little gem.

“It’s a carefree time – and you’re not going to spend a fortune out there.”

My first garage saling experience was prompted by a friend who insisted we would find good quality used items for my baby-to-be. She’d organized a list by neighbourhood, and times, circling ads with key words, like “baby” or “toys”. Armed with coins and small bills, and perhaps a map (for new subdivisions), we’d head out as “early birds” –from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

We knew we’d found a good sale where there was a crowd, people visiting, smiling, and walking away with stuff – lots of stuff.

Garage sale etiquette

  • Don’t bargain too much.
  • Holding a sale? Don’t expect too much. Give a deal to a new buyer, and they’ll linger and buy more.
  • Good pieces may be priced, but most things are not (look for a FREE box with usable items).
  • Go early.
  • Take a list, small change and small bills.
  • Don’t brag about your finds.
  • Donate what you don’t use anymore. And once every few years, have a garage sale. It’s good for (the) community.

Upcoming sales and events

Check Facebook, Kijiji, local newspapers, or CKRW’s Trader Time at 10 a.m. on Saturdays for listings.

Two big ones (non-profit)

Little Footprints, Big Steps’ 6th annual Gala Fundraiser
When: Saturday, May 12 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday, May 13 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Where: Whitehorse Elementary School
To donate: Drop off goods after 5 p.m. on Friday, May 11

Royal Canadian Legion Giant Garage Sale
When: Friday May 11 (starts at 4 p.m.); Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 they start at 8:30 a.m.
Where: 14 Willow Cres. Porter Creek

Other upcoming sales:

City of Whitehorse Tag and Take event
When: Saturday, May 12 at dawn to Sunday May 13 at dusk
What: Put out your clean, free, usable items at your curb.
Note: Landfill Tipping fees are waived (with some exceptions) May 14 to 21

Flea Market
When: May 5 and 26; June 9 and 15
Where: Changing Gear, which is located at 91810 Alaska Highway (next to the Bethany Church)
Note: tables are available for rent from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Next Big Find

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