Mark and I had set off on what looked like a misty but promising morning with a miscellany of people’s unwanted items in the back of the van. We had to call at Michelle’s to collect more of the same. I knew there were a couple of bags already at Todmorden that Lisa Stocks had donated. This made a decent collection of bric a brac and one that hopefully had a wide range of goods.
We got to the centre and set about unloading and setting up. I have to admit my presentation skills left something to be desired and so it was left to Mark to apply some merchandising nous. It was slow to begin with and for the first hour I think only 3 people came in to have a butcher’s. Takings were slow and meagre until we had a big spending family in who went mental and coughed up a tenner. I thought we were off at this point and that we were going to get rid of everything before elevenses. Bit hasty that thinking really. Had a few more people in during the next hour or so and it was good to talk to people and tell them what we are trying to do in the centre. Some had experience working in recovery and mental health and were genuinely interested in the project. It was great to have this chance to talk about things as that is the whole point of doing the sale; to raise the profile, get the message across and maybe make some connections.
Michelle came down and helped out for a while and we managed to shift a bit of stuff. It was amusing to see what strange things people were attracted to. I went and had a look at a few other sales and also popped into the Town Hall to check out the surplus sale they were holding. This comprised mainly of paraffin Tilly lamps and some chairs. We held on until just after three and then decided to call it a day. I was unimpressed with the £30 we took until I talked to other people and realised we had actually done better than most. The best was £70 and that was someone who was only selling Lego. I actually spoke to one person who only took a pound. Bearing this in mind we had a great days trading. I think overall the real benefit was getting some people in the door and having the chance to engage and give a positive impression of what Calderdale Recovery Steps is all about. That is priceless.
This was the first GST in the UK. Hopefully it will be a bigger success next year.
Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 9
About Garage Sale Trail
Garage Sale Trail began in Sydney, Australia in 2010. It was originally an idea to combat illegal dumping – “Don’t Dump It, Sell It” – conceived by two friends, Darryl Nichols and Andrew Valder. In just over four years the programme has grown from a partnership with one council and just 126 garage sales, to a national initiative with over 133 councils and more than 8,000 sales registered all over Australia – the fastest growing community and sustainability programme in the whole country!
Us lot in the UK thought it was a great idea so, in partnership with Darryl and Andrew, we’re bringing Garage Sale Trail over the oceans to streets near you for the first time in 2015.