“Trash” to Cash

The perks of a community yard sale

While some people are sleeping in on weekends, others are scouring yard sales. And while treasure hunting for that soon-to-be upcycled item might be fun, organizing a yard sale is another story.

For a higher degree of difficulty and even better environmental returns, try a neighborhood yard sale! Sure, it sounds like a logistics nightmare, but real estate agent KC Schuft, who lives in the southeast Sacramento neighborhood of Colonial Heights, has it down to a science. You can use her system, too!

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Though the annual Colonial Heights sale has been going on for years, KC picked up the responsibility of organizing just a few years ago. She starts two months in advance by posting a “save the date” on social media platforms like Nextdoor. Then she follows up by hand-delivering flyers to the 700 homes in the area, inviting households to participate. An RSVP gets participants on the yard sale map and their special items promoted on Facebook and Craigslist. On the first day of the weekend event, KC sets up a table at the neighborhood main entrance with signs and maps for shoppers. 

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When I attended the sale, I immediately got the neighborly vibe. Friends of mine who bought a house in this neighborhood a year ago are the new kids on the block, and they are already well loved. Multiple friends who did not live in the community came out to see them, hang out, eat doughnuts, and of course, buy items and check out the other yard sales. I think friends coming to visit and eat doughnuts was my favorite part. 

While it’s tough to say how much was spared from the landfill since items weren’t inventoried, I know at least two purses, a backpack, a skein of purple yarn, and a honey jar were saved from the weekly trash pickup, because they went home with me. All those items are being put to good use (or should I say, reuse!) for only a fraction of the price I would have paid in a store. My uncle is enjoying the ’90s R&B records and ceramic Christmas items he bought for $10.

My friend suggested unsold items be donated to a local charity. She offered her home as a collection point at the end of the sale, and neighbors brought unsold items to her house where the charity picked them up the next day—undoubtedly preventing more things from ending up at the dump while also raising money for those in need.

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While keeping material out of landfills might not have been on most residents’ minds, their annual neighborhood yard sale helps build their community while protecting the environment, suburbia-style.

— TC Clark
Posted on Oct 26, 2017

Summary: While some people are sleeping in on weekends, others are scouring yard sales. And while treasure hunting for that soon-to-be upcycled item might be fun, organizing a yard sale is another story. For a higher degree of difficulty and even better environmental returns, try a neighborhood yard sale!