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Garage Sale Trail, Canberra’s big weekend of bargain hunting

Over $57,000 is expected to change hands at garage sales in the ACT this weekend, 21-22 November, with 239 secondhand stalls registered and more than 76,000 objects up for grabs as part of the annual Garage Sale Trail.

Scanning the extensive ACT listings reveals bric-a-brac to boost retirement funds in Amaroo, a multi-generational women’s fashion wardrobe clear-out in Pearce, snowboards and snow gear in Dunlop and antiques in Kambah.

On the way to the coast, there are six garage sales listed in Bungendore, and three each in Braidwood and around Batemans Bay.

The nationwide event began a decade ago in response to a longstanding problem with illegal dumping in Byron Bay.

Two friends, Darryl Nichols and Andrew Valder, set out to discover how many garage sales their suburb could muster in one day – they aimed for 50 and ended up with over 120.

Mr Nichols said the concept really connected with the local community – hipster cool kids, families and older generations.

Co-founder Darryl Nichols says part of the charm of the event is that it fosters community. Image: Supplied.

From that point, the grassroots initiative took off, and Mr Nichols said the ACT Government was a big supporter from the get-go.

“Minister Rattenbury got wind of it in its first year and said he’d love to have a conversation about bringing it to the ACT,” he said.

Mr Rattenbury told Canberra Weekly he’s still a fan of the event.

“It’s fun, it’s social and you never know what you’re going to find,” he said.

“I think it’ll be particularly enjoyable for people to connect with their local communities and do some good for the planet by reducing waste, after this year of social isolation and environmental disasters that helped us see how powerful we can be when we work together.”  

Although the Garage Sale Trail has become a local and international sensation, it remains low-key by nature.

Everyone sets up their garage sale a bit differently, some give tea and coffee and there are always great conversations.

“One of the real merits of Garage Sale Trail is it gives people permission to say g’day to that person on their street that they see often but never stop to say hello,” Mr Nichols said.

One woman’s story sprang to mind.

“She said she had an amazing day, she sold stuff –  but she said the best thing about her experience was that now she could stop to say hello to her neighbour walking down the street in a pair of jeans she’d just sold to her.”

Nationally, almost 2.5 million items are set to be diverted from landfill, some of which will be sold online for the first time in the event’s history.

Due to COVID-19, many sellers are opting to host sales on Facebook Live or Instagram and face-to-face set-ups will adhere to social distancing requirements.

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