The Garage Sale Trail first launched in 2010 with the goal of promoting community engagement through sustainable recycling and reuse of unwanted items. The project has since boomed, and just last year, the Garage Sale Trail was responsible for the recycling and redistribution of 1.5 million items, and more than 230, 000 new community connections. It is undoubtedly as it claims; the biggest community and sustainability event in Australia. It was with this in mind that I decided to take on the Garage Sale Trail in my own community, and on a sunny Saturday afternoon in late October, I mapped out my very own Garage Sale Trail across West End in Brisbane. My first stop, somewhat blasphemously, was not actually a garage sale. But as the event was focused around the theme of sustainability and community, I figured my journey through West End would not be complete without a stop at the West End Markets. Plus, really needed some veggies. As usual, I was definitely not disappointed. Bustling with Brisbanities and bursting with brilliantly fresh produce, the West End Markets boast everything from your average household veggies to delectable chilli-chocolate chai lattes, from super-smoothies packed with wheatgrass to indulgent mini Dutch pancakes smothered in cream. If going along isn’t on your Saturday schedule by now, make sure you get there this weekend, if not sooner! So, having mapped out my trail on the Garage Sale Trail website and downloaded it onto my phone, I armed myself with a tasty latte and set out on my quest for trendy, pre-loved items. Again, I was not disappointed. Of all the five garages I wandered into that afternoon, only one of them saw me leave empty-handed. A floaty floral dress that no longer fit its previous owner, an unopened risotto-making kit, an armful of Jane Austen classics and a delicate crane-shaped incense holder crept one by one into my tote bag – all costing me less than my breakfast that morning! Of course, a true Trail experience is nothing without a friendly word from the sellers, and my little afternoon journey certainly did push me out into getting to know more about the lovely residents of West End. One who was selling off everything she owned to pick up and travel South America, one who was expecting his first child and cleaning out the junk in the spare room. One had just recently become an empty-nester and was finally getting rid of her child’s old trinkets, and one family were preparing to make the seachange to further down the coast. Each seller had a wonderful story, and their garage sale was a symbol of them moving on in some way or another. It was a beautiful experience to meet and engage with these people, and heartwarming to know that I had rescued my treasures from clogging up a landfill somewhere. Thank you Garage Sale Trail, I can’t wait for next year.
AUTHOR: Mel Keyte
IMAGES: courtesy of Mel Keyte