This weekend is a busy one at my church – our largest fundraiser, The Second Time Around Sale takes place! This is an annual, gigantic garage sale that utilizes several of the many rooms in the basement and on the first floor of our church building. Downstairs are the clothing, tools and sporting goods, toys, and holidays departments, and upstairs are housewares (one of the largest and most successful departments), jewelry, antiques, books, CDs & DVDs, popcorn sales, and homemade baked goods. Outside is the furniture tent and food sales (hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, chips, soda).
The last Sunday of every month is collection day. People clean out their basements, closets, summer homes, etc. and donate tons of items. It all gets stored on the stage behind the curtain and in the basement, until April when volunteers sort and price everything. On the three days of the sale, more volunteers work in each department to sell the items and collect the money, pack them, etc. People come from miles around to this sale and go around with shopping carts and huge shopping bags to find the best deals. You know the old saying: “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.” We generally net between $15-23,000 on this fundraiser alone.
To celebrate this annual event, I am dedicating this week’s Flashback Friday to the Second Time Around Sale at First Congregational Church of Des Plaines, Illinois.
The same month that I went to that Bulls game in 1991 that I wrote about last week, I also bought some cheap furniture and housewares at the Second Time Around Sale to help furnish my ex-husband’s apartment. The lack of furniture and household goods seemed to be an excuse for him not to move out of my apartment and into the one he had rented, so I spent about $50 that year “encouraging” him to move by buying a floor lamp, a living room chair, some pillows, plates and glasses, a fan, and a dinette set.
I have worked in various departments during the sale over the last several years, including the food tent (one year it was so rainy, cold and windy, that the tent barely provided any relief, and another year we were all sweating under the plastic tent with hot smoke from the grill billowing around us!), holiday (where I got a great deal on a Christmas tree that we’ve used ever since, and a set of Christmas dishes that I pull out every year for a family holiday dinner), housewares, and toys.
I purchased a lot of games and cheap “prizes” for my students during the times I worked in toys, and every year I find something worth a dollar or so to buy in housewares!
One year we got a great crock-pot for $3, and I’ve also bought toasters and blenders for friends who have no money to buy things new.
Flyers go up around town and people take stacks of them to distribute at their workplaces. I have seen people I know from far-flung suburbs show up at our sale.
I think this year’s sale is the one to which I’ve donated the most: last September, family members met at our summer cottage in Northern Wisconsin to clean it out, since we are planning on selling it this year. We left furniture and household goods necessary to both show the place and stay there during warm months before it’s sold. Other than the basics, though, the rest had to be gotten rid of! There were nearly 50 years worth of accumulated stuff that either got thrown out or stuffed into bags for donation! We went to Minocqua, the nearest major town, to find out the hours of a donation center there – but alas, it was closed for several weeks! So we rented a trailer, filled it to overflowing, covered it with a tarp and hauled it back to Illinois in order to donate it all to my church’s sale! The last Sunday in September, I kept the volunteers at church very busy as they unloaded numerous black trash bags stuffed with our cottage memories!
The last several years, I have been assigned to housewares, but this year I’m back to working in toys and the food tent. I’m in for a busy weekend!