Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

16 October 2018
Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

I was putting up my plastic-free garage sale sign today when a lady walking her dog commented how helpful garage sales are for passing on the stuff you don't use anymore. Most people know what a garage sale is and how good for the environment they are (reusing instead of buying new = less resource reliance and depletion = less waste), but how many know what the Garage Sale Trail is? The lady didn't and you might not either. In a nutshell, the Garage Sale Trail is...

one BIG WEEKEND of garage sales that's happening right across Australia on October 20 and 21.

It's like an Australia wide second hand party happening all over the country. Garage Sale Trail helps those thinking or planning on hosting a sale to advertise and have it placed on a searchable a map for people to find easily. Users are able to search a town or area of their city and plan out a trail of garage sales to visit.

The service is free with resources for not only households but also community groups, local businesses or even the street you live on if you are keen to get one going with your neighbours. According to Garage Sale Trail's website groups use it as a way to fundraise which I think is a great idea. If you are inspired to join up this year its not to late - simply visit their website to learn how to promote your garage sale like a boss this weekend.

Now, if you are joining the Garage Sale Trail this year (and why wouldn't you?) I'd like to make a request...please don't use balloons to advertise your sale. Often after garage sales balloons used on street signs and power poles can be forgotten. Street signs and power polls sit right next to our gutters. Those forgotten balloons will eventually end up in the gutter unless picked up or removed from the poles by people like me and gutters lead to our waterways where those deflated balloons can endanger wildlife. Yes, I know some are made of latex and will break down eventually. But unfortunately our wildlife don't yet know to wait until the balloons have degraded to a small enough size that would make it safe enough to swallow. You can read more at Melbourne Zoo on the dangers and alternatives to balloons.

And it's not only the balloons left behind, the plastic tape used to attach signs and those balloons mentioned above to poles also pose a serious threat and are often forgotten too. Most of the littler ending up in our waterways is by accident.

There is another way to hang a sign up alerting the neighbourhood about your upcoming garage sale and you can even add a bit of fun with cotton fabric. Want to see how I created mine?

Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

I collect an old box, shone twine, jute or coir string (or hemp...anything made of 100% natural fibres), coloured pencils & pen (didn't end up using the pen), scissors and scraps of cotton or another 100% natural fabric.

Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

I cut the sides of box and removed the plastic tape too. I'll keep the plastic tape rather than leave it on the cardboard to avoid it ending up in the environment.

Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

I now have four individual pieces of cardboard. The two larger pieces can be used for the street signs and the others on the day of the garage sale as sign on tables.

Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

Using my coloured pencils I write the details of the garage sale. With the scissors I add four holes in the middle top and middle bottom for the string. Seven holes were also added to the very bottom to thread the coloured scrap fabric through.

Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

A close up photo of the very professional holes with the string threaded through.

Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

And same for the fabric scraps. haha.

Garage Sale Trail (without the balloons and plastic tape)

Now it's ready to hang up on a power pole. If you are looking to put your sign up on pole or anything with a smaller circumference move the holes the string are threaded through closer together. Of course you don't need any fabric or other embellishment if you don't want it. And don't forget to collect your signs after the garage sale.

If you know someone who are using balloons and tape ask them to collect after the garage sale and dispose of both properly.

Happy Garage Sale Trail, Australia! 

Pass on the stuff; pass on memories instead

12 October 2018
My grandma's garden

My grandmother died last month. I'm still finding it hard to believe she is not here. Every other day I keep thinking I should call her for a chat, then realise I've forgotten she's gone. Even though we lived in different countries, I was lucky that I had a close relationship with her. After finishing high school I lived with her so I could get to know my grandmother better as our relationship was mostly conducted through long and expensive phone calls reserved for birthdays and Christmas. And I'm so glad I did live with her because I gained a deep friendship where I learned a lot.

This is the first time I've lost someone close to me. It hurts i'll never see her again and it hurts even more knowing my son didn't get to meet her beyond Skype video chats. The Builder and I had planned to visit next March just before his second birthday and it's now my biggest regret we didn't go sooner. I would have loved that memory of them meeting.

My sister and I inherited her small collection of jewellery but each time I look at her rings, all I think about are the moments lost and memories that will never be made with my son. While I have many of my own I'll share with him, there is something heart expanding about having the special people in your life meet one another. Losing my grandmother was a painful reminder that collecting stuff is not important. It's the people we love and the memories of these people we cherish, that make for a rich life. I'd happily trade her rings for one last hug. 

We might stick to our plans and make the trip to Arkansas in March (free air flights for children under two which is why I held off visiting for so long!) so I can say a proper goodbye and catch up with the rest of the family too. Our rough itinerary was to visit Little Rock to see dads family then onto New York where my brother lives and a stop off in San Francisco on the way home as the Builder expressed interest in visiting. Or it will be Dallas or Houston before coming back to Australia. It would be special to take my son for a stroll through her beloved garden. My book Waste Not launches in the US April 2 (7 March in UK) and If we do end up travelling I thought it would be fun to organise North American meet ups in those cities while we are there. 

In happier news, we are enjoying the warmer weather and getting excited about the Garage Sale Trail happening in a weeks time. Have you signed your garage sale up? This coming Sunday I'll be at Spring Into Gardening Festival doing a zero waste talk plus beeswax wrap demo and co-hosting the Waste Hub with Zero Waste Victoria. Come visit with your questions on how to reduce waste in your life. My speaking events are set for the remainder of the year. I just might be speaking near you soon. 

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