Neighborhood spring cleaning at Community Garage Sale
By Lou Fancher
Many people might name a sport, apple pie or the nation's flag as an American symbol. But for others, it's the community garage sale.
There's a commonality when a neighborhood rolls up its doors and offers years of accumulated goods for sale.
Recognizing the need for spring cleaning of attics and closets, the Town of Moraga provides sales and marketing tips for registered sellers and maps for shoppers at the annual Community Garage Sale. This year's event runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 21.
Recreation Coordinator Clinton Calkins says the $15 fee puts individual and group seller locations on maps that are available May 18 online, at the Moraga town offices, the Moraga Library and Hacienda de las Flores. With 30 registered garage sales last year, she says the numbers this year are strong.
Emily Blanck is one of the few people from 2015 who will not be returning, but only because she sold nearly everything to make a downsizing move to Walnut Creek.
"We were in the process of moving, and the timing was perfect," she says. "We sold almost everything we had out: furniture, tools and housewares. The only things that didn't sell were tablecloths. No one uses them anymore."
Blanck had lived in Moraga for 24 years and says the most unusual things sold were old screws, bolts and nails that she and her husband had accumulated in their more than 42 years of marriage. Her favorite take-aways were having the opportunity to say goodbye to neighbors and seeing people who "were delighted to get our furniture at bargain prices."
One young man furnished his future college dorm room; others furnished second homes.
"I felt really proud that we had only a small pickup truck's worth of stuff to (take) to the dump when we moved," says Blanck.
Calkins says that local charitable organizations often welcome unsold items in good condition. To identify an appropriate charity, the town recommends referring to the Contra Costa County Recycling & Waste Reduction website (http://www.cccounty.us/depart/cd/recycle).
Amy Morosini is a relative newcomer to Moraga, having moved to the town in 2013. This year marks her third community garage sale and she says she's more organized every year.
"I was better prepared the second time. I had price stickers on all of the items I was selling and I sorted T-shirts by size. I sell a lot of brand new T-shirts that I have left over from a printing business I used to own. They are my bestsellers because I sell quality brands for really cheap."
The sales have allowed Morosini, a crafter and a triathlete, and her three sons, all avid bikers, to unload equipment, toys and other materials they no longer use.
"Everything I own has some sort of sentimental value to me, and I have a hard time letting things go, so I stored what couldn't fit in the house in the garage. The garage was stacked from floor to ceiling and you couldn't even walk through it," she said. "These garage sales allow me to part with items that I no longer have room for in my life. It's much easier to part with something when you at least get a little money in return for it."
One item she sold carries a pleasant echo.
"I sold a wooden sign that had my name, Amy, painted on it. It was a gift I received when I was a little girl from my grandmother. It was mustard yellow. It was so 1970s," she said. "I didn't even have it out for sale, it was propped up in my garage. A woman saw it and told me her granddaughter's name was Amy and asked me if I would be willing to sell it to her. I was more than happy to get rid of it. I don't know why I even still had it. I think I sold it to her for $5."