Victoria Day Saturday Yard Sale Fund Raiser
For almost as long as Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs has been around, there has been an annual Yard Sale Fund Raiser Community Event. Barry and I look at it as more than just a fund raiser.
Yes, in many ways this is a major fund raiser for Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs. By major we mean that it will raise about $800. This helps kick start the summer finances after a long hard financial winter. These funds are necessary in providing the humanitarian aid of household items to our community.
So for a single day event of fund raising, this is huge! It is almost an entire month’s funds needed to operate. Remember, we operate Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs on an annual budget of about $15,000.
The funds raised help with many expenses that need to be covered to assist the community. You see, Barry and I quite often, although now getting into our later 50’s have to go and pick up most of the donations. Yes, even the bed couches. We also many times have to deliver items to their new homes too. Many of the people we assist do not have a means of transportation.
This means we have to be able to put gas into our truck, pay for insurance, and deal with any repairs. For instance, this spring we have to change the tires on the truck.
So one purpose to this annual event is to raise funds.
Declutter And Downsize
Another important part of this annual Yard Sale Fund Raiser Community Event is to declutter and downsize. It is a perfect opportunity for Barry and I to shift and rotate the donated items around. Whether that be inside or outside of the house. This event brings a whole new perspective to the notion of Spring Cleaning!
During the winter months we continue to assist people in need of household items, and have downsized many items. However, at the conclusion of winter it becomes apparent that certain areas need an over haul. One such area is frequently the candles and vases section.
We receive a multitide of donations of these particular items. Although we give away a huge amount of these items to the people we assist, there comes a time when the stock needs to refreshed.
I’m not so sure that it is for the client’s benefit – after all they have not been here before. Perhaps it is just our way of presenting this area to clients. It seems to become stagnant and few items seem to leave. But after doing a major sorting, dusting and changing the shelf display—things start to move again.
So we go through many areas of our home and start to shift and sort items. Yes, our home. We manage and operate Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs in our home.
After The Winter
You might think that during the winter months things would be slower for us ministry wise. Yes, on some levels that can be true.
However, one area that we struggle with is the room to move and shift the donations around. Many times they come in and then get “stuck” in an area. Not because we don’t need those items. No, the biggest problem is the space needed to rotate items around. Especially in the winter months.
With the winter, also comes the difficulty to move items in and out of our storage areas outside of the house. Even the shipping container is hard to access due to the cold and snow. So, many, many items that actually need to be stored out there such as Christmas trees, decorations, and more, end up being stored in our dining room and living room all winter.
Getting Ready For The Yard Sale
So we look forward with long awaited eagerness to the annual Victoria Day Saturday Yard Sale Fund Raiser. This is an event that takes most of the beginning of the month of May to even prepare for. All while still dealing with incoming and outgoing items. Everyone is starting to do spring cleaning. This means that many weeks 20 truckloads of items will arrive from our generous community donors. But we don’t yet have the space, so things get a lot tighter to move around until this event.
The entire week before this event we book off to both donations and clients if possible so we can prepare.
Out come the:
- Muskoka chairs,
- patio tables,
- lawn chairs,
- gardening tools,
- men’s work tools,
- women’s purses,
- outdoor toys
- unique items that cottagers are always looking for
- larger furniture pieces that have been around for 6 months or more
- and so much more.
As it is primarily just Barry and I having to move and organize all of this, we do need the entire week to get organized. So piles are made in various areas around the property and tarped until the Saturday morning.
Previously I will have sent notices of this event off to the local newspaper and community radio station. On Friday afternoon, however, armed with cardboard signs, ladder, hammer, and electrical staples, we post signs. Over the years we have located one particular street corner that gets a ton of traffic exposure. As a result, many people will post their upcoming yard sale events there. So, if you are looking for a yard sale, this is a great spot to go and grab the address information.
Now that signs are posted, Barry and I return back home to relax and get ready to be in bed by 8 pm. That is because the morning will be coming soon enough, and Saturday can be a very exhausting and long day.
Saturday Morning Arrives
The big day is here! Barry and I are up, have breakfast and are starting to set up by 5 am. Yes, 5 am. We now have 3 precious hours to set up tables, display items, uncover piles and spread them out.
By 6 am shoppers are arriving. Although not officially open until 8 am, there are some people on their way to work who will try to take a quick peek and a fast purchase. They know all too well, that by the time they get finished work there won’t be much left.
By 8 am, the crowds begin and will continue all day long. Even though the blackflies and mosquitoes are annoying, people will come, browse, and shop for an hour or more.
A Community Social Event
You see there is more than just coming and shopping for a great deal. This is the huge “Welcome” to the better weather event in our region. We have people who have waited all winter long for this event.
In particular there is a woman, now in her 80’s, who faithfully for many, many years has made it part of her family tradition to come up this weekend and open the cottage. One of the parts of this is stopping at our place.
We greet each other with huge hugs and excitedly share about our winter months with each other. Both she and I look forward to this. Although I know that she doesn’t need any items, she chooses to bless us every year by buying several items so she can show her support. She is such a dear, dear lady.
But she is just one of the many who regularly attend this event year after year after year. People come to visit us, but they also come to meet up and visit with each other. Yes, without an exaggeration, some people will stay for over an hour, just browsing, shopping, and socializing.
We have learned throughout the years of dealing with community issues that the ability to socialize and connect with people is a huge part of helping people cope. Cope with numerous situations from mental health, to even making financial situations not feel so bad.
So, personally, I believe that our Victoria Day Saturday Yard Sale Fund Raiser is hugely important because of the socializing.
Deals For Antique Dealers And Collectors Alike
The antique store dealers or their representatives are also regular attendees. Even those who just like and appreciate items from the past can come and find many unique items. As a major goal of our events is to downsize, word has gotten around that our prices are fair and reasonable too.
Less Than 10% Of Total Donations Are Sold
For those who may be concerned that we may sell more items than we give away, let us put your mind at ease. Out of the hundreds of truckloads that are donated annually, it is only a very small percentage of items that are sold.
We estimate that 10% or less of items that we receive we actually put out for sale.
In fact in keeping with this principle, by the end of the day, usually late afternoon, Barry goes out to the edge of the property with signs. On those signs is the word – FREE!
So, yes, as one of the major goals of the day is to downsize, the rest of the items are given away.
In fact, the next two days to follow on this Victoria Day weekend are also a long awaited annual event—the Free Clothes & More. So stay tuned for more information on that part of our weekend long events.
Wrapping Up The Yard Sale
This Victoria Day Saturday Yard Sale Fund Raiser event takes most of the month to prepare for. But within a day it is completed. The goals of this event again are:
- raise funds for Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs
- move antiques onto new homes
- and clear space for new donations to arrive
As you can imagine, without a doubt, Barry and I both will be exhausted at the end of the day. In fact, we typically go to bed even before it is dark outside.
The remaining items for the day will be left out as “freebies” to passerbys. And these shoppers often continue to pick up great deals until dark. Some have even been reported to shop after dark when they bring their flashlights too.
This is an event that is looked forward to by many, both year round residents and tourists. Perhaps if you are ever in the region on the Victoria Day Saturday Yard Sale Fund Raiser, we will see you come and take part in the festivities too!