Garage sales are places where you can buy used ornaments, cutlery, furniture, books. And cars.
That is exactly what Larry Baker bought from a garage sale in the ‘60s, when asked what was the most interesting thing he bought. After all, cars and garages go hand in hand.
Baker has been going to garage sales “since they started in the ‘60s”. And he goes to garage sales almost every weekend since.
“Used to travel as far as Toronto when they first started because very few people had them,” said Baker. “Heck, I got a lot of people started on garage sales.”
He now visits them around Burlington, Waterdown and Flamborough.
Today, he is looking for a “riding lawn mower”.
Lisa Alderson, who joined the interview, exclaimed “Oh, I just sold one! With the bags and everything!”
Baker said he would prefer to buy one at a garage sale rather than a store, as it was cheaper.
“I can fix them myself and they’re great. Don’t need a new one,” he said.
Alderson had recognized Baker as he was a regular customer.
Baker was at the Stupple residence for their family garage sale. The Stupples, Tim and Cathy, had been holding garage sales “on and off” for the past 27 years that they owned the property.
Two years ago, their relatives decided they needed to “downsize” for a move to Mexico and the Stupples held a family garage sale.
The Stupples have had everything from “dishes, clothing, old furniture, some antiques, golf balls, golf clubs, tires, old garden tools” in the last 27 years. This year, they even had a sail boat that Cathy Stupple said could “fold and put in the back of your car”.
“It’s just fun seeing someone else take your stuff and it’s a treasure to them and it’s making them happy,” said Cathy Stupple.
Some of her customers see their sign and drop by, while others see ads that they had placed in the Flamborough Review, Hamilton Spectator and internet broadcast Cable 14.
She goes to other garage sales and determines her prices based on the prices that others are selling similar goods.
“Basically you put a price on it and that’s kinda like a starting feature,” said Cathy Stupple. “Some people will just pay you the price on it and some people will bargain with you a little bit and that’s fun too. It’s fun, that’s what it’s all about. And you’re just trying to get rid of it anyway.”
“If you make $200 to $300 [each garage sale] that’s great,” she added.
Over in Greensville, Shirley Rankin also held a garage sale, but for a different reason.
Her husband had passed away 17 years ago and she was a widow.
One year later, a loved one suffered an injury which led to permanent disability. She cleaned out her garage and started having garage sales to raise money. The proceeds from her garage sale go to helping that loved one.
“I small started doing little garage sales, then it just grew. And all my friends gave me their stuff and now their kids give me their stuff,” said Rankin, whose garage was packed with various little ornaments, furniture and other random items.
Her garage sale is open all year round. She tells her customers that if her white car is parked on the driveway, she will open the door if they knock.
“If I don’t sell stuff here, after two or three garage sales, I move it down the way. I take it to Choices,” she added.
Light rain and a cloudy day could not keep people away from the garage sales. It was only when a storm, described by a local resident as “like nothing I had seen before” loomed above, turning day into night, that shoppers fled for shelter and left the sales.