15/10/2015 6:01 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST

Garage Sale Trail Could Be The Answer To Your Spring Cleaning Needs

Garage Sale Trail

Don't know what to do with those old paperbacks? Before you chuck that dusty old copy of The Wind In The Willows -- consider this. If 5,000 books find new homes on this year’s Garage Sale Trail, 80 trees would be saved.

For those who haven't heard of the Garage Sale Trail, it's the perfect time to get acquainted. (After all, 'tis the season for spring cleaning.)

The not-for-profit community enterprise is essentially a nationwide garage sale, with the aim of bringing communities together to make reuse easy.

So how does it work? Basically, if you want to host a garage sale (the next national event is on October 24), you can register your sale online. This allows potential shoppers to easily locate your sale as well as browse or search through other sales nearby. In fact, they can even create what is termed as a Treasure Trail and make a day of it.

Sydneysiders Andrew Valder and Darryl Nichols came up with the idea in 2010 when they became sick of seeing all the illegal dumping taking place around Bondi Beach.

"My partner Andrew and I brought the idea to life as part of a local community festival," Nichols told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Really, we came up with the idea to address the illegal dumping problem in our suburb. Every time you walk from one end of Bondi to the other you usually pass five ironing boards.

"Part of the nature of Bondi is there is a bunch of of transient people who come and go and I guess they view that dumping as some kind of freecycling, which is fine except for the aesthetic implications for us locals. We wanted to get out the message of 'don't dump it, sell it.'"

So the pair created an admittedly "smell-of-an-oily-rag website" and, with support of the local council, encouraged people to get involved.

"People registered a small amount of details about their garage sale -- they can come up with a name for their sale and can express themselves and have a bit of fun with it. They can also share it on their social media which is useful for spreading the word."

While the event turned out sucessfully, what neither Valder or Nichols properly realised was the impact it would have on communities.

Nichols says clothing is the highest selling category.

"We had all sorts of people involved -- the older generation, middle-aged families, hipster cool kids -- and it just connected everyone and galvanised the community on the day," Nichols said.

"In the weeks that followed, we were so humbled to receive lots of lovely message saying not only were people able to declutter, but the experience connected them to their neighbours who they have lived next to for years and never spoken to. We thought at the time, honestly, if that's the only outcome, it makes it all worthwhile."

That could have been the beginning and the end of the idea if Nichols and Valder weren't contacted by several other councils expressing their interest -- and if that wasn't enough, the pair then scooped a NSW Government Green Globe Award for their efforts.

"It made us stop and think, 'we have the potential to generate positive outcomes on a larger scale here," Nichols said. "It warranted us having a good old Aussie crack at doing it."

Five years later and the Garage Sale Trail is supported by 170 councils, seven state and territory governments and has also recently launched in the UK.

From Bondi to Big Ben.

For the next sale, to be held on October 24, Nicols estimates there will be upwards of 10,000 garage sales happening in Australia on the one day, with currently over 6 million items listed for sale at the value of around $2 million.

Want to see how your involvement can make a difference? Check out these Garage Sale Trail factoids on sellable items below.


If every garage sale this year sold one pair of jeans, the Garage Sale Trail would save enough water to fill over 3,000 backyard swimming pools.


By selling an old bike to a neighbour, enough energy would be saved to power a laptop for an entire year.


For every three surfboards sold on the Garage Sale Trail, an entire year’s worth of an average household’s carbon emissions will be saved.


Reusing one computer saves 1,500kg of water -- about the same weight as a rhinoceros.


Buying a secondhand vase can save enough energy to run a computer for 30 minutes -- double the time it takes to register for the Garage Sale Trail.


Reusing seven sets of LEGO would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for a year.

Register your sale here.