Choose to Reuse – How 10,000 Aussies joined the secondhand selling revolution with Garage Sale Trail

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There’s something about garage sales that make us smile. Is it the nostalgia when flipping through old vinyl collections, or imagining the laughs and conversations around once prized pieces of furniture? Or is it meeting neighbours and the shared excitement for a pre-loved treasure’s second life?

For Garage Sale Trail co-founder Andrew Valder, it’s all about the opportunity to inspire Aussies to join the secondhand selling revolution and reduce our environmental footprint by keeping items out of landfills. Now in its eleventh year, Garage Sale Trail has become Australia’s largest community and sustainability event, inspiring everyday Aussies to get involved in the circular economy and make a difference. Not to mention the chance to declutter and top up your piggy bank at the same time.

There is a stack of reasons to get involved with Garage Sale Trail. Whether it’s finding that special item that reminds you of your childhood, meeting your neighbour for the first time or just making a few bucks,” said Valder. “But bigger than all of that is encouraging people to think about what we consume, how we consume it and the waste we create. Now more than ever we need to make adjustments in every aspect of our lives to look after our planet.”

While there’s still the classic ‘table out front’ sale with camp chairs and coin jars, the garage sale experience took on a whole new look this year as the team at Garage Sale Trail navigated months of pandemic lockdowns. For this year’s event, Australians were able to shop online with virtual garage sales hosted on social media or sell in their community (restrictions permitting) with COVID safety measures in place.

To help bring this to life, PayPal teamed up with Garage Sale Trail, bringing easy to use, touch-free digital payments to the 2021 festival of pre-loved stuff. Those haggling face to face could make cashless, touch-free, in-person payments using PayPal’s QR codes via the PayPal app, and those who shopped online could do so securely by making payments with PayPal.Me from their PayPal account.

PayPal has always been committed to giving everyone access to affordable, safe and secure payment services,” said Jess Rix, PayPal Australia’s Shopping Expert. “Garage Sale Trail is a great community initiative that highlights the power of people in driving change, and we were proud to help empower Aussies to generate income or find a secondhand treasure this year.”

With all the finer details sorted, Garage Sale Trail’s 2021 event was set to take place over three glorious weekends from the 6th to 21st November. And to make the annual festival even bigger, five-time ARIA award-winning entertainer and Aussie music icon Ella Hooper joined the team as this year’s official ambassador. A lifelong thrifter with a passion for secondhand fashion, Ella was stoked to be part of the Trail, event.

This year’s Trail kicked off with one big weekend of free online masterclasses dedicated to helping Aussies learn how to re-home, re-love and re-purpose their stuff, while also helping sellers prep for their online and in community events.

“The idea behind the Trail Tutorials was to educate and inspire, teaching people about the circular economy in Australia and how they can get involved by buying and selling secondhand. This year, an amazing array of people from fashion, design and sustainability inspired, shared and entertained people all over the country.” – Andrew Valder -

Sessions included DIY fashion tips from eco stylist Daisy Braid, a beginners guide on ‘How to flip furniture for fun and profit’ with Kelly Armati from Shiner Creative Workshops and ‘Smart women choose sustainable fashion’ featuring the founder of 1 Million Women, Natalie Isaacs, climate author and activist Katherine Murphy and sustainable fashion educator Nina Gbor.

What a success! Over 2600 people tuned into these fantastic sessions over two days.

How 10,000 Aussies joined the secondhand selling revolution with Garage Sale Trail
PayPal and Garage Sale Trail.

Thousands of Aussies from across the country were soon preparing to sell their pre-loved goods. As always, Australians had fun with their sales, with names like My Hubby Needs New Teeth and Desperate Housewives in Dover Heights popping up daily on the national map.

More than 10,726 garage sale events took place over the final two weekends of this year’s event, with 2.5 million items up for sale. This included a Morris Minor, a signed Roosters NRL jersey from 2005 and more designer fashion than you’d find in Anna Wintour’s wardrobe. And the Australian pre-loved community turned out in force for the secondhand selling revolution, with more than 150,000 shoppers combing garage sales from Bondi to Bundaberg.

Joining the Trail this year was local Ipswich artist Rebecca Lewis, who works with either reused or natural materials which can be recycled or composted at the end of their life. “Clothes swaps are just a small part of the sustainable fashion solution, a first step that gets a conversation started and helps keep pre-loved but good condition items out of landfill by extending their wearable life,” she said. Her clothes swap sale was a great success at the Ipswich City Council Building.

By the end of this year’s Festival of Pre-Loved Stuff, over 500,000 kgs of stuff were reused and saved from landfills, generating an estimated $2.2 million among sellers.

Now that’s something to smile about.

More information on PayPal QR codes or PayPal.Me is available on the PayPal website. 

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