Out with the old, in with the used

By: Elizabeth Scussel | C&G Newspapers | Published July 6, 2011

 Colleen Milner of Southfield donates a cat lamp at a communitywide garage sale at the Berkley Community Center June 25.

Colleen Milner of Southfield donates a cat lamp at a communitywide garage sale at the Berkley Community Center June 25.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Some people collect baseball cards as a hobby. Some people knit. And some people visit garage sales.

Some would say that Eastpointe resident Joy Yaklin has perfected her garage sale hobby. She uses Craigslist to search for specific items and her GPS to map out routes, and she’ll spend the day perusing sales to fulfill orders from her friends, family and co-workers.

“I’ve got everything I need at home,” she said. Yaklin no longer shops for herself. She now hunts bargains for others.

She said people give her a list of what they want, and she has fun chasing the items down.

“It’s nice to get out and walk, and people are in good mood. It’s pleasant to spend the day outside, and it’s not even my money I’m spending,” Yaklin said.

It’s not just friends, family and co-workers that Yaklin shops for. She often purchases school supplies and medical equipment to donate to charitable establishments.

“I like finding stuff that can go right to someone that needs it,” she said. “I recently bought a large bag of Halloween costumes for an inner-city school. Usually, if I offer to buy in bulk, I receive a discount.”

People typically hold garage sales to get rid of unwanted items, but some individuals and nonprofit organizations hold sales as fundraising events.

The Lake House in St. Clair Shores opened its doors May 1. The nonprofit support group offers health and wellness lectures, stress management activities and social events for those who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families.

The group held a rummage sale June 12-13 as its first fundraising event. They received donations of items from the community, friends, volunteers and board members. They sold toys, games, jewelry, holiday decorations, furniture, electronics and even a kitchen sink.

“We were very pleased to have a stream of shoppers all day long. Nothing attracts people more than previously loved treasures,” said Laura Ortiz executive director of The Lake House. “And because our program is free to members, we rely on donations to sustain our organization.”

The Lake House raised just over $1,000 from the rummage sale. The nonprofit channeled all of its proceeds into programs that are available to anybody in southeastern Michigan whose life has been impacted by cancer.

In early June, Royal Oak resident Michael Hull held a garage sale to raise money for his entry to Michigan’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, which will take place Aug. 12-14.

Hull’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, and he decided to take action.

“Like many people, if you would have asked me to donate to Susan G. Komen a few years ago, I would have given something, but now I am willing to give my all,” Hull said.

He sent out a letter to neighbors, friends, families and complete strangers asking for donations. This was Hull’s first garage sale, and he said the response of the local community was overwhelming.

“Overall, hosting the garage sale was a ton of work … due to the high volume of items, but it was so worth it,” Hull said. “We met so many cancer survivors, current fighters and kind people. I was deeply touched by my community and their support.”

While Hull has set his goal much higher, the minimum donation required to join the Susan G. Komen 3-Day is $2,300. Hull raised $2,125.01 from his garage sale.

For the past five years, the Berkley Parks and Recreation Department has paired up with the Berkley Dad’s Club and local VFW Hall to host a communitywide garage sale. That event signifies a kickoff to their annual Summer Fest.

Berkley residents can pay a fee to be included in the sale, or they can purchase a table inside the community center. Some residents sold crafts and homemade items, as well. Roughly 85 private homes held sales in Berkley June 24-25, and 20 people rented tables inside the community center.

The city puts the money from fees collected towards its summer camps for kids.

“With the Parks and Recreation Department, the VFW and Dad’s Club together, it strengthens all of our clubs,” said Tom Colwell, manager of the Berkley Parks and Recreation Department. “I like to do these things because it brings about a sense of community.”

For more information on The Lake House, visit www.milakehouse.org. For more information on Michael Hull’s cause, visit http://www.the3day.org/goto/InHonorOfJean.