The Rummage

Do you have a basement, garage or spare room loaded with things that will come in handy one day? The garden tools you lose, replace and then find again? The ski’s, that in Australia are used once a decade? The left over tiles, wood, paint and the infamous carpet shampooer that  you bought on special? What about the furniture that one day, 9 years ago, you said you’d restore? Then there’s the weed matting, the old lawn mower, garden stakes, half broken garden furniture and the odd garden gnome, dear friends thought would be a very funny birthday present? Two – wheeled suitcases that have been superseded by swiveling 4 wheelers? Christmas decorations that looked cute a few years ago now fall into the what was I thinking basket? You know the type..glittering reindeer standing 3 feet tall that spewed glitter all over the house and took until the following November to clean -up!

I was horrified when I looked in the storage area under my house. Eleven years of bad buying choices, accumulated squalor and stuff…loads of stuff. The sort of place they make TV programs about people who hoard…cameras focus on their traumatised faces as their stuff is carted off in a fleet of vans, with the hipster narrator trying to convince them how GOOD they’ll feel once the clutter is gone. My accumulation needed a speedy solution so on Thursday I decided to have a neighbourhood rummage. And on Saturday I had one. And it was GREAT!

My Rummage rules are……

  • Invite neighbours, friends and leaflet 2 streets around your home
  • The invitation needs to be polite, fun and list some of the things on offer
  • Explain your aims- to recycle and re-purpose and save money and time in trips to the charity shops and the council tip
  • EVERYTHING IS FREE…the idea is that people take home what they find in the rummage…
  • Cordon off an area for the Rummage so people don’t wander around the garden and take your prized garden furniture. My drive – way was perfect
  • The hours were 9 – 12 on a prior negotiations… after 12 noon the gate was closed and all signage removed


How did it go?

It was the loveliest morning! Between 9.00 am and 12 noon about 25 people arrived to rummage. It was a steady flow of people, gentle autumn sun and time for people to stop and chat with each other and me. There was a lovely social aspect to the rummage and as people made introductions I heard ” Oh you live in the white house on the corner? I often wondered who lived there!” There was also ” Does anyone know a good gardener? My great find was a handyman who will clean and re-stain my terrace next week and at a reasonable price!

People were tentative about taking too much until I made it very clear that if you can use 20 garden stakes please take them all..less for the tip. Some people came with small vans and took away the larger pieces of furniture. A lovely man was so excited by his free finds that he returned with  home pickled cucumbers and a big basket of Nashi pears…delicious! Two ladies in town for a spa weekend walked past and asked if they could take a look. I had a set of china teacups and plates. They were ecstatic. Miriam hosts a tea party to raise money for cancer research and is always on the look out for bone -china tea sets. They walked away smiling.

At mid-day 90% of the stuff had gone. What remained? Some suitcases….perhaps the Corona Virus has had something to do with a disinterest in travel! Odd bits of wood and an old carpet remained and headed to the tip.

To all the TV crews searching for a news-story about hoarding…nothing to see here…. and a great time was had by all!

2 March 2020 | Life-Style

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