The art of the garage sale

As it turns out, not everything in this city is ludicrously overpriced—as long as you know where (and how) to look

April 7, 2016

By Eliot Escalona / Photo: Karen Crowe

Vancouver can be an expensive city, but buying clothes, furniture and even jewellery doesn’t have to be. This spring, Garage Sale Diaries, a web-series turned TV show, will be airing on TELUS Optik Local TV to show Vancouverites the treasures our city has to offer–for those willing to sort through a bit of trash along the way.

“Garage sales are the best way to find what you need, and even what you didn’t know you needed for next to nothing,” says Kelly Riegler, who co-hosts the show and is a self-described garage sale pro. “Our city is so expensive that everyone needs to garage sale, every weekend we see home owners, students, new parents and seniors who are downsizing…basically everyone.” That’s because, as the show’s creator and producer Scott Reynolds says, the average garage sale is about much more than just other people’s discarded items. “You can find designer clothing that has only been worn once, you can find beautiful artwork, you can find furniture and even household appliances. Most of my home renovations have been possible by things I found at garage sales.”

So where should prospective local garage sale mavens be looking? Riegler, who has been actively going to garage sales in Vancouver since 1994 says that Kitsilano and Dunbar are excellent choices—especially for brand-name clothing and household items. “Kitsilano and Dunbar are the ultimate garage sale destinations, especially if you are looking to buy brand-name clothing in good condition and some nice house-hold items.” That said, there’s something for everyone in almost any neighbourhood. “The garage sales are a reflection of who live there,” Scott says, “so around Main Street you will find some incredible antique items.” To find them, though, you’ll want to follow their advice. First, they suggest, bring all the spare change you have at home—many items are priced in that range, and asking the people selling them to break bills can be a hassle. Second, feel free to haggle, but don’t do it in a way that insults them or what they’re trying to sell. And third, bundle pricing is always your friend.

But if you’re not sold yet on the adventure of the garage sale, you can stay home with your $11 tub of Earnest Ice cream and watch co-hosts Kelly and Renee Camazzola buy everything from Lululemon tights or an Aritzia jacket to, yes, a sink, for less than you paid for your dessert. And while they want to show off their amazing finds, the creators of Garage Sale Diaries also want to demonstrate the great interactions that take place at Garage Sales. As Scott says, “you get a glimpse into people’s lives through what they sell, and you learn their stories through whatever item it is you want to buy.” In a world where you can now kit out an entire house without ever leaving your bed, it might be nice to watch people doing it the old-fashioned way. You know, by talking to each other.


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