Garage sales are serious business.
A year’s worth of preparation, truckloads of items, hundreds of volunteers, weeks of organizing, hours of pricing all for the two days of sales that make everything worth it in the end for the Coupeville Lions club.
It’s now 40 years strong for the bargain bash that brings in people from all over Whidbey Island and beyond, organizers of the annual garage sale say.
“Everybody can find a treasure,” volunteer and Lion of 14 years Ginny Munn said.
The sale days are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 29, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, June 30. The preview will be 12-6 p.m. Friday, June 28 at Coupeville Elementary School on Main Street.
On Sunday, everything is half-price and after 1 p.m., it’s pay by donation.
“We actually get more money on that,” said Rick Walti, the Lions vice president overseeing this year’s sale. “People know it goes back to the community.”
The preview on Friday allows the public to look at all the items and take a mental note of what they might want to buy once the sale begins. For some, they take actual notes with pen and paper.
So dedicated thrift-seekers better be ready Saturday morning when the air horn blasts and the rush of people vying to get their preferred picks swarm the school grounds. Other, more casual buyers can take their time perusing the sale, which stretches across multiple rooms and sprawls outdoors.
By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, there’s less than a quarter of the items left, Walti said. “You wouldn’t believe how fast it goes.”
This year, there may be no cars for sale, but there’s nearly everything else, from antiques to art, tools to TVs. There’s also books, furniture, luggage, fishing gear, medical equipment, plants, holiday decorations and a whole lot more. Don’t expept clothes, exercise equipment, mattresses or bike helmets, however. Over the years the club has learned through trial and error what doesn’t sell and what is feasible for them to store year-round in local barns.
All electronics and machines are in working order, as volunteers have tested all the items before pricing them.
Last year, the club brought in about $40,000 to $45,000, which is about average, Walti said. The school’s new gym means that displays are bigger and better, more organized and more items will be indoors. Organizers are expecting between 400 and 500 to show up.
Volunteers say they enjoy the chaos of the weeks leading up to the event and the work of unboxing, sorting and the occasional head-scratching over identifying donated objects, which sometimes remain a mystery.
“It’s half archeology, half puzzle-solving,” longtime Lions Club member and sale volunteer Tony Hernandez said, whose sorting section is “woods, plastics and tins.”
For Walti, the best part of the sale is seeing people enjoy getting good deals.
“It’s really kind of a kick to see what people pick out. Whether they need it or not, they get it,” he said. “They all seem to be happy, and they all leave with an armful of stuff.”
Not to mention, he enjoys seeing the relief and reward for the 100 or so volunteers who did the preparation work. Many community members, including school sports clubs and town organizations join with the Lions Club to get Whidbey’s biggest pop-up sale going.
And when it’s all over and all items have been snagged, volunteers take a month off and then begin preparations for next year.
- Sale preview: 12-6 p.m. Friday, June 28
- Sale days: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 29, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, June 30
- Location: Coupeville Elementary School on Main Street
- Donations: To donate during the year, call the Lions at 360- 678-4105 to schedule a pickup. A full list of items that the club accepts is on the club website.