Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
(Video by Danielle Wargolet)
By Naihal Wajid
You tag it, you price it and you sell it: More than 90 residents of Arcola are preparing for their citywide garage sale Aug. 1-2.
“The best thing to call it is ‘miscellaneous,’” said Pam Clark, a local shop manager.
From baby clothes to antiques, these residents are selling anything and everything to empty out their houses and make a quick buck off items they don’t need anymore.
“If you don’t use it, get rid of it,” Karen Pugh, a fellow shop manager, said about the sales.
People come from all over Central Illinois to see what they can find in the sales. Even odd items such as aquariums and baby swings become available. The typically low price of everything is also appealing to buyers.
Residents look forward to being able to pick through all the wares, shop owners said. Neighboring towns Arthur and Tuscola also hold citywide sales around the same time so shoppers can travel from town to town getting the best deal.
Advertisements are inexpensive to run in the local paper, the Arcola Record-Herald, residents said. Ads run about $10 for a small section of the paper, said newspaper publisher Chris Slack. The paper also offers a map of where the sales will be to help crowds navigate through the town. The garage sales boost tourism in the 2,916-population town and help the local economy.
“Garage sales are for the newer generations,” stated Elizabeth Cottle. “We over-buy as consumers and use the sales to get rid of stuff to make room for more things to buy.”
Cottle said younger generations in general are less appreciative of the things they have and want the next best thing instead of enjoying what they have in front of them. The garage sales are a gateway to get consumers to flush out their homes of old things. It’s a good and bad thing, she added.
“Think about the stuff you guys have,” she said. “You sell your old things to get money to buy more materialistic items. It’s a vicious cycle. “
Even as people are buying things, a lot is still left over from the event. Most of it is donated to organizations such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill and local churches. Sellers leave it out with a “free” sign so the general public can pick it up as they please. It helps out the community and brings everyone together, residents say.