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Neighborhood `Free for All' is a feast of leftovers

Stored under In the News on June 14, 2007 at 7:55 AM
By Edward M. Eveld

McClatchy Newspapers


KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Ah, summertime garage sales - the perfect opportunity to gather up all that idle stuff, disgorge it and make a little pocket money to boot.

Selling can be tricky, though. Some items languish, unable to lure a buyer. Maybe you priced them wrong. Maybe the right buyer is out there but never happened along.

Judy Widener knows what comes next. For years her Volker neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., timed its summer neighborhood garage sale to coincide with a "bulky item pickup" day. That way, unsold stuff could go right to the curb for quick removal. Convenient but bothersome for the recycling-minded.

Let's not send it to the landfill, she thought.

That's when it hit her: Hold a follow-up event, like a garage sale but without the money part. The idea immediately inspired a name: a "Free for All."

Unsold items from individual garage sales in the neighborhood would be amassed in one place, and people would take what they could use.

"It's free, for all," Widener said, whether you live in the neighborhood or not. "It totally describes itself."

Widener knew that many garage sale leftovers had appeal. Hadn't bulky item pickup day generated a parade of extreme bargain hunters who arrive in advance of refuse trucks to shop the piles at the curb?

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