Yesterday, my family held its third annual charity yard sale, in aid of WaterAid. The genesis of this tradition came from the boys announcing four years ago that they wanted to do something for "poor people in Africa." Fortunately, they got a healthy dose of 'just do it' genes from their mother and after seeing yard sales during a trip to Portland Oregon, it has become an annual event.

My partner and I use it as a good excuse to clear out old toys, disliked books and infrequently worn clothes to see whether our neighbours fancy anything. Rather than taking the unsold stuff back in the house, it all goes straight into the back of a car and will either go to the school sale or, like this year where we got the timing wrong, a charity shop.

But what surprises me is how us Brits don't do yard/garage sales. In Portland, every lamppost was slathered in flyers for sales and we would see at least one in progress on our travels every day. Despite putting up a big sign, and living on a popular route for a Sunday stroll, we only get a tiny amount of 'passing trade' each year and those unfortunate few usually have to be bullied into turning an intrigued peer over the hedge into a browse.

But we had a great time and raised £112 for a good cause. Recycling, charity and community spirit - what's not to like?

 

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