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One man's stash: another's treasure

The annual Woodbury Lions Community Garage Sale begins Thursday, May 9 at various neighborhoods around the city. Bulletin file photo

Renee Haugen knows all too well what it's like to wind up with multiple odds and ends over the years.

But she also knows how to get rid of it all -- from vintage clothing, household goods to baby items and even ceramic geese.

In the 10 years she's participated in the annual Woodbury Lions Community Garage Sale, she's sold everything from a pair of off-white mountain boots to men's attire she never imagined anyone would buy.

"It was like a blast from the 60s," she said. "... Just weird stuff we collect."

Haugen, a Dancing Waters resident, is one of about 600 registered Lions Garage Sale participants who will purge old treasures in this year's event slated for Thursday through Saturday, May 9-11.

The number is down about 100 from last year, thanks to snow on the ground that kept people from thinking it was garage sale time, said Lions Club incoming president Laurie Lynard.

But this year, the Lions got more support from city officials by allowing signage at City Hall and various other locations around town.

Lynard said it's been difficult to get garage sale hosts to understand the importance of registering and participating in one of the organization's biggest fundraising events of the year.

"We're trying to educate folks," she said. "We are going to be going around and handing out flyers to people who are having their own garage sale."

The 36th annual event is expected to raise thousands of dollars that go back to the community in the form of youth scholarships, assisting those with sight and hearing impairment and contributing to the local food shelf.

Oftentimes residents of Woodbury would hold their own sales hoping to get better traffic during the same weekend as the Lions' citywide event, which draws shoppers from all across the region.

It works, but it's not encouraged.

"People are going to be more likely to come to your street if they see there is six garage sales on your street," Lynard said. "And they're only going to see that in the directory."

Participants who pay the $30 fee are placed in a directory that lists all the addresses and items on sale, making it that much easier to find what shoppers are looking for.

For Haugen, she's done it that way for years because it pays off, she said.

"For the small amount of money for registration, you get such an overwhelming feeling of community," she said. "In the long run it's going to benefit you more than to try to get around the system."

The process starts for her in the winter, as she takes her time to box, label and price everything.

Then she sets up the night before, the day shoppers try to get an early start as they drive around looking for items they saw in the directory.

"Most of the stuff is gone the first day," Haugen said.

The Woodbury Lions Community Garage Sale used to be a two-day affair until organizers realized participants were setting up the day before and most shoppers were coming into town a day early as well.

So they added Thursday to the mix to allow visitors from a distance more time to make the rounds, therefore improving sale results for the registered supporters, Lynard said.

"We draw people from five states; our website has gotten hits from all over the country," she said. "If they're making that kind of trip, then we've extended it to three days."

The 36th annual Woodbury Lions Community Garage Sale kicks off Thursday, May 9. Directories will be sold from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 and also after 7:30 a.m. on the days of the sale at grocery and convenience stores in Woodbury.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.