PLEASANT HILL -- Finding a garage sale has never been so easy, as the city of Pleasant Hill and Republic Services launch the inaugural citywide garage sale in Pleasant Hill this weekend.
"This is a new thing for us," said Pleasant Hill Civic Action Commission chairman Sheila Cotruvo. "Our goal is to get the word out because it's our first."
Every shopper has their own way of shopping garage sales -- some are out at the break of dawn, while others wait until the end of the day.
Some haggle, others don't. But the one thing they all say is crucial in getting the best price is to make sure you have a lot of small bills and change.
"You've actually got more haggling power with small bills," said Debbie Shess, who considers herself a seasoned garage sale shopper, with 40 years under her belt. "You know, 'I've only got $6, will you take six instead of eight?'"
Cotruvo agreed that to get the best deal, make sure you don't bring a bunch of $20 bills.
"I think it's really important to bring change and really small bills, because a lot people aren't prepared to make change for twenties at garage sales," said Cotruvo. "I always take a coin purse ... because something could be a quarter."
"The thing that I really love about garage sale'ing is that I think that it's the ultimate in recycling," said Shess. "It's reusing, it's recycling, it's repurposing. So think about how things can be used that aren't necessarily for their original purpose.
"Like an old piece of gate or pots can be used for garden artwork or storage. Old windows can be used for decorative pieces," explained Shess. "Old furniture sometimes just needs a fresh coat of paint, or sometimes the shabby chic look is perfect with its chipped paint and rough spots."
Shess advised not just doing drive-bys at garage sales; she said you need to get out of the car to find the best items.
"There are times that it seems that there aren't any items of interest, but if you get out and really dig, you will find some real treasures," said Shess.
Cotruvo credits Republic Services and its recycling coordinator, Anne Baker, with brainstorming the idea and bringing it to the Pleasant Hill Civic Action Commission to implement.
"The idea was brought to us ... after seeing how well it did in Antioch," said Cotruvo.
"This is something that has been happening in Antioch for maybe three years or so," explained Baker. "They've been doing a citywide garage sale out there and it's been pretty successful."
The point of the sale is for people to recycle their unwanted items by selling them or offering them for free, rather than tossing them into the landfill during the city's Spring Cleanup Week in June.
"(Anne's) idea with this is, we have a city cleanup in June and try to get people to be more green and not throw away useful things into the landfill that maybe someone else needs," said Cotruvo.
"I have some friends that are going to register and just put 'Free,'" she said, adding they are items that are no longer used and would have been going to the landfill.
Baker has already started formulating ideas for next year's garage sale to really help recycle, reduce the amount of useful items going into the landfill and raise money for local nonprofits.
"The cool thing that they do in Antioch the weekend after is, if you have a bunch of stuff leftover, you can bring it to the mall parking lot and there would be different nonprofits there that will take your stuff for their various usages," said Baker. "But we haven't gotten that far yet (in Pleasant Hill). It's our first year, so we're just going step-by-step here."
What: Pleasant Hill's first Citywide Garage Sale
When: May 18-19
Where: Locations throughout the city
Information: Visit www.pleasanthillgaragesale.com. Households can register their garage sales for free online. The website allows shoppers to search for specific items or peruse each listing. For listings that are of interest, shoppers can create a "Favorites" page, to which they can refer.