MT. PROSPECT, Ill. (WBBM) — A garage sale here or there can make your weekend, if you like to shop for bargains. But imagine more than 550 of them — all in one place.
“I would imagine you could find just about anything,” said Tom Zander, who is organizing his 18th Great Mt. Prospect Garage Sale.
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Unlike Evanston, which pioneered the idea of putting dozens of sellers under the roof of one parking garage, each of the Mt. Prospect garage sales is on a homeowner’s driveway or front yard.
Goods on sale Friday ranged from baby clothes, bicycles, dinette sets and sewing machines to someone’s old kitchen door.
Zander shopped early.
“I was looking for a lawn mower and found one easily,” he said.
In part, that was because he looked online. The Mt. Prospect Garage Sale website provides space for homeowners to list specific items for free. He said it can make things easier for those who don’t have the stamina to go door-to-door-to-door, although he said that is the appeal for many of those who come to Mt. Prospect.
It’s not just locals who are shopping, either.
“My wife ran into someone on the street who was visiting from Wisconsin,” he said. “This is the fourth year that they’ve come down for this event. They stay with relatives.”
If you are intent on shopping door-to-door, Zander said it pays to come with an empty van and lots of cash, since few homeowners are equipped to take credit cards.
A number of side streets have five or six garage sales to a block, and on some of the narrower Mt. Prospect streets, the result can be temporary gridlock.
Some might say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, but Zander concedes that there’s also a green aspect to it. And he’s not talking money.
“It’s really a very good form of recycling,” he said.
It also puts cash in homeowners’ pockets. He estimated the average take at each of the garage sales to be between $300 and $600.
“You add that up, and it’s a lot of money,” he said.
The official hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. through Sunday, although Zander said many are open sunrise to sunset.
Goods left over can be donated to the non-profit group “Helping Our Heroes,” which provides financial assistance to the families of active-duty service personnel overseas.