Action 255: Organise a summer table-top sale in your street

table top saleDate: 12 September
Action: 255
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL


A street table-top sale is a great fun community event – plus it brings a load of environmental benefits

If you’ve been following our articles you might remember our suggestion about a ‘help yourself’ stand outside your house. Today’s action builds on that, and the principle of reuse, by extending exchange to the whole of a community.

Today’s action is … organise a table-top or front garden sale for your street.

What’s involved?

The idea is simple but needs the buy-in from members of your community, so the best starting point is to talk to your neighbours, or perhaps create a flyer to put through people’s letter-boxes.

You’ll need to propose a date and time, and invite people to set up tables outside their houses to sell (or give away, or swap) items that they no longer want or need. It’s best to do this in the summer months and ideally within range of the local weather forecast!

Once you and your neighbours have agreed a date and time, then you can let your wider community know about the event too. Use flyers, social media such as Facebook and NextDoor, the local paper, and notices in the local shops, churches and community centres. Communicating with your community is the key to success.

Why do this?

The environmental objectives are to avoid people putting things into the waste system where they might end up in landfill, where they can be reused by someone else instead.

By reusing things, we are saving natural resources, packaging, energy and carbon emissions.

Other benefits from this kind of community action include:

  • you may someone to get things they need but struggle to afford
  • you can use the opportunity to avoid food waste, for example by selling or giving away surplus garden produce
  • you will interact with your neighbours and meet new people
  • it can be a fun family thing to do – kids love to see old toys reused for example!
  • you convey an environmental message to your neighbours that is hugely important
  • when plastic items get re-used, we save some plastic pollution
  • you could consider giving sale proceeds to a local charity
  • you can declutter your life and make space, which can be a massive de-stresser
  • you free up some cash!

On the day

It’s very simple, everyone sets up a table where passers-by will be able to see and buy items.

Tips include:

  • don’t block the pavement
  • be courteous to people that need to come by that are not interested!
  • put up a sign at each end of the street or line of houses taking part
  • Include things such as:
    • clothing, toys, books, CDs and DVDs
    • gadgets
    • small items of furniture
    • DIY materials, tools and clear-out from the shed or garage
    • dried or sealed surplus foods or that is close to a use-by date
    • fruit and vegetables you have grown and are surplus
  • Avoid things such as:
    • food that is perishable, past its date, part-used, or unsealed
    • knives, sharp tools, cleaning fluids, corrosives and the like
    • broken irreparable items (i.e. don’t just pass trash on to others)
    • underwear or clothing that has not been laundered
    • alcohol
  • get kids involved in sorting out what can go on the table
  • keep children safe and supervised
  • don’t stress what happens to your things

Take this “green” action

Taking this action helps us to protect our environment because, generally speaking, and in the West especially, we tend to consume far, far more than we need. Items get used once or for a short period and then stashed away. By passing things on, the resources that were used to make and transport them are effectively being re-used time and time again, so fewer new things need to be made and bought!

Particularly for plastic items, this is really helpful – it reduces our overall carbon footprint AND reduces our contribution to the global plastic pollution problem.

This is a neighbourhood-friendly alternative to taking things to a charity shop or car boot sale, and decluttering your life by letting other people have things you no longer need.