Real Estate

From antiques to rabbit cages: Hundreds of households prepare to sell goods at citywide yard sale

Biennial event allows residents to practice sustainability, recoup a little money

At age 83, Palo Alto resident Rochelle Ford admits that she probably won't ever wear the half-dozen or so high heels that she's kept in her closet over the years — so on Saturday, June 1, she's putting a sales tag on them and adding them to the pile of items she plans to sell in her front yard on Waverley Road. Ford won't be the only one selling unwanted items that day. Hundreds of homeowners will be staging yard sales throughout the city as part of Palo Alto's Citywide Yard Sale.

"You spend the first half of your life collecting things and the second half getting rid of things, simplifying life," said Ford, an artist who has participated in the event in previous years. "It's really just a good excuse to evaluate where I am in life and what I need and what I can live without."

This time, she plans to sell some of her handmade metal yard sculptures, too. Ford, who taught herself how to weld at age 58, has various works in Israel and the U.S., she said.

Her sculptures are made out of used metal from wrecked car parts and other items people have thrown away. They reflect the principle of reusing and recycling, she said.

"These are little pieces that I'm hoping somebody would enjoy having," Ford said. Anything she doesn't sell, she plans on donating to local charities.

Zero Waste Palo Alto — a program operated out of the Public Works Department — coordinates the biennial event as a way to help keep unwanted stuff out of the landfill while enabling residents to recoup a little money.

Approximately 250 households will take part in the citywide event selling everything from antiques — including a spinning wheel — to kitchenware and furniture. There's even hamster and rabbit cages.

Wendy Hediger, who has organized the event for 19 years, said the goal is to minimize waste and build on the idea of conserving items by selling them to people who would use them instead.

"One person's trash is another person's treasure ideas," Hediger said. "Think about buying things that are already made instead of going out and buying new products."

Beyond that goal, Hediger also sees the event as a good community-building opportunity. The event typically attracts more than 200 sellers as well as hundreds of others seeking unique treasures and good buys.

"It's very exciting for me to see the enthusiasm that the community has for the event," she said.

Lauren Briskin, a first-time seller who lives on Middlefield Road, said she decided to participate as a way to do her part to support sustainability.

"I have much more kitchenware than any one person should ever have," Briskin said."I probably have enough to help someone getting started in life, get a good start on the kitchen."

Hediger said raising awareness for all kinds of environmental sustainability is important.

"Recycling gets a lot of attention, and I think reuse doesn't get quite as much," she said.

The event will take place (rain or shine) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday, June 1. An interactive map searchable by area, address and type of merchandise for sale can be found at


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