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Blazing the Trail: Garage Sale Trail founder shares grassroots campaign insights

Guest article by Garage Sale Trail founder Darryl Nichols, a guest speaker at this year’s LGAQ Media and Communications Forum.

Garage Sale Trail, Australia’s biggest reuse and community event is fast approaching. This year marks the seventh annual Garage Sale Trail and the move to a weekend-long event on Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 October, 2017.

What began as a local grassroots initiative in Bondi Beach during 2010 has grown into a truly national movement supported by 150 councils Australia-wide, five state and territory governments and 300,000+ Australians.

The Garage Sale Trail idea has been recognised through several high-profile awards and accolades including a Banksia Award for Community Leadership, Green Globe Award, Green Marketing of the Year, Community Contribution of the Year and an International Green Award (the Oscars of Sustainability) in London, amongst others. The idea has been presented at No.10 Downing St and to the Royal Household at St James Palace, Clarence House.

Garage Sale Trail debuted across the UK in September 2015 with support from NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and local UK government authorities.

This year’s Australian campaign is building well with 9,086 sales and stalls registered across the nation representing 579,562 million items listed for sale/ reuse at an approximate value of $4.7 million. An estimated 350,000+ Australian’s are projected to take part in the weekend-long festival of reuse and community building.

96 percent of participants think it's a great initiative for councils to support and 93 percent say they’ll do it again.

The breadth and depth of items on offer have included a definitive collection of 1970’s Rolling Stones Magazines, a hovercraft, a miniature goat, a beachside apartment and two grandpas whose sale page listing said ‘good for mowing the grass or cups of tea on the balcony’.

We’re truly humbled by the extent to which Australians have embraced the Garage Sale Trail idea and by the positive impacts that are being realised in communities across the nation,” Mr Nichols said.

Our message is simple, "choose to reuse and say g’day to a neighbour today!”

As an impact-oriented organisation, Garage Sale Trail aims to encourage reuse, drive waste education and enable local community connectivity to help build stronger, more resilient communities.

The magic of Garage Sale Trail is that it’s council-enabled but community-powered.

Effectively we provide the framework but ultimately the success of the day and the resulting impacts that are generated are dependent on the people who participate – both sellers and shoppers.

So how does it work?

Garage Sale Trail is in many ways an integrated communications campaign. Garage Sale Trail provides a comprehensive localised toolkit and digital dashboard for participating councils encompassing digital, print, social and broadcast assets which are then placed in council channels.

The creative for this year’s campaign has been led by internationally-acclaimed Australian creative heavyweight Jeremyville.

Garage Sale Trail is for households, community groups, charities, libraries, schools, makers and creators, and anyone seeking to participate in a positive nation-wide grassroots movement.

Registration is free via

Darryl Nichols will be presenting on the Garage Sale Trail story and communications campaign approach at this year’s LGAQ Media and Communications Forum - register now and check out the full program here!


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