A pensioner couple has proven you can stylishly furnish an entire home for $300 by going to garage sales. Two years ago, a serious illness forced Jean and Eric Lawrence to re-evaluate life. “When I got better, we thought: ‘Life is for living’,” the 64 year old grandmother said.
The couple sold their house in Redbank Plains, west of Brisbane, sold their whitegoods, gave away all their furniture, and passed the heirlooms – or “dust collectors” as Jean calls them – on to their adult children.“It was as if we had both passed on, much to the children’s horror”, Jean said.
The couple was happy to see out their days as grey nomads in their 7.6m caravan, until they drove in to Casino in far northern New South Wales and fell in love with the pretty rural town. They decided to settle, renting a little cottage with a beautiful garden. Problem was they only had two cups, two plates, a pot and a few pieces of cutlery.
“We had to start from scratch,” Jean said. “The dining room table and six chairs cost $100. The chairs are Chiswell so we paid more to have them recovered,” she said. “The two cane chairs cost $20 and the cane table just $10." “The only thing we did buy (new) was a digital television, but we’ve saved thousands of dollars furnishing the house from garage sales."
"People come in here and say the house looks great, “Jean said.
“The kitchen needed restocking too. Our blender cost $10. We have beautiful new crockery and I’ve picked up plenty of Tupperware too – which you don’t realise you miss until its gone.” The couple was helped along by some luck – they won a washer and dryer in a raffle at a local club. At one point, Eric had said: “We don’t have any posh stuff for when the relatives arrive.” So the wily couple found an antique silver cutlery set for just $10. Jean also found a doona cover and bath towels that have never been used. Jean admits she loves the social aspect of garage sales, which have become as common on a Saturday morning as a game of soccer.
John Romaine from Springfield lakes setup www.egaragesales.com.au in 2004 for people to advertise their garage sales and share tips.“In Brisbane there would be 400 garage sales every weekend” he said, adding “there had been a lot more activity since the economic downturn.”
“People are out to make an extra dollar and a garage sale is a great way to do it”. “We’ve had people tell us they made $1,200 in a single weekend,” Mr Romaine said. Melbourne based Brian King of streetgaragesales.com said he used to just get listings in Melbourne but now gets them from all over.
“It’s a bit of fun, and it’s about finding a real bargain”, he said.
For a photo of myself taken on the day by the photographer from the Sunday Mail CLICK HERE