If spending more time at home has made you realise how much stuff you’ve hoarded, Jaleesa Simpson chatted with World's Biggest Garage Sale founder about the circular economy and how you can get involved.
The Brisbane start-up launched seven years ago as a yearly sale where people could purchase second-hand household goods, with donations benefiting Australian charities.
Since then it has diverted almost three million kilograms of products from landfill and given tens of thousands of shoppers quality items that were previously unused.
The circular economy
Founding the garage sale and running the business for the past three years, Yasmin Grigaliunas shared about her passion for the circular economy and moving away from the ‘take, make, dispose’ culture.
“The circular economy is about ensuring we’re closing the loop,” she said.
“We still might take and make the product, and we may do that from virgin materials.
“But then instead of disposing it we’re recirculating it through the circular economy. To then potentially take and make that same material into something new.”
What is the World’s Biggest Garage Sale?
Did you find yourself nodding along to Yasmin’s words? Well, the World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS) might be your new favourite organisation.
Yasmin started the garage sale before the circular economy was mainstream, with the purpose of activating dormant goods (did you know the average Australian household has over $5,000 worth of stuff sitting around their homes?).
“We really want to be able to scale an opportunity to make it easy for you to pass those things on, so that they can have impacts for people, planet and purpose,” she shared.
“It’s not just about giving something away for the sake of giving it away, it’s actually about having meaning and impact behind the opportunity.”
“I don’t think anyone should try to be perfect. I think that we should just aim on the reduce, reuse, repair, rehome.”
Getting involved in the circular economy from home
If you’re excited to get involved in the circular economy, it’s as accessible as making small changes to your life.
“Do one thing really well and get that to be a habit,” Yasmin said. “It might be phasing out single-use products in your home.”
Think you’re already nailing the small changes? Time to declutter!
“Pick a room, pick a cupboard, pick a draw, pick something,” she said. “Declutter that space and think about how you’d like that product to have an impact.
“If you need the money, sell it; if you don’t need the money, maybe pass it onto an organisation like ours.”
WBGS can help you live a more circular life. They’ve launched their online store, so you can purchase second-hand goods from home. If you want to declutter, they can pick up goods from your home (safely and socially-distanced, of course); or you can drop items to their Morningside warehouse.
The circular economy in action
Yasmin shared her own experience of her family living in a traditional four-bedroom home a few years ago and the shift that has occurred.
“We were still doing the garage sale as a bit of a hobby at the time, but really starting to see, experience and feel change in front of us,” she said.
“Then we started to let that flow into our own family and we have completely shifted the way we live over the last couple of years because of the experiences we’ve had first-hand.
“We now live in a two-bedroom apartment. We don’t own a car. We rely on public transport or electronic scooters.
“We’ve made a lot of changes and transitions in our own home that still makes a sustainable impact but still allows us to function quite productively as a family.”
Yasmin shared a piece of wisdom I think we can all use in our life.
“I don’t think anyone should try to be perfect,” she said.
“I think that we should just aim on the reduce, reuse, repair, rehome; look at those philosophies and see how you can get involved in your own home by making change.
“And the changes don’t have to be huge; start small.”
“I’m not anti-consumption; I’m pro-conscious consumption.”
What’s the WBGS secret to success?
People. Yasmin admits the garage sale’s success is down to everyone who’s rallied around the profit-for-purpose.
“This business is actually built on the heart and soul of the community that we started in,” Yasmin shared.
“There’s a piece of a lot of people in the Brisbane and South East Queensland market space and place, who have had a small ingredient in our mix to help effectively build what we’ve been able to build, and we’re so grateful for that.
“I really want to make sure that it’s acknowledged that, especially in organisations like ours, the founder might be the recognised face of the brand, but our brand is built on a lot of love from a lot of people.”
Want to get involved in the WBGS? Learn more about buying, donating and volunteering at their website: https://worldsbiggestgaragesale.com.au/