For a single $5 bill, Alyssa Aleckson found the perfect (read: cute) snowsuit for her daughter. It was in pristine condition, just like the suits she could have found elsewhere for maybe $30.

“That just had me on a high all day,” the Chaska resident says. “At the garage sales, you’re sure to find what you need at like pennies on the dollar.”

Others looking to score similar finds: get ready. Neighborhood-wide driveway bargaining is quickly approaching.

FESTIVAL OF GARAGE SALES

Saturday, April 24 will mark the 34th Annual Jonathan Association Festival of Garage Sales, joined this season by citywide deals across the metro.

The community-wide Chaska sale, canceled last year due to the pandemic, will likely bring in 60-plus homeowners throughout the neighborhood with an assortment of material delights.

The homeowner’s association with 8,000-some residents has been around for over 50 years. Jeremy Landkammer Ely, board president, notes that the sale has been bringing neighbors together for dozens of those years.

“The ability to socialize and come together as a community is always the best part of these events,” Landkammer Ely says. “I’m excited that we’re able to have this annual event come back and get some semblance of normalcy to kick off the summer season.”

While he’s not hosting a sale this year, he plans to attend. While out-and-about, he’ll potentially run into Aleckson.

“I try to make it a priority whenever I find out when it’s gonna be held, because it’s a lot of fun,” Aleckson says.

She’s hosted sales in years past but this year her family’s been cleaning house, redirecting things they can’t fit in storage to the local Goodwill. Plus, if she hosts a sale?

“Then I can’t go garage saling!” she says. “That one year it was really fun to host, but there’s nothing like being able to go out on your own and just scavenge.”

Aleckson, who’s lived in the Jonathan neighborhood for the last seven years, is on the hunt for a used dresser to repurpose.

WHY GO ‘SALING’?

The thrill of finding treasures for cheap is enough to bring many in. For others, it’s more humanitarian.

Marian Moriarty Baumgard has lived in Jordan all her life. So when she heard the longstanding annual Jordan City Wide Garage & Yard Sale was a no-go this year, she stepped up.

“I hijacked the Jordan City Wide,” she jokes.

It seems more people sell items online or publicize individual garage sales instead, she says, prompting the reported cancellation. Moriarty Baumgard already runs the “Free Stuff in Jordan Mn” Facebook group and knew of plenty of people who could use free or inexpensive items.

“I started the Facebook page because there are people in need and with COVID, they’ve lost their jobs (and) they’re not feeling well mentally,” she says. “I had stuff to give away and thought if I start this, other people will join in and it will help all the way around town.”

With the help of a friend in Shakopee, the two will donate or re-sell older products from places like Target and Costco during the Saturday, May 15 sale.

Jordan residents pay $10 to register for the sale. Proceeds will go to the Jordan High School All-Night Graduation Party.

“I love garage sales and I love doing them and I love the idea that people can make a few extra bucks,” Moriarty Baumgard says. “People are getting rid of stuff they don’t want and somebody else needs.”

In Belle Plaine, driveways will soon swap cars out for tables of goodies, too.

The longstanding citywide sale runs from Thursday, April 22 to Saturday, April 24. Wendy Fors will host yet again.

“I have one every year, and every year I say, ‘I’m never doing it again,’” she says.

This year’s selections include name-brand juniors’ clothes, new Tupperware and kitchen items. Her dad’s snowblower will be for sale, too.

Fors typically sees a lot of out-of-towners. As she puts it, people won’t come to Belle Plaine for one garage sale — but they’ll undoubtedly show up for stacked sales.

“I think this year’s gonna be big because people have been so cooped up with COVID, so I think there’s probably a lot of excitement for garage sales,” Fors says.

COVID ADJUSTMENTS

That excitement may have waned slightly from years past, at least for Jonathan Association hosts.

Over 100 homes held sales each year in the past several years, according to association management. This year there will be closer to 60 participants as of a few days before the signup deadline.

Landkammer Ely says crowds could go either way.

“I would expect that we would see less than we do in traditional years. Certainly residents choosing for their own personal reasons to have more stringent guidelines may not participate and that’s OK,” he says.

But most sales are outside in yards or driveways, and people can easily keep their distance.

Jonathan sale guidelines ask people to wear face coverings when around people outside their families, even when outside. In Belle Plaine, Fors will have her mask at-the-ready, but isn’t requiring visitors to wear them.

“We believe that we can safely host the garage sales this year with the appropriate safety precautions in place,” Landkammer Ely says.

That includes encouraging contactless payments like phone-pay service Venmo.

The association won’t offer a point location at the World Learner School like previous years, where people can gather for refreshments, grab maps, or use the restroom.

Landkammer Ely says people have remodeled homes, changed how they shop, and have had time to get a really good look of what’s in their house this year. That could all make for a fun garage sale season.

“People have spent time in their home last year. They’ve redecorated and repurposed spaces,” he says. “It’ll be interesting to see what kinds of things people are bringing to the marketplace this year.”

Events