Your guide to rummage sale success |

Your guide to rummage sale success

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyRummage sale volunteer Kathleen Schmitt organizes vases Monday to prepare for this weekend's sale at Maloit Park.

MINTURN ” For first-time shoppers, the Eagle Valley Community Fund Auction and Rummage Sale can be an overwhelming experience, said longtime organizer Margo Peter.

“Even if they’ve heard about it, people are still shocked when they walk in,” the Eagle-Vail resident said.

And for good reason. Fourteen rooms brimming with sporting goods, clothing, home decor items, antiques, furniture and even cars can be daunting. And then there’s the multitude of shoppers ” there were 4,000 people the first day alone at last year’s sale, said director Vi Brown.

The annual sale, which is in its 43rd year, draws people from all over the Vail Valley, the Western Slopes and even from out-of-state. All the proceeds benefit about 60 local charities. Last year the sale raised $186,000, Brown said.

So what is a first-time bargain hunter to do?

Definitely come early, Brown said. The doors open at 6:45 a.m., but people start lining up at 6 a.m. or earlier, so stake your spot in line. Volunteers hand out coffee and donuts to the early shoppers.

Morning is the best time to come, said Brown, because the building stays cool, there is less of a crowd, and for the first few hours of the sale, the carefully decorated rooms of merchandise stay neat. In a few hours, it devolves into “huge piles of stuff,” Brown said.

Also, the first day is the time to come for good bargains and the best items.

Some of her best finds have included a nice couch, some lawn furniture and ski equipment, Brown said.

First-day shoppers can also participate in the auction, which starts at 9 a.m., and the silent auction, where some of the bigger-ticket items will be sold.

Make a day of it by grabbing lunch served by the Eagle County Charter Academy or a snack from the bake sale held by Stone Creek Elementary. “The second day is still good, too, but there’s a lot more going on the first day,” Brown said.

Items are organized by room, so if you have something specific buys to make, go there first, said Peter.

“It helps to have some idea of what you’re looking for, otherwise you just can cruise around,” she said.

Some of the most popular spots include the “black and white” wall, a wall of black-and-white women’s clothing, the baby room, and the ski room, which has some particularly nice equipment this year, Peter said.

Other places to check out: the plethora of VHS tapes for $1 each, bargain jewelry starting from 50 cents and the cowboy section.

“We have a lot of cowboy gear,” said Brown. “Eagle County is still very much a Western place.”

Peter said people should come not just for great buys, but because the sale is for a good cause.

“The whole county benefits from it, and its just such a fun atmosphere,” she said.

Brown, who has been involved with the sale since 1968, said that over the years she has come to appreciate the sale as a way to recycle perfectly good items and share the wealth with community organizations, she said.

“We live in an area where people can give very nice things, and people are very generous with what they donate,” she said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or

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