Here in Austin Texas there is a great organization called the Settlement Home. Their mission is to help care for and promote the healing of troubled children and their families. The history of the Settlement Home dates back to 1916 when 12 Austin women started the Girls’ Settlement Home at 304 E. 1st Street, a day nursery for impoverished working families. In 1970 the first ever Settlement Home Charity Garage Sale took place. Now 42 years later, the tradition continues the beautiful Palmer Event Center.
Each year, more than 25,000 shoppers flock to The Settlement Home Charity Garage Sale at Palmer Events Center here in Austin, Texas to get their hands on unique items and bargain priced merchandise.
Settlement Home & Antique Outings
Kathleen and I had the absolute pleasure of being media representatives for Antique Outings at the Settlement Home’s Charity Garage Sale. Thanks to Andi Kelly, this gave us exclusive access to the event kickoff and the ability to really see what all the excitement was about. Unlike the City Wide Garage Sale that occurs about every month in Austin, the Settlement Home’s Charity Garage Sale only occurs once a year, so if you miss it, you have missed a truly amazing buying experience. Garage Sale consists of a 4 day event starting on Thursday and ending on Sunday. Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday, but to get the really good stuff you will want to go on Thursday or Friday. On Sunday prices get drastically cut by 50% or more. There is a special event on Sunday called the “Sunday Box Sale” where whatever you can stuff in the box they provide is yours. The box isn’t free, but it a fantastic way to pick up a bunch of things for really cheap.
When you walk into the Settlement Home Charity Garage Sale you’re immediately impressed with how everything is organized. This is a monumental task that the volunteers and staff at the Settlement Home, make look easy. The Settlement Home sets up 21 different “department” sections, such as clothing, shoes, jewelry, toys, furniture, books, linen, art, holiday items and so much more. There is over 70,000 square feet of bargains, at basement prices. This type of setup makes it extremely easy to find what you want. Best of all, 100% of the proceeds go to The Settlement Home for Children.
People who have been to past events know that Thursday night (known as the Preview Party) is where you can find absolutely amazing deals. The crowds are small and the inventory is chalked full of all sorts of goodies. I am not joking when I say Kathleen and I went absolutely bonkers with the crazy good deals that were there. We found things that we didn’t even know we wanted or even needed. 🙂 Actually since the money is going for a great cause, why not spend a little more right. And that was exactly what we did!
Tickets for the Thursday night preview party are $75 and is money well spent if you want to find stuff that hasn’t been picked over. Also since this is a charity, the ticket price does count as a charity donation. Another nice aspect to Thursday is they do have food and Hors d’œuvres being served. Perfect for the shopper who needs a little fuel to continue on.
What About Antiques?
For those interested in antiques, which I am sure everyone who is reading this is, the Settlement Home has a department called “Collectibles”. There you can find all sorts of goodies including vintage/antique cameras, type writers, fans, and so much more. What did we find? Let’s see we found a 1940’s blender, 3 cameras from the 40’s, 1 fan from the 50’s, 1 juicer from the 50’s, some really cool box from the 20’s or 30’s, a table mirror from the 40’s, a Faries Manufacturing Company lantern and a few other items. Prices were so low that we (I) couldn’t resist. I of course love office supplies and found a rather old hole punch in the “Office Supplies” department and a gooseneck lamp in the “Lighting” department. Kathleen found a fantastic wedding veil (We are getting married next May) and some rocken jackets in the “Clothing” department.
To imagine what this event is like, just image the best estate sale or garage sale you have been to and then times it by 10. What we found really refreshing were the prices. Most of the items being sold were really inexpensive and good quality. Too many times we have experienced antique stores or estate sales where the prices are over the top. The prices at Charity Garage Sale were down right amazing. Sure there are some items marked rather high, but on Sunday, everything is 50% off, so even those higher priced items will be slashed in half or even more.
After buying all this stuff though we were left in a sort of quandary. How are we going to take this all home? You see we arrived on our bikes with cameras and video stuff in hand and certainly couldn’t ride home with all our treasures. Well as it turns out, the really smart shoppers to this event came prepared, with rolling baskets of all sorts. These experienced savvy shoppers put us to shame. They knew there were going to be amazing finds and they came prepared to shop. I had never seen this before. Kathleen and I were obviously out of our league, but were extremely happy to partake in the event.
If you find you don’t have one of those wacky carts, just walk on down to the suitcase department and find one that rolls. BAM – you now have yourself a brand new walking cart.
Settlement Home – Things To Remember For Next Year’s Event
- Thursday Is A Must
- Bring Shopping Carts
- Know The Layout and Make Your Plans Accordingly
- Bring Checks or Cash For Faster Processing
- Get There Early, Because Lines Will Form
- Saturday and Sunday Admission Is Free
- Sunday’s Box Sale (Boxes are $4 or $8. You fill it, you keep it!)
Most fun find of the Garage Sale might have to be Tom’s Popeye outfit (Navy Sailor’s Crackerjack pants and Hat) and Kathleen’s various sport jackets that say “Germany” and “Holland”. For antique finds the best deals were a $.50 cent Bernard Schollhorn hole puncher and a $5 gooseneck lamp. The most exotic find was a 4 drawer box that we have no idea what it was supposed to contain. Coolest find was a 1950’s teal/steel blue Vornado fan and an antique desk mirror or was it that 1940’s blender or the 1950’s juicer. The 3 cameras were also great picks.
In closing we would like again to thank Andi Kelly and all the volunteers that were so helpful throughout the Settlement Home’s Charity Garage Sale from packing up items to answering our various questions. It was an amazing event and we will be sure to be back next year with new adventures and stories.