Re: Storage and garage sales
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 94 13:51 CDT
I make it a habit to ask other cohousing groups what are the major 
mistakes you made.  One of the top answers to that question I have 
gotten is: Not enough personal storage space.  In the programming for 
unit designs this seems to get overlooked, or under estimated.  
Cohousing groups which do move in all at once end up with boxes of 
storage stuff on porches, under eaves, in the basement of the commonhouse etc.
It would be a good exercise to brainstorm a list of the things people 
have in their garages.  Where will things like paint, tools, camping 
gear, bicycle parts, car maintenance things, all go?  For example, 
eventually you will need to repaint the commonhouse.  You will want to 
have a gallon or two of touchup paint stored to deal with those ugly 
marks that the kids will make on the walls two days after the paint is 
dry. Where will the cans of paint be stored? What about unit paint?  
What about paint thinner and old rags (fire hazard!!!!).

I think a great idea is right before move in hold a large community 
garage sale, with the proceeds going to buy things for the commonhouse. 
 (for some reason things like chairs, drapes, wall hangings to reduce 
noise, etc. never get in the budget) That way all of the members can 
deal with excess stuff all at once.  This is a great way to get rid of 
things you do not need, pick up things you want from your other 
neighbors, meet lots of interesting neighbors from outside your 
community.  Then when its all over you can call the Salvation Army to 
come pick up the left overs Monday morning.

I stop at every garage sale in my neighborhood in order to chat with 
the neighbors. I seldom ever buy anything but I am always interested in 
meeting the people who live around the area and a garage sale is an 
open invitation.

Each year the co-op preschool does a joint garage sale  with all its 
members and we raise $2-3,000 from peoples donations.  It is the most 
fun, fund raising event, a great community building and conflict 
resolution experience (what! you are going to sell my broken 1972 lava 
lamp for only $2????), and is a great source for things I never knew I 
needed but couldn't pass up for the price.

Rob Sandelin
Regretting that I turned down a collection of bike fixing tools for $5  
at a garage sale now that I need to fix my bike...

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