Recycle Your Tat With A Car Boot Sale

Do you have too many things? Is your house full of stuff you never use? You need to organise a car boot sale!

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Do you have too many things? Is your house full of stuff you never use? John is feeling guilty and looking for a solution!

Read and check you understand this vocabulary before you read and listen to the text:

loft: room or storage space under the roof

tat: old and/or unfashionable things  

to vow: to solemnly promise

to clear out throw away accumulated tat

to bear: to endure and put up with

hoarders: people who keep useless things

bob: word for a shilling (old UK money)

to haggle: to negotiate over price

foldable: an object which bends or folds

lull: a pause or interval

stalls: a table from which goods are sold

Listen to the audio (refresh the page if it’s not visible)

I am into my third decade living in Gasteiz and I have a serious confession to make……. my loft is full of tat. Cassette tapes, VHS videos, baby clothes, books, box files of Trotskyist literature, letters, school notebooks, toys and enough shoes to put Imelda Marcos* to shame.  The list is endless.

Every summer we vow to have a clear out but it is always half-hearted as we cannot bear to throw out objects we have not used for more than twenty years.  We are hoarders. I admit it. Has anyone got Marie Kondo’s phone number? I need her.  The situation is not sustainable on my personal micro or indeed the macro world-wide level. I don’t want to let Greta Thunberg down so I have decided to do something. 

I want to introduce the great British tradition of the ‘Car Boot Sale’ to the Basque Country. 

Car boot sales are a fantastic way of redirecting the consumerist urge away from resource-usage and into enthusiastic recycling: instead of throwing away old and buying new, we re-buy old. It is a virtuous circle: the sellers make a few honest bob from clearing out their junk, the buyers find bargains and the Earth doesn’t notice the difference. It is also a cost-effective, guilt-free alternative to fast fashion.

So who is with me? All we need is a day and a time and an open space. Log off the net for a few hours and go on an open-air treasure hunt with your friends or family.  Who knows what you might find? 

Top tips for buyers

• Arrive early with cash, and some plastic bags

Haggle – sellers aren’t expecting to get what they paid for the item originally 

• Use your imagination – remember it’s easy to adjust clothes by changing buttons or shortening a hem

Top tips for sellers 

• You can often start setting up two hours before the advertised opening – ring the organisers to find out

• Bring a foldable table along, plus a seat for lulls in trade

• Bring lots of change and a tin with a lid 

  • Be aware of the trade laws 
  • When pricing items, check their current worth on the internet – you may have a valuable item
  • Bring a friend – this allows for toilet breaks and a look around the stalls

* Wife of ex-dictator of the Philippines who had a lot of shoes

pastedGraphic.png  Written by ECP coach John Hird  (Tips: The Guardian)

Let’s chat about that!

Write your opinions in an email and send them to your ECP coach!

  1. Do you have too much stuff? Just in your loft or elsewhere too?
  2. Have you ever had a clear-out of your house or loft ?
  3. Why do some people become hoarders?
  4. Have you ever been to a car boot sale?
  5. Do you know any good places for a car boot sale here?


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