A bonanza for shoppers and recyclers

The Prague Post

Community yard sale in Prague 3 will benefit school, charities

Attention bargain-hunters, shopaholics, secondhand scavengers and anyone else who misses good old-fashioned yard sales: Head to Prague 3 this weekend for a closet-clearing extravaganza. Or do some housecleaning of your own and get ready to wheel and deal.

The occasion is the second annual Community Sale of Used Goods, a joint effort of Základní škola Jirího z Podebrad (Elementary School at Jirího z Podebrad) and Phyllis Plotnick, an enterprising American who moved to Prague 10 years ago from Florida.

“I always enjoyed yard sales in the States, finding items I needed and could buy used, or sometimes treasures or unique items,” says Plotnick, a retired physical therapist who now teaches English and ballroom dancing. “And every couple years I would have my own sale to clean out my home and simplify. There were other people who could use items I didn’t need anymore, and I could make a little money.”

Plotnick talked to city officials last year about holding a yard sale on námestí Jirího z Podebrad. When nothing came of those discussions, she turned to the local elementary school.

“The school said yes at the last minute and we had a great time,” Plotnick says. “It was fun, feeling like the whole community was having a new experience.”

The staff at Základní škola Jirího z Podebrad didn’t need much convincing.

“It’s great that Phyllis came to us with the idea,” says Assistant Principal František Rada. “Schools should be a center for the community, and we are open to anything that would bring people here.”

Along with creating an annual community event, both Rada and Plotnick like the educational opportunities a giant yard sale offers the students at Základní škola Jirího z Podebrad.

“Environmental education is one of the topics we are required to teach, and this year we wanted to talk more about reducing stuff,” says Rada.

“We’ve emphasized the theme to the community and the school to reduce, reuse, recycle,” Plotnick adds. “We hope to encourage people to see that a community can make changes and lower consumption.”

Older students have distributed flyers to promote the event, while the younger ones are designing environmental posters. Teachers will be incorporating the theme into classes, encouraging students not to throw away things they no longer want, but to see if someone else may have a need for them. Rada hopes students will set up tables themselves, and have the experience of being sellers.

Any proceeds raised will be used by the school for one of its charity projects. In the past, Základní škola Jirího z Podebrad students have supported the children’s cancer clinic at Motol Hospital, sponsored a child in Africa and adopted two animals at Prague Zoo. Clothing left over from last year’s yard sale was donated to a local homeless shelter.

Based on last year’s offerings, shoppers should have plenty to browse through, including electronic equipment, sporting goods, adult and children’s clothing, dishes, books, jewelry, cooking utensils, small appliances, linens, shoes and lots of toys. Plotnick hopes to attract even more sellers this year.

“The easier part is getting people to come and buy,” she notes. “It’s harder to get people motivated to sell.”

If you have a closet, basement or garage in need of a cleaning, it’s easy to join the fun. Just call Plotnick to reserve a table, pack your unwanted items and be ready to man the table this weekend. Rental fees go to the school, and you keep whatever you earn.

It’s a relatively new concept in this part of the world, which is exactly what excites both Rada and Plotnick.

“We want people to buy or to sell some nice things, help the environment and be a part of the community,” Plotnick says.

“The biggest part of it is people coming to the school and being together,” Rada says. “Just come and see!”