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Civic Impact

Second Hand Sunday gives unwanted household items new life

Neighbours in Ward 21 trade household goods during Second Hand Sunday

Curb alerts, reusable goods, trash treasures, curb scores: whatever you call them, it’s not unusual to find unwanted but perfectly usable goods dotting Toronto’s sidewalks on any given day. For Caroline Brooks, these items sparked the beginning of Second Hand Sunday, the second of which was held this past Sunday in Ward 21.

“It came originally from us looking at how much stuff we own. One of the things we’ve been looking at in our lives is how to limit how much stuff we buy.” Brooks, a member of the Second Hand Sunday organizing committee, says that one of the major drivers of this concern was the birth of her children. “You have a lot of stuff when we had a kid, so we were looking at ways to share those things.”

Second Hand Sunday is simple: on the last Sunday of April and September, households in Ward 21 (St. Paul’s) are encouraged to leave clothes, kitchenwares, electronics, books, furniture and other items that they no longer needs on the curb. Neighbours can then browse the streets, picking up goods that they might otherwise need to purchase. “We saw this as a way to promote the sharing economy. This was a way to share things rather than having them end up in landfills,” says Brooks.

The event started last September with thirty households participating. This weekend saw more than 150 houses across 45 streets placing their items up for grabs. “We wanted to make it as easy as possible,” says Brooks. “It was so nice to see people out in the neighbourhood, and it was a community event.” Local charities like Na-Me-Res, the YWCA, and Wychwood Open Doors also received donations from households in the ward, which Second Hand Sunday helped facilitate.

Brooks hopes that future Second Hand Sunday events spread into new wards. “Hopefully, it keeps growing,” she says. The next Second Hand Sunday will take place on September 25.
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