The Winnetka Christ Church Rummage Sale may only be held two days per year, but organizers spend the entire year getting ready for it.
collect donations 300 days per year," said Charlotte McGee, "Rummage
Queen" and the coordinator of the sale. "We pick up furniture once per
month and store off-site. Everything else, we sort through and store here or across the street."
Church's Rummage Sale is one of the largest in the country, with 31
"departments" full of deals, ranging from the French Room (full of
designer clothing) to Infants to Accessories — and everything else imaginable.
pre-sort everything," McGee said. "We take out everything stained, torn
and dirty and we donate it to a rag guy or recycling."
Church hosts two sales — a smaller one in early summer and a large one
in the fall. Last year's sales raised around $290,000 — and all the
profits were distributed to over 50 charities.
"If you come here
and you shop here, you're not only recycling, but you're getting a deal
and all the money goes to charity," explained Rena Kowalski, who runs
public relations for the event.
Kowalski and McGee are assisted
by 71 department chairmen and a whole team of volunteers. Those who
volunteer 10 hours, as well as two hours on the day of the sale, can
shop the rummage a day early, with a 25 percent mark-up on all items.
its 89-year history, the sale has had a few notable items donated —
including a collection of catalogs from Elizabeth Taylor's auction (the
catalogs alone were worth $2,000 — $3,000) and a piece of art that was
"Every now and then, we get something really
good," McGee said. "We're torn — do we keep it and sell it to customers,
or do we maximize our profits [for charity]?"
Christ Church Rummage Sale was held Thursday, Oct. 3 from 7 a.m. until
3 p.m. A slideshow of items that were for sale is available here.