OTTUMWA— Residents didn’t have choose between one or two garage sale to look for deals Saturday. They had the option of going to dozens.

Residents were eager to participate in the citywide garage sale, eager to buy or sell holiday decorations, clothing, kitchen utensils and a many other items.

The most popular items Linda McClure had for sale were kitchen appliances. McClure had goals for her garage sale and fun in the process, something she hadn’t done in a long time. “I haven’t done a garage sale in 15 years,” she said. “I made my goal to raise $50 today before noon. ”

McClure was close to reaching her goal but was not upset by it. “I’m thankful for things I was able to sell, like a pair of shoes,” she said. She was happy to get rid of unwanted items, but more so pleased with how the citywide garage sales, including hers,made customers feel. “Some were looking for specific items and got them,” she said. “It was fun to have the garage sale and get rid of these items.”

Michelle Celania wanted to participate in the citywide garage sale after seeing it on Facebook. Her success with customers was a steady one, but like McClure and other sellers, she wanted to put this on in order to rid herself of unwanted items.

But unlike McClure, Celania has hosted plenty of garage sales, usually on her porch or in the front yard. “I wanted to host this in the front yard just because it’s on the main street.”

Celania displayed multiple items, but most of them were holiday decorations. “There’s florals, Fourth of July and Halloween stuff,” she said.

Just as residents had hoped for, they were able to get good deals. Ressa Howell, a buyer, came in from Albia just to see if she could find some items. “I found excellent deals,” she said. “I got this crystal ball.” Howell is a hardcore garage sale buyer, usually going almost every weekend in summer and spring.

Howell was not only grateful for finding deals, but also to Ottumwa for having this sale. “It’s a great way for people to find deals and make connections,” she said. “It’s wonderful to know an event like this can even draw people from outside town.”

Brad and Kassi Johnson were also able to find deals. Similar to Howell, Kassi Johnson is a big fan of garage sales. “I love garage sales because I don’t have to pay full price for things and clothes for the kids,” she said.

Brad Johnson also enjoyed himself, hoping to find discounted prices on musical instruments. But his love for discounted prices didn’t stop there. “It really was great weather for a garage sale,” he said. “Buyers can buy; sellers can sell. It’s a win win for everyone. It was a great idea to make it citywide.”

Homeowners were not the only ones participating in the citywide garage sale. Calvary Open Bible church members participated, too. Pastor Neil Anderson and his wife Charlene hosted a garage sale in order to raise funds to repair the church parking lot.

“We initially wanted to host a garage sale,” Charlene Anderson said, “and then when we heard about the citywide garage sale, it was perfect. We’ve been very busy and had a lot of success.”

Neil said putting on the garage sale didn’t just happen overnight. “They really worked tirelessly to put this on — setting up and everything,” he said. “Everyone in the congregation pitched in to make this happen.”

Charlene Anderson, like other sellers, had goals in mind. “We didn’t wanna take any of these items home,” she said. “The ultimate goal is to really use the money to help the church.”

Neil agreed, also hoping buyers and sellers got something out of this sale. “We hope this garage sale met the needs of the people,” he said. “We’re trying to help people and bless them.”

Chiara Romero can be reached at


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