While half this city and a tidal wave of festival tourists are busy rapping along to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” at Outside Lands on Saturday, the rest of us will actually be digging, digging, searching right through that luggage, at the Massively Epic Bernal Heights Neighborhood Garage Sale Extravaganza Thingie a.k.a. The Bernal Heights Hillwide Garage Sale. Luckily for us treasure hunters/hoarders on the prowl, there’s even a sweet map pinpointing all 80+ houses participating. Look, they’ve got a goddamn iPhone link to the map on their site so you don’t have to print out all the locations like its 2002. Just think of the hundreds, if not thousands of copies of Guitar Hero and Karaoke Idol yet to be discovered and ignored. I’m drooling already.

Homeowners in the Bernal Heights hill area wanting to take part in the garage sale can do so by bringing their stuff outside and plopping it down, although the more official route (that also gets you on the super exciting map) is to register on the site and donate at least $10, which ultimately goes to the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Plus, donating $20 or $35 gets you on the “The Wall of Fame,” so do that if you’re into seeing your name in online print (I certainly am). Last year 96 houses participated and they raised over $1,200 for the neighborhood!

Here’s a tip or two if you plan on heading over:

  • Muni will be PACKED with entirely too many smiling, loud teens from all parts of the West Coast, talking about Kanye’s rant the previous night, and asking the surrounding strangers where they can buy molly.
  • Wear your comfiest walking shoes. Somehow it is impossible to walk downhill in the Heights, it’s like some screwed up MC Escher drawing, but with fewer stairs and more knick knacks, doo-dads, and thinga-ma-bobs to buy.
  • Clean up after yourself. Yeah, I shouldn’t have to say that, but I also shouldn’t have to keep stepping on soda cans and sandwich trash left on my stoop every morning. Seriously, who keeps eating their lunch outside my door? Cut it out.
  • Haggle constantly. If you’re not into haggling, why not just order all your stupid keychain charms from Amazon and be done with it? Plus, you can later spend all the money you saved on garage sale crap to buy a small bag of vegan chips. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

So just show up around Bernal Heights this Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., pick up a free range iced coffee latte nonsense, and start haggling over someone’s entire collection of Alanis Morissette on vinyl. As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come-up.” 

Photo by Myleen Hollero for "Why I Love Living in Bernal Heights"