Aaah, the joys of retail therapy. Nothing quite like purchasing that gorgeous item of clothing, those to-die-for shoes or that something special for the home to lift dangling spirits and freshen a foul mood. But, why oh why does it always lead to near-depletion of funds leaving you hungry and sad once more as the end of the month approaches? Surely there has to be another way, right?
Well, good news, everybody! THERE IS! It’s called a junk swap!
Don’t worry if it sounds a bit strange, it was all new and weird to me too. But then I attended my very first one last night and let me just tell you… IT. IS. A.MAY.ZING! (I am very excited about it, hence the exclamation marks).
The Background: I got the tantalizing invite from Meg – a girl who studied with me and whom I have barely seen during the 5 years since graduation – via Facebook a couple of weeks ago and the bargain/quirkiness hunter in me just leapt with joy! Of course I immediately hit the ‘ATTENDING’ button, but as the date crept ever closer my courage started waning and I kind of decided to maybe just… well… not go. But luckily incurable curiosity won out over the combined force of shyness and hoarders’ syndrome and off I went with faithful friend Lisa in tow.
The Experience: It turned out to be a fantastically fun evening of girliness as about 10 of us gathered around food and wine to celebrate each others’ junk. And no – not the Black Eyed Peas kind of all-that-junk-inside-your-trunk-Junk, rather all that junk inside your wardrobe, jewelery box, kitchen cupboard, garden shed and bookshelf. I.e. The stuff you haven’t even glanced at in a year, nevermind worn or used.
How it works: You ruthlessly suppress your hoarders’ instinct, collect all your unused items, stuff them in a large bag and close it tightly, so you aren’t tempted to take anything out. You head on over to the house where the swap will be taking place, bravely part with your offering by placing it on the pile of other lovingly collected bags… and then wait. After a bit of chatting the hostess – Meg in this case – will gather everyone around and the fun will start. In our case Meg held up each item and if you liked it you just had to shout. Of course there was a bit of conflict here and there, but things were solved quite easily with model-offs and graciousness.
What I got: A cute yellow t-shirt with an owl on, an awesome vintage scarf, a nice woolly winter scarf, Element Jeans that fit perfectly, skinny black pants, a jacket from Mexico, a pretty white dress/blouse, a rastaish t-shirt from Transkei and a pretty black tunic thingy. And the best thing about it is that I don’t even feel bad, because I gave just as much as I got! What is also very cool is that Meg approached a charity shop to take on the heap of excess items. The money the shop makes goes to The Rural Children’s Fund or something like that 🙂
Cool things other people got: I think the finds of the evening were definitely a classic black trench coat, authentic Tibetan boots and an amazing Tibetan-esque jersey/jacket to go with them. Sadly I didn’t get any of these items, but it’s okay, think they found more suitable homes with the other girls 🙂
The conclusion: Although it was majorly exciting to walk away with a big bag full of new clothes, what was even more valuable, was the incredibly interesting lesson I learnt out of it: often the stuff we think is useless/ugly/unusable is heaven to someone else! I was amazed at how many of my unused clothes and books caused the other girls’ faces to light up long after my own fascination had worn out and vice versa! Incredible!