Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Swap Party:: a recap

I'm not certain if I "officially" announced my personal promise to NOT buy anything for myself (excluding food, services or extinguishable products such as deodorant) for the month of September in this space.  But, that's exactly what I did and it felt so natural and good to enforce that limitation on my spending that I continued it on through December (I am in fact still maintaining it).  I guess it didn't hurt that my birthday was in October (I did allow myself a certain bit of leeway, not wanting to be entirely legalistic, by giving myself permission to go above my Anthropologie gift card to purchase a birthday outfit or to use Christmas money towards the Tom's I was so hoping to get) or that Christmas was rapidly approaching.  I knew I'd be getting some goods, and frankly, I was looking forward to it!

After watching The Story of Stuff, which Mandy had posted on her Seeking Out Simplicity blog I felt that "depriving" myself was a necessary challenge...and although I didn't identify with all of the viewpoints expressed in the video I had to agree with the fact that...I have too much stuff, I buy too much stuff.  I'm a firm believer in "voting with your dollars" and felt like it was time for me to walk the talk. And so...I didn't "vote."

And then January rolled around and although I had received some very wonderful gifts in October and December...I was still itching for some "retail therapy."  I had also been brainstorming some ideas about how to practically simplify but continue to provide for our needs and the needs of others.  The idea seemed obvious- a swap!
So, a few days into January I sent an evite out inviting some ladies from my community to participate in a "New Year Swap."  I had promised to gather everyone's goods and sort them by category and then provide an evening of relaxation, drinks and snacks and some good old fashioned stuff swaping! FREE stuff! (I only wish I had documented it better...I literally had something set up in every part of the house.)
And I hate to pat myself on the back (who am I kidding? I'm a fan of self-encouragement) but I think the night was a raging success! Twenty-four ladies participated and I don't think a single person left empty handed.  I also think people really were able to purge in their own homes and evaluate what sorts of things they want to make a priority when it comes to collecting "stuff."
The night was a gift that keeps on giving as my good friend, Alisha, is so generously delivering all of our left over goods (and we're talking about 3 car loads full) to World Relief and I hope that these items will truly help those refugees living here in the Seattle area.  I couldn't have asked for a better process...purge, reuse, donate to a worthy cause where the recipients get to have the items for free.  I'm also super pleased to know that World Relief and Goodwill have a relationship where any unused items can be donated and Goodwill will provide vouchers for the value, so the refugees can truly get what they need.  What a huge blessing to all and it was such an encouragement to me to see how many women were willing to participate.
Thank you to everyone who participated and especially to Alisha who was such an amazing assistant on the day of the event and an even bigger servant for loading up her trunk and getting all of this stuff out of my living room!
I was originally dreaming BIG with this project and envisioned doing a swap every quarter...but honestly the event was so massive that I think I could only pull it off at most twice a year...and if anyone is interested in hosting next time...just let me know!

If you're thinking about doing one in your hometown, I highly recommend it and would be happy to give you any pointers I learned along the way.


Kristen said...

jenny--this event was such a blessing to all who were able to participate. thank YOU for being the visionary, the organizer, the hostess! when i walked into your home last thursday night, I was immediately excited to be there; everything was laid out so perfectly (i heard one gal say, "Jenny has made everything look so new and beautiful and appealing!"--and you totally did!), and the house was aglow with ladies talking and laughing and oohing and ahhing and having a wonderful time together. i think that was the best part: the "night out" for us ladies, and the chance to be together, enjoying our individual purging efforts, while casually "shopping" the truly great goods offered by those who participated in the swap. i can totally see this becoming an annual tradition that everyone looks forward to! thank you so much for all the work you put in to make the evening and joy and a huge success! it was such a gift to all of us! xoxo

Rebekah said...

seriously Jenny, I echo everything Kristen said! I even curled my hair I was so excited for the event! :) I thought it looked like a boutique in you home and I myself scored something I have been longing for but didn"t have the extra money to buy!! It was a gift Jenny thank you!!

alisha said...

Thanks so much for this recap AND even more for hosting the night! I agree that it was a raging success. One thing that I admire about you is you really do walk the talk and hosting this was a great example. All of us have been blessed with fun stuff and the refugees will be blessed too.

I went to put something in my trunk today and laughed because there's absolutely no room! But I should do drop off #2 very soon. :)

Maybe you could create a downloadable pdf about how to host a swap and share the knowledge love even more!

Kyle and HK Foss Family said...

That was so much fun and a great excuse to purge items after the holidays. Thank you for putting this great party together and I would love to attend the next big event - whoever may be hosting. What a great idea!


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