About six months ago I was invited to my first swap. The rules were simple. You bring anything you want, you swap with other people for their stuff that they brought, and whatever is left is given to charity. I love the idea and scored some great stuff. Since, back in December, we mistakenly assumed that February would be too cold to have the event outside, we decided to have it at my place. After I told some of my friends about this event they all got really excited about participating and apparently starting squirreling away all of their stuff that day.
The day before the event, I was expecting around 15 people, and even borrowed a couple of long tables so we wouldn't only have piles on the floor. In the past, we had five people...not 15 and I wasn't entirely sure if this was going to be fun, or utter catastrophe. It was certainly chaotic, but oh so fun.
|This is the before picture with Newton investigating the tables that have my meager offers on them|
The day before, I put out all of the items that I had assembled from around my house. All those toiletries that were hanging out in the rarely used guest bathroom could go, along with a bunch of old purses, some clothing that didn't fit, jewelry that I would never wear, drinking glasses we were not longer using, some pots, towels, stinky candle and shoes were among the things I had no qualms about giving away. The great thing about the swap is that you can give people stuff that has been used. It allows me to get rid of all of those bottles of body wash that I'll never finish using, and hair products that I bought on a whim. It's a great excuse to clean out your closets and bathroom cabinets.
We have a pretty big house. Actually, it's too big for the two of us, and we rarely use the front room As people flooded into my house, bringing bags and boxes, and donations oh my, that room size shrunk. We ended up having at least 12 people, almost all of them had been to my house before and knew each other. Everyone pitched in, helping haul boxes in, making quick work of the pre-swap organizing. We had boxes of books, Christmas decorations, handbags, shoes, so much clothing, kitchen appliances and more. It was overwhelming how much stuff was in my living room, and wow it was loud. My friends are just as animated as I am, I don't think that my husband regretted hiding in the basement with the cats. Newton, being the most sociable cat alive, apparently cried as the cats were blocked off in the basement. He wanted to join the party! I just didn't want him to run out the front door that was being frequently opened and closed. When we did let him out, he came and rubbed on everything and flirted with everyone.
|Lots of people in my living room...|
|with lots of stuff|
|This is the same table as the first picture...only now it's really full (as was the floor in front of it)|
|Kitchen appliance table|
|Happy Hostess taking a quick break|
I LOVED this hat, but didn't need another one. I did demand a picture be taken of me though .
After everyone had assembled I explained how we would deal with those 'most wanted' items. You know, that thing that makes your eyes light up as you imagine it in your living room? Well my husband came up with a silent auction idea, where cards would be assigned to each person with a symbol one side, and a number value on that back so that you could 'bid' up to 15 points on any item or number of items. It worked really well and the one time there was a 'tie,' one of the women just said the other could have it. It was a great way to keep people from immediately attempting to claim things before people had a chance to look at everything. I admit that I did grab a Vera Bradley cooler bag as I was helping to unpack but my friend said that I deserved to take 'taxes.' I laughed at then, but afterwards, I realized that I really did have much time at all to go through and look at individual items, so I'm glad I was able to do that. In the end I only kept a few items, but no regrets at all!
After all of the high 'bid' items were spoken for, people found areas to claim for their piles, and went to look through all of the rest of the items that they might want. My kitchen turned into a impromptu changing area as people tried on clothing. Modesty apparently wasn't really in high demand, and it was all women anyways. Nudity will not be the selling point for the next swap, but it was amusing.
I assumed that I would have to haul everything that was left to charity and there was LOT of stuff left. Since I offered to have the swap, I figured it was my responsibility, and I wasn't going to complain about it, but I really wasn't looking forward to it. I really have some amazing friends though. I was blown away when first one friend offered to take some stuff to Goodwill because she was heading there, and then another friend said she could take as much as we could fit in her car. It was...glorious. Everyone else pitched into pack up everything and take it out to cars. Quickly my living room started looking like a living room again. I had asked that people try to bring a donation for a local charity, and now have a huge stack of stuff to take to them, and that's pretty much it.
|A small amount of the food, before 12 ladies descended and made short work of it!|
After our swaps, we were understandably exhausted (haha) and needed proper nourishment, so we assembled in the kitchen were everyone brought something to share. It was a last second idea, asking people to bring food but without me having to buy anything extra, we had enough food for 15 people to have a decent lunch. One friend even brought some bean enchiladas from another event she had recently attended. We sat around and ate, chatted, and caught up. Two of my friends stuck around all afternoon and we put a puzzle together from the box of puzzles that Mariette brought to give away:
|Finished Puzzle! It glows in the dark!|
And then when the noise dropped down, my husband ventured back upstairs to help make a delicious chicken dinner. Actually the husband was ONLY interested in making the chicken. The women decided we needed more than just meat, and my friends quickly made some sides of butternut squash and potatoes that were delicious. After dinner Julia had requested that play Munchkin, so of course we obliged. Oh yeah, she won too....
|Our exhausted WINNER!|
After all this, I was dead tired, and slept so well. It was a wonderful day, full of wonderful people and equally wonderful memories. I'm looking forward to having another swap in a a couple of months, and doing a deep purge of my house for that swap. A HUGE Thank you to everyone that came!!
Have you ever been to a swap? How did you manage ties?