What’s yours is mine

Some of the accessories up for grabs

And what’s mine is yours

By Ellen Margulies

I’ve never been one for vintage and thrift shopping. I love the idea of it; I love the way others are able to see possibilities and put together outfits from someone else’s discards. But I’ve never been very good at that on my own.

I may have stumbled upon a version of that, however, that will work. My friend Beth recently put together an impromptu accessories swap on a Sunday afternoon. She invited several female friends to bring five accessories they didn’t wear or use anymore to swap with others. We ended up with a pleasant couple of hours poring over each other’s one-time treasures, finding new treasures of our own, and possibly consuming some alcoholic beverages because, hey, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, amirite?

I’d never heard of this idea before but I thought it was brilliant. And very creative: No money changed hands, everyone brought home several new items and it was seriously a great way to shake off the post-holiday blues. I had envisioned a free-for-all, snatch-and-grab situation, but it was thankfully more organized. First up: Beth wrote down little numbers and put them in a bowl. Everyone drew a number, and that was the order in which each of us got to go up to the display area and pick one item. We went up and down the numbers, 1-8 and then 8-1, until everyone had at least five items and no one wanted anything that was left.

accessories to the crime
Accessories after the fact: Donna, Karen, Susan, Beth, another Donna, Caroline and Gale show off their gotten gains. Coco Chanel would not approve.

There were a few things left over, and these are being donated to charity.

My sister Karen, who went to high school with Beth, was there, too, and she and I predictably both went home with at least one of the other person’s cast-offs. I’m pretty excited about my earrings and bracelets, with plans to turn the latter two, both adorned with pretty cross charms, into something crafty. (I expect it will show up in this blog before you know it.)

accessory swap collage2
At left, seasoned jewelry shopper Karen snatches up a necklace so quickly it’s all a blur (kidding; I’m just a bad picture-taker); top right, we also chose from purses and lunch bags and totes (oh, my!); bottom left, I drew lucky No. 4, and these were my winnings.

I would love to do this idea with Christmas wrap; I can’t be the only person who is sick to death of the rolls of wrapping paper that I’ve had for years on end that never seem to run out. Fine, because I keep buying new ones, but still! Wouldn’t it be great to know someone else could get some life and enjoyment out of something you’re so over? Everyone at the party was keen on doing this again with home accessories.

This swap-party idea also appeals to my desire to overcome my hoarderish tendencies, since I did not come home with more items than I’d left the house with. I try to have a new-item in, old-item out policy, but my three dressers, three closets, uncountable storage bins and random piles of clothing and shoes suggest this has been a less-than-successful policy.

So, creativity lesson No. X in a series: There’s more than one way to bring new life to your closet. Or your earlobes, as the case may be. Happy swapping!


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