If you know me, you know one of my passion's is volunteering at a rummage sale. And not just any rummage sale but the self-proclaimed oldest and largest rummage sale in the state of NJ. It's quite an event.
I'm in the middle of my tenth sale and the magic of rummage amazes me every time. You see, this isn't your typical rummage sale.
Before I started volunteering, if I heard the words 'rummage sale' I thought of the basement of the church of my youth. The women of the church would collect donations and then one Saturday afternoon the sale would commence and we would get to buy things we didn't need for a quarter or a dollar.
The rummage sale today is sponsored by the Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills (VNA-SH) and is celebrating it's 95th year, in 2016. 95 years. That's a long time. As I have been told, it started small as a rack of dresses and has grown to a multi-day event (twice a year) with 20 departments and over 400 volunteers. Amazing. You can buy almost anything at rummage.
I love just about everything related to rummage. The generosity of people who donate personal and household items. The VNA-SH who provide wonderful services to the local community, including the Adult Day Program which my mother attends. And the volunteers who give their time and talent. That's the good stuff. The not so good stuff includes the portable toilets and bad weather. Rummage is an outdoor event that lasts a month between set-up, collection and the sale.
I experienced the magic of rummage during my first sale when I was able to match a buyer with her dream piece of clothing. I volunteer in the Boutique Tent, the home of women's designer clothing. I know this may sound odd, but rummage clothes all have owners and a home. The Spring 2016 sale is no exception.
We receive many interesting and valuable donations. This sale we received a wedding gown and wedding gowns are hard to match and sell. This gown found its home when a seamstress, whose niece is getting married in the Fall, saw it and inquired. She was hesitant and started taking and sending photos to the bride and mother of the bride. You see, the bride had champagne taste on a beer budget. The aunt knew she could transform the dress and exceed the expectations of the bride. You could see creativity as she told us what she would do with the dress. The ladies of the Boutique Tent knew this dress had just found its owner. We rallied around and negotiated and made the magic happen. When the dress was sold, we all cheered. Not because we had made the sale, but because the dress had found its new home and the good work of the VNA-SH would benefit.
The wedding theme continues as another magical event occurred when a future mother of the bride saw a fur stole and imagined wearing it over her shoulders at her daughter's December wedding. She was hesitant and thought she would come back the next day to get it and immediately started to worry it would be gone. I handed it to her to try on and look in the mirror. Her face lit up when she saw it because it was perfect. It was a beautiful piece, very vintage and in very good condition. I knew this piece had found its owner and I needed to make the magic happen, so I did. With a little negotiation and a lot of good intention, the fur stole found its home. Again we all cheered. It's rummage magic.
Not every item sold at the rummage sale has a dramatic story but every item sold is magical. Since my first rummage sale I have said rummage clothes are magical. When you wear them, you carry with you the good intention and generosity of the donor in addition to good will you earned when purchasing the item. Magic.
Now that I am in the midst of my tenth sale I also understand that a necessary part of the rummage lifecycle is re-donating the clothing and items you have purchased. I love all of my rummage purchases: clothing, shoes, lamps, chairs, pottery, etc. And as they come to the end of their useful life for me, I send them back to be loved by someone else.
Many organizations collect clothing and household items to be sold and raise funds. I can't speak for them, though I am sure the magic is there in its own way. I've experienced the VNA-SH Rummage Sale magic and it’s one of the many reasons I return to volunteer, rain or shine, hot or cold, busy or not. I will be there as long as they will have me.
I love the magic.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of magic! Deb
Deb Wilber is the owner of Real Life Spark, a coaching practice dedicated to Igniting the Next Generation of YOU!™