The Give and Take Room Challenge

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Back in February, my boyfriend and I were training for a local version of the Newlywed Game (in hopes no one would care that we are not actually married). During this rigorous preparation–which mostly just consisted of us watching reruns and being sassy with one another–this question came up: “What do you do that annoys your partner the most?” I playfully answer with something hyper-sappy, while he stares me down, point blank, and with a deadpan voice says, “Your piles.”

I feel I am not alone in this world with this problem, but I am self-aware enough to realize this is an issue that is mostly shared among people who live alone or are teenagers. My dreaded piles are all over the house. I have mini mountains of clothes in the living room, laundry room, master bedroom, guest bedroom, and even a small one forming in his bathroom. I, of course, have a system, so I know what are clean piles, dirty piles, and I-can-wear-it-at-least-one-more-time piles. But alas, I felt guilty for how much annoyance my organized chaos caused Joshua, so I decided to do something about it.

A couple of weeks prior, Natalie and Jenny asked me to wear nothing but Give and Take Room clothing for a week, and I was truly excited about this opportunity. In case it was not made obvious by my hoard of laundry, I love getting fun, quirky clothes that are new to me; however, it only seemed fair that I do a purge before bringing in a whole new batch of goodies. I am a highly sentimental person, so parting with some items was difficult, but I eventually brought three black bags of dresses, shirts, and skirts that I felt had served their purpose in my life. They were still cute clothes and in good condition, but I am at a different place in my life than those dresses represent. And that is okay…I think I started getting emotional giving away many of the things I loved wearing in college, because I felt like it was closing a chapter in my life.

In many ways, I was; but all good writing ends with a cliffhanger, that propels us into the next chapter! My week of using the Give and Take Room was a lot of fun!

As a curvy girl, wearing between as size 16-18 in dresses and pants, I was little concerned about there being enough options in my size. But I never had any problem finding items to fit me. Much like any store, in the adult section, there is everything from XS to Plus sizes. So, over the course of about two weeks, I started collecting items from the bins, and got enough items to be able to mix and match about 9-10 days worth of outfits, and a pair of jammies! As somebody who spends a lot of time working from home, cozzy jam-jams are a must!

During most of the week, I only wore my outfits while running errands or getting dinner with Joshua. I think he was so grateful I minimized the piles, he decided to thank me with queso! However, I did have two major social functions during this time. First, my Master’s program hosted a career faire, and all the students were told to dress professionally. I got a long, silky New York and Company dress (with pockets!), a shawl, and heels the weekend prior from GKC. All day long, I got compliments, and I was eager to tell them where I got my outfit! I loved being able to represent GKC in such as simple, but applicable way.

Similarly, the following weekend, I attended an old college friend’s birthday party. We are all a bunch of dirty hippies deep down, so I knew they would appreciate a service like the Give and Take Room. Once again, anytime someone would compliment my “funky (80s) shirt” or “jazzy (yellow) pants,” I would give my thanks, and then tell them a little about GKC. I had several people tell me they were interested in volunteering sometime, because GKC sounds like a place they would feel comfortable and be able to help others simultaneously.

I feel like I should explain, I was not trying to sell GKC to anybody. I was merely proud of the community, and told them facts about how we work. We operate on donors and volunteers, and everyone pulls together to make the community stronger.

GKC and all our services are not commodities that need to be sold; we are something to be experienced. Whether you are deciding to give your items a second life with a new family, or coming to get items your family can use, I encourage and implore you to check out the Give and Take Room sometime. It is prime Spring Cleaning season, so why not let other community members enjoy kitchenware, clothing, or shoes you once loved, but no longer have use for?

Even though my week long challenge is over, I am still rocking the skirts, dresses, and tops I got from GKC, because they are legitimately cute and comfortable! In fact, I had an interview with the VA last week, and half of my outfit came from the Give and Take Room (the heels I wore at the career fair, and the orange top with the two big flowers).

So whether you’re looking for kids clothes, work clothes, party dresses, or lounge wear, instead of racking up a bill at Target, give GKC’s closet a chance.  – Cassidy Clevenger, Samford University Social Work Intern

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