Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to: Have a Gank Day

What is a Gank Day?
Gank Day is a great event where one gets together with his or her friends and everyone brings clothing, accessories, books, etc. that they are no longer interested in. Then people sort through the offerings, and people take what they want.

How to: Have a Gank Day

Step 1: Figure out a day
This seems pretty self explanatory, but you need to figure out when you want to have a gank day. It should be far enough away the people will have time to cull their rooms/houses, but not so far off that they will forget about it. I like to schedule them out 2-4 weeks.

Step 2: Set up a donations pick up/drop off
Chances are there will be some things that no one is interested in. Rather than forcing the person who brought it to take it back home, bag/box up the leftovers and give them to charity. In my neighborhood a charity truck comes around every 2 months. Near my hometown, there is a huge Salvation Army drop off center that accepts donations a few days a week. Figure out where the orphaned things will go before they are left behind.

Step 3: Invite some friends 
It is best if the friends have overlapping taste in clothing, books, whatever people are planning to bring. If you invite a friend who only wears pastels and another who only wears black, chances are they won't be able to use much of each other's clothing. Of course, if you are inviting 10 people with varying tastes and those two people are part of the 10, they could both find things they want in the offerings.

Step 4: Prepare the space
How you want to hold gank day is up to you. Do you want everyone to lay out their stuff in piles, and let people look at stuff at their leisure? Do you want to hold up each article one at a time and let people call out when they want things? Both options work well, depending on the number of people/things involved. Both options also take some prep work.

  • Put stuff in piles: There should be enough space so that each person's pile has some breathing room around it. People need to be able to move things around to see what is available, and they should have space to set aside what they choose without having to worry that someone else will take them. If possible, leave a corner available for people to set aside their containers/bags once their stuff is set out, and they can put their new finds into those containers. Important: For this option, you want to leave out as little extra as possible. You don't want your friends to accidentally take some of your decor because they thought it was up for grabs.
  • Auction style: People will need comfortable places to sit. For my friends, this includes the floor, so I pretty much always have enough seating. If your friends don't sit on the floor, you might need to pull furniture from other rooms to accommodate.

Step 5: Host Gank Day!
Have some snacks and drinks available. Make introductions when necessary. Rifle through things and hopefully gather a few (free!) additions to your life.

Step 6: Prepare the leftovers
Once all the guests have made their selections, leftover items should be packed up, ready for donations. You can choose to have your friends help with this part, or do it yourself. Just be sure to do it immediately; you don't want all that stuff cluttering up your space.

Step 7: Donate
I'm pretty sure this one is self explanatory.

More about Gank Day
What can people bring?
This is up to you, but some ideas that have worked in the past:
Clothing, shoes, electronics, movies, books, small appliances, food that has been in the pantry that you bought on a whim but know you won't eat (nothing expired, though), bedding, craft supplies, furniture (for large pieces, photographs will suffice), baby/pet accessories... If it goes in a person's home and is still useful though is not being used, I allow it to come to my Gank Day. What you allow is your choice.

How does it work?
People bring stuff. Other people go through it, and take what they want. It is like shopping, but free. Of course, you could choose to have people pay for things; that is on you (or your guests). Whatever works best for you. If you wanted to have a yard sale with the leftovers instead of donating them, that is perfectly acceptable. The main idea is to not throw away perfectly good things just because you don't use them anymore.

What if my friends live far away?
Have an e-party. Use skype or google hangouts to show off your items, then exchange items the next time you see each other, or be prepared to ship things. You could also use photobucket or dropbox to upload photos of your things for people to look at and decide if they want them.

What happens if more than one person wants one item?
Expect this to happen. If you are in that situation and you don't absolutely love it, let it go. If you both think you love it, try it on. Use it for its intended purpose. See if it is something you really need to have. Chances are, one person will like it more than the other.  

What is the point?
There are a lot of pros of Gank Day. You get to rid yourself of some clutter. You have the opportunity to find things that you love without having to spend money. Things have the chance to be useful, rather than sitting in the back of a closet for years. By donating, you keep those items out of a landfill. 

Have you ever had a gank day? How did it go? 
Please leave stories, comments, and questions below.

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