Some Call It Karma

Dear Reader,

Do you believe in karma? Full disclosure, I barely believe in anything, but something that happened recently could easily be considered karma.

A while back, I unofficially declared that November is the month to celebrate “giving” (more here). In the spirit of giving, I took the opportunity to give away many used items through Facebook. In this process, I have given away mostly food items, kitchen items, and other random things like spools of thread and an unused water bottle. Also, I have taken the time to go through my (very meager) collection of books give some away to my local Little Free Library. Overall, this process has felt like a cleanse — I got rid of the things that I did not need and felt good because of it.

One of the reasons I feel good about giving things away is because a few years ago, I was in a position where buying cheap items on Facebook and procuring free things seemed like the only options. I was not aware of “giving” groups on Facebook during this time and searched for free things the old-fashioned way — on the streets. It was summer at the time, close to the start of the school year and students were moving in and out and it was quite common to find boxes labeled “FREE” filled with used items on the city sidewalks. Through this scavenger method, I (and my then “apartmate”) acquired chairs, a kitchen table, dresser, a bedside table, lamp, vacuum and even a couch for exactly zero dollars and zero cents. The only real cost is that I broke a toenail trying to move the couch — worth it… barely…but worth it!

Now, a few years later, I am in a better place and I can give and still have enough for myself. This gives me a feeling of contentment that I do not take for granted. Now, that I can give — I do! I am not a rich woman by any measure (I’m a grad student FYI, you won’t see me throwing about money left and right), however, giving away used items is something that I can do and enjoy doing because I know how important these items can be for others.

One day, I was very successful in my giving endeavor and was able to hand off five different items in one day. Excited about a job well done, I took out the recycling as a symbolic gesture of doing one more good deed. When I opened the door to the trash room, I was very surprised to see a few boxes sitting in the corner filled with clothing. While this “trash” may not have caught the eyes of others, used clothing is very appealing to me — I love thrift shopping! To see perfectly good items sitting in the trash room is not incredibly unusual. On occasion I see old pieces of furniture and appliances with “FREE” signs affixed to them. I have also seen boxes of clothes sitting in the trash room before. However, what was so unbelievable about these clothes was that they were just my size and mostly my style — I hit the jackpot!

Because of the pandemic, I do not go out shopping too much anymore and have only gone thrift shopping once in over six months (more here). To see clothes sitting in a box in the safety of my own apartment building at my disposal actually made my heart speed up. I like shopping. If you don’t like shopping then you may not be able to relate to my feeling of elation when I spotted this excellent “deal.”

After sifting through the box’s contents, I took a few dresses, a skirt, a few tops, and even a formal jacket. In addition, to help the cause of diminishing unnecessary waste, I took a few additional clothing items with the purpose of donating them. I carried the items back to my apartment and felt a pleasurable combination of good fortunate and winning — it really was an “I-hit-the-jackpot” sort of feeling.

How funny is it that on the day that I gave the most things away, I also got some nice things in return? I don’t take out the trash every day, so I was certainly lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Maybe some of you may even call this karma!



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