Janky to Swanky and a Little Junkin’ Too

February 9, 2023

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Janky to Swanky Week!

This week past week is one of my favorites: Janky to Swanky Week! It is truly one of the best things Instagram has brought into my life. I love the friends I have made and the challenge too. We have the best time together. If you are new to Janky to Swanky, here’s how it works:

Janky to Swanky Chair

Janky to Swanky is a challenge to take something that’s less than desirable and make it into something beautiful. Each person has a $30 shopping budget to purchase something Janky for their J2S challenge partner. {Boy was it hard this year to shop under budget. Inflation has even hit the dang junk stores. After we swap our items, we have an additional $20 to purchase any supplies needed to make our “janky” item look “swanky”.

There are really no “spoken rules” other than the budget, but we try to get something that has SOME potential. Last year, Kat did Melissa dirty…she gave her a PLASTER pedestal. I can’t believe Melissa was able to turn that thing into anything beautiful but, she did. 

Janky to Swanky Friends
Janky to Swanky crew {looking swanky}

Janky to Swanky Crew

There are four of us friends that swap: Me, Wes, Kat and Melissa. It’s hard to align all of our schedules, but we try to do this at least once a year. Sometimes we draw names from a hat and sometimes we just swap with whoever’s schedule aligns better. For the challenge this time, I swapped with Wes. Leaving Melissa and Katherine as each others challenge partners. None of us ever share with one another what item we’re swapping until it is shared with you all on Instagram! We shop in secret and plan a fun meet up to reveal to each other what we’ve purchased.

My Swanky Strategy

Wes gave me that old chair and honestly, I loved it. The last three J2S challenges {yes, we’ve been doing these for awhile!} I was gifted beautiful old pieces that I felt bad about pulling apart. But we wouldn’t have a janky to swanky if I didn’t, so had to be done.

I don’t ever go with my initial ideas for the janky item. My thought tends to be: If i thought of that right off, most likely so did everyone else. I love a good reveal as much as the next person so I try to get really creative and think outside of the box. My goal is to create something I will actually use in my home AND that’s easy for others to recreate.

A Janky to Swanky Valentine’s Plan

With this J2S being so close to Valentine’s day I thought the chair might be a good piece to create valentine’s decor with. As you can see from the photo, the chair was a bit difficult because it had a lot of small pieces. The ideas I kept coming up with were only using some of the chair parts, but I wanted to use most or all. In order to use most of the pieces, I realized I would have to create more than one “swanky” item!

J2S Valentine
Janky to Swanky Valentine’s

The Big Reveal

One of the things I loved about this chair was all the different wood grains and colors. I had the idea to keep it in its original condition while making it work for my home in more ways than one. Now, the old chair seat is a cute riser that can be moved around the house. I feel like the final look truly fits in my “new old house.”

Can you guess who these wood people are?? Mark, me, Jack and Sevi 😉 Who knew old chair legs made great people? Ha! I don’t know if I will ever put this one away. It reminds me so much of those expensive Willow Tree figurines people buy. I would have had to spend at least $50 if I had purchased one of those from a store! Instead, I painted the chair legs, added some twine, a heart and these little doll heads and saved myself some cash.

Last, but certainly not least is this little guy. If you followed along on Instagram, you know I was having a hard time seeing anything other than a vase when I looked at these parts. It took me a bit to come up with another idea because again, I really loved the wood grain and didn’t want to hide it. After awhile, I realized the “vase” piece and a chair leg would make a great seasonal hanger! The best part is, I can swap out the gnome seasonally. He comes with different attachments! I have a feeling my family will have some fun with this one too (already thinking about Halloween 😉

My Best Junkin’ Tips

Ya’ll know I love to junk! Janky to Swanky is right up my alley, because the best part of junkin’ to me, is making something beautiful out of nothing. So, if you are a fellow junker, new to junkin’ or you are on a budget {let’s be honest, that’s the real reason why I started}, here are my best tips:

1. Look often! You have to be patient because its always hit or miss when you start looking around. I’ve had so many misses in between those lucky finds. If the weather is nice, yard sales are an amazing way to find great stuff at discounted prices. I always go to thrift stores before the beautiful antique shops. Pro tip: All of those antique vendors are shopping the thrift stores and yard sales before reselling in the antique shops. If I am on the hunt for a very specific item, I will literally map out a route that hits all the junky thrift stores before those high traffic, beautiful antique shops. I also check Facebook Marketplace almost every day for items. You never know what will pop up that you didn’t know you needed.

2. Ask the Stores: If you’re going to places like Goodwill, ask what days they set out new inventory. Be there first thing in the morning on those days, so you can get the first look before it gets picked over. You would be amazed what you can find that way!

3. Facebook Marketplace: Some of my best items are from marketplace (like my Cloffice Desk!) A good thing to know about marketplace is, if you see an item that’s close to what you’re searching for (think antique bed, etc) but it isn’t quite right, save it. The Facebook Algorithm will know what you’re looking for and continue to search similar items {who knew Facebook helped with junkin’ and not just ads right?} A little tip, people posting on marketplace may not always title things correctly. For example: hutch may be listed as cabinet, wooden cabinet, china cabinet, etc.

4. Haggle: Some people feel negatively about negotiating but I always say it never hurts to ask and 99 times out of 100, the price is negotiable (almost anywhere!)

Janky to Swanky 2023 is in the books!

I am blown away each Janky to Swanky at the creativity of my friends! It’s so fun to do something that challenges me creatively while having fun with my friends. Were you surprised by what I made this year? Let me know if you try to recreate any of these on your own!!

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  1. Heather Robertson says:

    Janky to swanky is my favorite! You are all so creative and inspiring! Everyone did great this time around!

  2. Gaela says:

    Also, just as in J2S, look at items to be something other than their original purpose. 😉

  3. Delane Duncan says:

    If you go thrifting and don’t find anything don’t quit going. It is always a hit or miss.
    Going often allows you to scan quick and find the new good stuff.

  4. Tina Peiffer says:

    Love your info the best of all. My friends are fans, too. Not to blow your head up, but you’re discussed in the nurses break room often. Love you

  5. Beth Gomez says:

    What a great idea hi came up with! And the little riser is also something I’m sure you can and Will use all year long. I don’t blame you on the little “people” they are to adorable to put away. Great job by all! Thanks for the thrifting tips.

  6. Cathy Roehrig says:

    Hu! I’m Cat and I follow Wesley on the Nestedfig! After your Janky to Swanky post, i had to follow you! I am so excited. I have signed up for your news letter too! 😃

  7. Dee-Dee says:

    You hit it out of the park this year on your J/S!! I love everything you created, but my favorite is your “family”. So simple, but adorable!! Thanks for sharing your creativity with us.