Thrift Story: The Tales Behind ‘Boyfriend’ Knights and Creepy Clown Paintings

What if you could know the story behind that ugly sweater at the thrift store, or get into the mind of a person who once owned a creepy clown painting?

Thrift Story is a pop-up community event in Boston that gives buyers a chance to know the backstories behind dozens of donated items from the Boston-area community. All the goods on sale are donated with note cards from the previous owner that tell a unique tale.

We wanted specifically to get things that people had held onto because of their sentimental value,” said co-organizer Lydia Emmanouilidou during their latest event at Aeronaut Brewing Co. “It would be interesting to see if people would give things up a little more easily if the item’s backstory was attached to it.”

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A tiny knight figurine that doubled as a boyfriend replacement. A fashionable faux flower that was worn by a bridesmaid when she got too drunk at her sister’s wedding. An animated doll named “Baby” that became a beloved passenger on a flight.

Stories like these are exactly what Emmanouilidou and co-organizer Amulya Shankar are looking to share with attendees. They give others a chance to glimpse tiny slices of life through something as simple as an oversized pair of gloves (worn during a bad relationship.)

The stories can be connected to hilarious situations, but some are connected to difficult moments in the former owners' lives.

A sweatshirt worn by a boyfriend while skydiving not long before he died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Pillowcases from a beloved grandmother who passed away. A tiny Buddha statue that reminded the former owner of summer visits made every summer before her aunt died.

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Shankar explained that their event can also make donors and buyers alike feel more connected to their local community.

“It’s very community-based, being able to possibly have your item go out to someone who maybe lives near you, or a neighbor or friend.”

The two radio producers obviously love storytelling and share their favorite moments from each event on their own podcast. With a few Thrift Story events under their belt so far, and more planned on the horizon, it seems like there will be plenty to share.

To learn more about Thrift Story visit

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