Thrifty fun at the Stuff Swap


I found some lovely bird prints at a stuff swap hosted today by the local timebank. At a stuff swap, you bring things you no longer want or that you have too many of, and take stuff that you like. There’s no money involved, and in the case of this swap, no one keeps track of how much you’ve brought vs. how much you take. The idea is for each person to make that decision for themselves based on their own situation and what seems reasonable to them, and the self-regulation works out well: there’s always an abundance of stuff at the end of the evening that gets saved for the next swap or donated to a local charity thrift shop.


I brought some clothes, k-cups, and random unopened skin care products that I’ve been gifted and can’t use because they contain fragrances and my skin is picky.


I took this set of prints, which are just the right size for the picture frames I bought at this weekend’s garage sales — except there are three prints and only two frames, so I might have to rotate the display until I find a third frame that’s the right size.

Lilo is happy because I snagged some organic canned cat food for her.

I also got some plants to fill out my neighbor’s garden: alliums, grape hyacinths, compact daylilies, and spiderwort, as well as one tomato plant and a lemon balm (melissa) for potting.

I wish I had plants to contribute to these swaps, but there are so many weed patches in my neighborhood that any excess from my garden ends up being used to make those areas more civilized. I could probably spend all my free time pulling up garlic mustard, buckthorn and honeysuckle and never finish the job. At least planting daylilies and other vigorous non-invasives where I’ve weeded keeps some of the worst stuff from coming back.

If you don’t have organized swaps in your area, it’s easy enough to throw an informal one. Once a year a so, someone in my group of friends invites people over for snacks, drinks, and a swap. It’s a great activity for summer evenings. Everyone can lay their stuff out on a picnic table and peruse at their pleasure. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!

0 thoughts on “Thrifty fun at the Stuff Swap”

  1. Oooh, I would have LOVED this (though I wouldn’t have been popular at home!). The prints are great… You could maybe look at pasting onto woodblocks and varnishing them if you can’t find frames.
    I often find that the trust thing works well at these things… Though you only need one @&)*+$% to take the mickey and sour things for everyone else.

    • It’s usually pretty easy to find picture frames at the local thrift store, so I will try that first. … On our local Freecycle group, we had problems for a while with people claiming freely given items only to sell them on Craigslist or Ebay. People who are found to be doing that end up getting kicked out, though, so it is somewhat self remedying. Definitely not pleasant, though. For that reason, I tend to bring stuff that is useful but not easy to resell to these swaps, unless I know everyone involved.


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