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The Soul of Swapping

Each season we are bombarded with advertisements that tell us we need the latest look with all the bells and whistles (i.e. bags and shoes) to go with them. On a recession budget, or any budget for that matter, it’s not always an option to saunter into the mall and pick up the trendy sweater and kitten heels. Yet we all want to look out best and look as fabulous on the outside as we feel on the inside.

Solution? Good old fashioned swapping.

The Reality

(Almost) everyone I know can walk into their closet right this very second and pick out at least a dozen items of clothing and shoes that have not seen the light of day in YEARS! What was once purchased with love, or at least an intent to wear someday, can end up gathering dust and broken dreams in your beloved closet.

What if we can gather these precious once loved bag of clothing, shoes, etc. and invite a few of our friends to do the same. Now we’re seeing the possibilities. We’ve all heard the old saying, “what is one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.” Well, we can adjust that slightly by saying, “what was one woman’s old tight shirt, can be another woman’s fabulous new blouse!” (This isn’t only for the ladies though, swapping works for men and especially kids!)

The Swap

The “swap” has long been associated with a huge gathering in some large building or a parking. Then dozens upon dozens of tables are set up and STUFF that can include everything from collectibles to toys. However, in recent years the swap has moved to a more intimate setting. The swap party is a whole different animal. You can organize a swap party in your own home and invite as few or as many friends as you would like. You can even start small and try this casually with one friend by browsing each others closet. The idea isn’t so much the venue but the people and the spirit you’re trying to foster.

The Benefits

It doesn’t take much planning to create a monthly or bi-monthly ritual of cleaning out the old and sharing the new to help give life to a wardrobe without shelling out the dough. You can even expand this to include house wears and treasure swaps as you near the holiday season. The soul of swapping is about giving life to something that has already made its way through the production cycle and is now patiently waiting for a new owner. To you it’s a sweater you haven’t worn in a year, to someone else it’s a brand new adventure!

Online Swapping

Swapping has also gone online. There are sites dedicated to “swapping shopping.” You post your stuff for swapping and earn credits for “purchasing” other items posted by swappers all over the country. Most of these sites require you to pay for shipping, which can be a flat rate or negotiated with the other swapper, but membership is usually free.

Here are a few sites that I’ve found. Let me know what you think of them:

The only warning I have is that you WILL get addicted to this way of looking at things. A way in which we can create a community of exchange and sharing that can connect you to your friends way beyond simply sharing a great cardigan. Enjoy!

Signing off… EcoDiva [5].

(Photo: tweng [6])