The New Trend in Swapping Goods

Swapping goods – a new social activity!

Once a month, a group of 10 ladies from Des Moines, Iowa, get together to swap household items they no longer want or use. The idea of a swap began when the women, all belonging to the same crochet club, began talking about the vast amount of material things Americans buy and never use or wear. Bev shares, “Rather than waste stuff or have it sit in our closets unused, we get together to swap items. It’s become a fun social event. We rotate where we meet. Everyone brings an appetizer and their favorite beverage. It’s a real hoot! It’s a party where we get rid of stuff we don’t use and come home with useful treasures.” Another, more important aspect; the items not taken are donated to a local shelter!

Here’s how it works:

  • Each month participants gather together. Everyone brings one to three items and places them on a table. Items can be anything from a new or gently worn article of clothing to a set of brass candlesticks or toaster oven.
  • Everyone puts their name in the hat. A number is assigned in the order in which names are pulled. For example, Mary’s name is pulled first, Jane’s second, Liz’s third. Mary will be number 1, Jane number 2, Liz is number 3.
  • Number 1 picks first, followed by number 2, 3, and so on…
  • Those unhappy with their picks at the end are free to ask others if they wish to trade, or they may give the item to the hostess who will take unwanted items to a nearby donation center. Check with your local church, homeless shelter, or donation center such as Goodwill, if you are unsure of what items they accept for donation.

The rules are simple:

  • New or unused items are welcome, along with gently used items.
  • The item(s) for the trade must be clean, in good condition, and/or in fine working order.
  • Nothing should be extremely valuable.
  • Items must be something that you will not regret swapping.
  • Once you “trade it”, it no longer belongs to you.
  • The idea is to give unwanted items the chance to be used, repurposed, or donated.

The ladies from Des Moines enjoy time well spent together. Liz shares, “The swap helps me to clear out things I don’t want, need, or use. Last month, I brought a puzzle I never opened. After the swap, I came home with a small evening bag that I will use for an upcoming wedding. Usually I like what I pick, but a few times I chose to donate what I ended up with. That’s okay with me. It’s better than having something go to waste!”

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