Big on yard sales and garage sales? Like the free lists on Craig's List? I've got another way for you to share your discards that's much more fun. You can re-purpose those items that have lost their way by throwing a Swap-O-Rama. It's sort of like those holiday swapping games, without the stealing rights.
I first read about this concept in a newspaper article and since have learned of others who've actually participated. A few questions and I quickly discovered it really IS fun! I'd like to be invited to one--hint, hint--if any of my friends get the urge.
So, how does it work? It's entirely up to the hostess to set the rules and a plan. Some of those guidelines will involve maximum number of items each person may bring, communication of the destination of leftovers (usually donations), considering a theme that suits your guests, location large enough for the guest list, planning a system for displaying items (sometimes there isn't one!), and most importantly--refreshments. Keeping in mind that this swap is a party helps to keep the mood light and the attitude fun.
According to Shoenberg, Facebook invitations have been used to get the word out to plenty of potential participants, without wasting paper, ink, stamps, valuable time in phone calls, or other resources. It seems like a no-brainer for me. I'm in!
Further, websites like Swap-bot, Frugal Village and Swapthing offer similar concepts over the Internet. No gas, no party, just a simple trade: my stuff for your stuff. But what's really cool to me about this trendy new shopping party thing is its effect on ladies attitudes toward used stuff. It's becoming cool to be thrifty. How great is that?!
Blogs are popping up all over with themed exchanges. What's your vote on that idea? Keep in mind, this is a green and organic blog: Reduce, reuse, recycle. Maybe it would fit my goals and you guys might actually enjoy the shopfest. So here's what I'm thinking. We'll run a mini-test. I'll give you till September 15 to clean out your closets and take digital photos of anything you're willing to swap.
Theme: Eco friendly. One Rule: Anything such as natural fiber clothing, toys, housewares, home decor items, books, (all clean and in relatively good condition) will be fine. Clothing and personal care items should be made without artificial ingredients or toxins. One Tip: Keep the really heavy items and anything extremely breakable off your list. They'll cost too much to ship.
Send your photos to me at CarrieLeaJohnson@gmail.com, with any notes of interest to a buyer. When I post the items, I will not identify owners, simply item numbers. If a reader wishes to swap for an item, they can let me know. It will be first come, first serve for both swapper and "swappee". I will simply notify you of the item they wish to receive along with a name and address. You will ship it, and in turn, should request an item, if there is something of interest. 1 item=1 item, no values considered. No haggling or bargaining. Just simple shopping. Sounds easy, right?
What happens if none of your items are requested? No problem. You still have them, so you can donate them or repurpose them yourself. Perhaps you'll send all YOUR facebook friends a notice and have a Swap-O-Rama at your home. Great!
So, come on folks, clean those closets and lets show those other blogs how to put on a Green Shop-O-Rama, Organic Journey Style! I'll coordinate the names and addresses for the swappers, and I promise--no spamming. Your names and addresses will be used only for this purpose.
Questions? You know where to find me. Now get going!
Source: Nara Shoenberg, Orlando Sentinel