Swappin' 21st Century Style

by Katy on April 3, 2009 · 7 comments

Paperback Swap

How many of us have homes full of perfectly good clothing and stuff that sits completely unused?

Yeah, I thought so. 

A wonderful and completely recession-friendly solution is to the look to the swap. 

Swapping is all the rage in these uncertain economic times. (And no, I’m not referring to the fun and games involved with the swaps of the, ahem . . . 1970’s.) I’m talking about the swapping of services, clothing, housing, books, household goods and even the excess from your garden’s bounty.

Some of these swaps are internationally organized, others are local. Either way, it’s a great method for getting goods and services into the hands of people who can benefit. 

Some of the swapping organizations that are seeing a great surge in population are:

Veggietrader.com: A free online website that hooks up people with excess garden produce with one another. There’s a bit of small print, especially for Californians, but looks to be a terrific site.

Homeexchange.com: This well known and respected international group connects people looking to swap their homes for short vacations and longer. There is a small fee to participate, but it pales in comparison to hotel rates.

Craigslist.org: This free online classified site has a swap section that has everything from soups to nuts. Each city has its own chapter, so find your city and see what’s available or wanted.

Pdxswap.com: This Portland, Oregon specific site organizes frequent clothing, book and “stuff” swaps throughout the Portland metro area. There’s information on the site about other area swaps, as well as how to set one up in your neck of the woods.

Paperbackswap.com: If you’re a bibliophile who has a need for book ownership, this site’s for you. As a free member, you list a certain number of books you’re willing to mail out to other members, and input a wish list of books you wish to receive. There are literally millions of books available, and the website is chock full of love letters from devoted members. There are also sister sites, swapacd.com and swapadvd.com.

Freecycle.org: Everything’s free! This is another one of those sites that has hoards of rabid fans. People love it for putting goods into the hands of people who will actually use them, as well as picking up terrific items without any money being exchanged.

Swapping is frugal and green. What’s not to love?!

I’m sure I’ve left out a number of websites, as it seems that new swapping organizations are cropping up on a daily basis.

Do you know of any more swapping groups, or have a great swapping story to share? Please tell your tale in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

thenonconsumeradvocate April 3, 2009 at 1:22 am

Having just written this, I got an e-mail about an art supply swap this Saturday that’s not too far from the house.

I. Am. So. There!

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


LeAnna April 3, 2009 at 7:16 am

There’s also timebanking, which is the swapping of services and/or knowledge. I don’t know a ton about how it operates, concretely, but I’m thinking of seeing if something like that would take off, here. I would LOVE to give a back rub or a tutoring session in exchange for some free childcare or cleaning services! The advantage of the time bank system is that you don’t have to do a 1:1 exchange. It’s not like I give you a back rub and you give me an hour of free childcare. I give you a backrub, you give Pat help weeding the garden, Pat gives Jessi an oil change, and Jessi gives me an hour of free child care. 🙂 Crazy, but the time bank system keeps track of it all.


Kristin @ klingtocash April 3, 2009 at 8:18 am

I have been a member of paperbackswap for a long time. I love this site. I’ve been able to get a number of books which I can’t get from my library system. I collect books from family members to post. It’s a wonderful site.


Kristen@The Frugal Girl April 3, 2009 at 10:24 am

I’m a huge freecycle fan. SO great for getting rid of stuff and also for picking up some pretty awesome “junk”. I’ve gotten tons of good furniture from there, and also lots of clothes for my kiddos.


Angela April 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm

My husband and I are members of both HomeExchange.com and Homelink.org. We took a fantastic vacation last year- 5 weeks in London that cost less than a week in hotels would have. On top of that, since you’re “living” there, you get to know the neighbors and the local markets and places to go, and you can cook as many meals as you care to at home. We had a completely positive experience and look forward to several more great vacations using this service. One note- it doesn’t feel like swapping with strangers, because by the time of your trip, you’ve been corresponding often. We even met our “exchange partners” because they picked us up at the airport and showed us around the first day.

I’ve also had great luck with clothing swaps among friends.


thenonconsumeradvocate April 4, 2009 at 9:31 am

Hey Non-Consumers,

Here’s a great piece from Get Rich Slowly about a “Swapluck” party:


I’m inspired!

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


BohoBelle April 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Hi Katy,

Very interesting. I love the idea of running a SwapLuck get together (such a cute name).

Over the weekend I made a huge batch of basil pesto, it would be great to share and swap products like this with family and friends.

I’m an active member of couchsurfing.com. We really enjoy providing our spare room (for free) to international travellers who pass through our town.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: