The idea of swapping clothes gained some traction as cost-conscious buyers struggled to keep their wardrobe up to date during the recession. The idea is simple, you get together with a few friends, bring those really nice clothes you don't wear, and then trade them with your buddies. You are able to get brand new (to you) clothes, purge some of the articles that have been cluttering your closet, and get everything for free. Everybody wins. For those of us who entered the job market in the midst of the recession, a swap can provide a bit of a boost when facing instability in the workplace.
I propose that these kinds of "swaps" don't necessarily need to be limited to just clothes. Why not swap furniture? Here's an example: You are moving to a new home that is providing you with quite a bit more space overall, but a much smaller dining room. You don't know what to do with your 8-person farm table. Why not trade the table and chairs to your buddy who has had their eye on it, and has a nice set of extra couches that you can plop down in your living room? Both parties win. They get the table they wanted. You were going to have to get rid of it anyway. Maybe you try to sell it on craigslist for a few hundred bucks. Have you seen what a $300 couch looks like? Rough.
There are two relatively simple ways to organize your swap:
- A party. Get together with a group of friends for dinner or drinks. Each person should bring pictures of the items that they are willing to trade. Make it fun. Print them out similar to trading cards (but a bit bigger). You should include the specs of the items (size, age, condition.) Lay it all out and go "shopping." Odds are you will leave without anything new the first time out. However, I can guarantee it will spur new conversations with old friends and will certainly loosen you up to the idea of participating in the future. Who knows? Maybe you come away with a new couch!
- Direct Swap. This is far more likely, and a bit easier to manage. Similar to the example above, start a dialogue with a friend about a piece of furniture they own that you have your eye on. They may share similar feelings for a piece that you have cast aside. If you start the conversation you might find that you don't have anything they want, but you know someone who does. MLB loves a multi-team trade. Use your outstanding GM skills to negotiate the deal and create a win-win-win. You might be surprised with how easy it is!
There you have it. Get a brand new look for your home or apartment for next to nothing. Strike up a new discussion with old friends, and you might be surprised at what you receive. It never hurts to ask!