Spring Awakening! Instead of More Shopping, Try Swapping

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If simply unloading your stuff is too much of a cold-turkey approach for you, consider swapping. Ideally, it’s a zero sum gain in terms of stuff, with one item gone for every “new to you” possession you acquire. And unlike shopping, post-swap you’re no poorer than when you began.

Consumers took special interest in exchange hubs like Swaptree, Clothing Swap, and other swap sites during the recession. And what most folks who’ve participated in swaps have come to realize is that swapping, bartering, and other means to avoid actually spending money are easy, wholly sensible strategies.

Even though it’s been declared that the recession is over, and there are quite a few signs the economy isn’t a total basket case, sensibly frugal tactics like swapping are continuing to grow in popularity, says USA Today:

The rise of the quid pro quo possession comes courtesy of a host of reasons: budget-tightening during a persistently sour economy (swapping is mostly free, save for shipping costs or, for face-to-face fetes, a nominal entry fee); eBay, consignment-store and yard-sale fatigue (you might only get a few dollars for all the effort required); hand-me-down headaches (rifling through a garbage bag of kids’ clothes is daunting and inefficient); environmental awareness (swapping, of course, is the ultimate form of recycling) and fashion experimentation (it’s a frugal way to try out trends).

You know you have stuff that you’re more than willing to part with, per the facts gathered in the story:

About 23.8 billion pounds of clothing and textiles land in landfills every year, according to Goodwill. Another new swap site, ThredUp, did further digging and in surveys conducted last year found that a quarter of a person’s closet goes unworn and that by age 17, kids have outgrown more than 1,300 articles of clothing.

To get you started on the road to swaphood, the USA Today story has a sidebar of 8 helpful bartering sites, including Paperback Swap (for books, obviously), Refashioner (clothing), and SwapMamas (all things related to moms and kids).