consumerism generosity shopping simple living

Swap it!

Recessions are good for some things, and one of those things is alternative economies. Time banks, local currencies, bartering and swapping all see a resurgence whenever the economy takes a tumble. Swapping brings people together, saves you money, keeps stuff out of landfill and uses less of the earth’s resources. The internet makes swapping a whole lot easier, so here are a few sites you might want to check out.

First things first – if you’re not on Freecycle it’s high time you joined. A network of six million people in local groups around the world, this works by a daily email of things offered in your area. If you can pick it up, you can have it. My wife and I got our TV and microwave off Freecycle, and we’re holding out for a dining table.

Another favourite of mine is Bookmooch, as you may well be aware. List books you want to give away, and choose from everyone else’s. Aside the postage, it’s a great source of free books. Readitswapit is a UK based site that works on similar principles.

We all have unworn clothes lying about. Get them on and get them into the hands of someone who’ll wear them, and pick up something new for yourself while you’re at it. See swapstyle too, and whatsmineisyours too.

Need somewhere to grow something? Check out landshare, or see if the freeconomy community is active where you are. They’ll share tools too. Once you’ve got the space, get some seeds off the seed-swap site seedypeople.

You don’t just have to swap actual things, you can exchange skills too. Need some decorating done? Offer to do someone’s tax return in exchange and it’s yours. See timebanking or justfortheloveofit.

Music, films and games
This one’s tricky because there are just so many and they can be more commercialised. There more there are, the harder it is to get enough people on one of them to generate a good selection. Let us know if there’s one you’d recommend, but check out swapitshop, tradehut, or gameshare for starters.

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  1. I have been rather disappointed with ‘freecycle’. I have never been able to pick up anything that I have looked for. Goods offered are snapped up within minutes of being posted. I begin to suspect that there is a group of individuals who buy up goods and then sell them on ebay or elsewhere.
    The concept is a good one; but it does seem to be rather open to abuse.

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