Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Barter, swap, gift: Beyond money

completely alienne mentioned, in a comment about her de-cluttering activities, that she'd used an online book swap. She didn't mention her site, but there are many, ranging from international (Book Mooch) to country-specific, like the UK's Read It Swap It.

Strictly speaking, this might not de-clutter, since another book is coming to you, but it's a great way to read to your heart's content without the time limit of a library book.
Or you could swap your book for one a friend would enjoy, recycling your book into a gift.

Bartering is on the rise as a way to reduce, recycle, or just participate in a community of support. People willing to propose barter discover, as Michael Phillips and Salli Rasberry said in "The Seven Laws of Money", "there are worlds without money".
U-exchange.com, a member-only site based in Cambridge, MA, includes boards for many countries. They've nearly doubled in the past year, with nearly 50,000 persons enrolled.

Some members have very specif
ic requests: a pure bred Arabian horse for a Dodge pickup, for example. Other offerings hint at untold stories: "Boxes and boxes of legal paper for letter paper."

I'm considering a house-swap for a one or two-week vacation, one of the most popular and successful forms of barter; have you ever done it?

Barter offers are posted daily on Craigslist- see "For Sale/Barter" and "Housing Swap" listings.

You can also just plain give stuff away. We used the local board of the the Freecycle
Network to give some unused office equipment to a young woman who needed it- as their website says, "changing the world one gift at a time."

I'm eager to hear of anyone's experience with barter or gifting.

8 comments:

Frugal Scholar said...

As you might expect, I love swaps! Long-time member of paperbackswap and cd swap. Did Bookmooch for a while too.

Two people I know did house swaps in Europe. I think the desirability of your area is important--and, I would guess, that Toronto is very desirable. Little town outside New Orleans is not so good (very hot in summer). So one family, ecstatic over a swap in Paris, traded their giant house with pool for a little apartment in the 19th (I think). All the people we knew who knew Paris said "EUUUUUU"--and this proved to be correct. But I should think you could get something excellent.

Lois said...

Hi Duchesse

Glad to see you mention home exchange - it's a great way to travel and save money! Many exchangers will find swaps via Craigslist but, especially for first timers, it pays to join a private members only specialist home exchange site for the guidance and information available to members (including advice on researching locations of homes before agreeing to swap).

I am Canadian but have lived in London for many years, running Home Base Holidays since 1985. We have a very large number of home exchange offers throughout the UK and worldwide. I also publish a blog, Travel the Home Exchange Way, and hope you will visit, or get in touch, if you have any questions about swapping homes.

I am 62 and still interested in fashion so v. glad I found your blog!

Duchesse said...

Lois: Welcome! Will certainly check out your blog, might be the ammo I need to convince my husband to do an exchange!

1st Home Exchange said...

If you need some ammo to convince your husband (or yourself) regarding the benefits of home exchanging you may want to view our two CBS videos of real people swapping homes and discussing their experience. You'll find them on our site, 1st Home Exchange.

And aside from listings in 130 countries, you'll also find several articles and tips to help you find and arrange a swap.

Good luck!

Tony

Imogen Lamport said...

I have been trying to organise a house swap for our imminent trip to LA - but because of our tight schedule, I've had no luck unfortunately - I think it works best if you are flexible with dates. Though, having spent quite some time on house swap websites I'm sure we'll do some swapping in the future for other holidays.

I also barter my services - my logo was designed by a graphic artist who I did consultations for.

I'm always open to a barter - if it is something I'm interested in I'm happy to exchange services. It's a great idea and way of doing business.

Shay said...

I do my hairdresser's books in exchange for a monthly color and cut, and swapped a year's worth of checkups for custom drapes with my last dentist.

And I check the curbs the week after graduation at our local university town (it's amazing what students throw away).

Duchesse said...

Imogen: I'm envious of the desirability of what you can provide. Will be eager to hear about LA!

Shay: Great examples, and I love how you reverse-pick from students!

materfamilias said...

Home sick today, but still mustering some evening energy to check my blogs. We did a house exchange almost 20 years ago through a company called Intervac -- took all four of our kids to a lovely family home in Blois, exchanging cars as well. A lovely way to settle into a neighbourhood, be able to shop the markets, cook your own food, etc. Only problem I had was having to repair the sèche-linge. Bad enough trying to get a good repairperson here at home -- even more exciting in another language!