Swap Before You Shop

It’s not a secret that in what is considered to be the First World we are actively and constantly encouraged to buy and consume as much as possible.

This “use-and-throw” disposable culture is very damaging for the planet and its resources – just think of the water cost everything has – and instills a frame of mind where as soon as there is something wrong, or a slight malfunction with any object “It’s broken” and therefore “You might as well get rid of it, it’ll be more expensive to try to fix it anyway!”.

In some cases this unfortunately is true, however with a little effort we can first of all prevent damage, then we can also try to fix things such as clothes etc.

Another effect is the accumulation of things.


I think this is the best word to describe it. It denotes the right sort of impression, something you are quite detached from, that you find quite alien and even bothersome.

It’s getting in the way, it’s taking up your space and you don’t know what to do with or can’t be bothered with it…the sheer thought of going through this stuff makes you feel like you’d rather clean the toilet with a toothbrush. 😐

Ill-fitting clothes, duplicates, gifts that aren’t getting the love they deserve…

I’m under the impression many can relate to this congested space situation, so a while ago I thought we could have some sort of get-together to try to decongest our spaces and give our stuff a new home, while finding something we would actually want to keep and use ourselves without the need to buy anything.

I don’t really know how to call this, but “swap before you shop” sums it up well. 🙂 Maybe I was unconsciously influenced by the idea of Swishing parties.


I sent an e-mail to some of my friends and we had our do yesterday – it went so well that I can’t wait to do it again!

My flatmate C and I prepared the flat and waited for the others to arrive and add their unwanted stuff to ours.


Home-made guack and snacks

Home-made guack and snacks


Our living room was soon filled with clothes, shoes, belts, bags, books, DVDs, bracelets, necklaces, ties and more random objects that were ready to be swapped.


Swap Before you Shop


Once everyone had arrived and all the stuff was out, we just started choosing whatever we wanted to keep, and putting them aside, trying things on, and yes, playing dress-up too. It was really fun 😀

Everyone found something that they wanted to keep that someone else had brought.

C found two really nice jackets that Le brought and looks great in them…


Badass Cat


Out of the items that were swapped, I saw that L kept a dress of mine I don’t wear anymore and some Clinique products, Le took a coffee press we don’t use here at the flat, H kept several tops, including a new one, R took a corset I bought for no apparent reason ages ago, a DVD and some slippers and J said she was going to leave with more things she came with! I chose some tops, a bright nail varnish and a mountain of books 🙂

C actually found that my friend D had brought a book she herself bought only a week ago!


Shopping for free

Shopping for free


That’s how someone described it, shopping for free! I’m really happy everyone had fun 😀




The radio in the picture was C’s and I’m going to try it in my room and see if it sounds less fuzzy and is less temperamental than the one I have at the moment that I bought 8 years ago.


Rosie looking for the missing slipper

Rosie looking for the missing slipper


At the end there were a row of ties that hadn’t been touched, but as soon as L mentioned she used to use her dad’s ties as belts we all went nuts and grabbed some and tried it!

H also said one of her friends cuts and stitches them to use them as bag straps.

Tie Group

A bit of creativity can really change how you see things. It’s not only a tie. It’s a strong piece of material that can fasten or hold something. What can I do with it? 🙂


A lot of stuff was leftover, but we’ve bagged it all up and we’re going to take it to the Cancer Research UK and Oxfam shops down the road as my flatmate G and I have gift aid tags for these two charity shops and it really helps them keep more money from what they sell.

After the last time G took some bags to Cancer Research UK they sent him a letter telling him they had made an extra £50 thanks to the Gift Aid stickers! That’s amazing, and to think that these things are now going to be used and loved by someone really makes me happy!

-A total of 17 full carrier/bigger bags were taken to our local charity shops 🙂


Do you find that you have things you no longer use that could be used by someone else?

Would you organise or go to a similar do?

7 thoughts on “Swap Before You Shop

  1. Hi Sophie. That’s a very cool idea. We recently did a clean-up before moving into Mum’s place to look after her. I managed to take about six boxes of stuff to charity shops, but still there were 6 bags of junk to go to the dump. Felt so bad. I would absolutely go to/ throw a party like this. I have a friend who lives ages away who would probably go for the idea too. They moved the same time we did, so now we all have to build new networks 🙂


    • Hi Trish!! Yeh, it seems like moving homes is always the ultimate way to realise what is not being used!
      Yesterday we took a total of 17 bags to the charity shop!!
      Maybe, in a new place, Freecycle would be useful to meet and exchange with other people too…I can’t wait to do it again! 🙂


  2. Pingback: Vegucation, Indieness and Filth | GreenTrails&TeapotTales

  3. Pingback: 2015 Snippets | billow

  4. Pingback: Vegucation, Indieness and Filth | billow

Leave a comment, I would love to know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s