How to host a stuff swap

22 April 2022

In honor of Earth Day (today!), I wanted to share about something fun we tacked on to Articles Club this week: a stuff swap!

Our beautiful table at Stephanie’s! She is good at what she does! :)

What’s a stuff swap, you ask? In our case, it was a chance to trade our gently-loved items for someone else’s: similar to a yard sale or thrift store adventure, but with only the creme de la creme of items – the treasures you’d be thrilled to bring home after a long day of hunting. Ours was very casual, quick, and simple, but still fun – and it made me want to host a more full-scale swap in the future! Here’s a little bit about how it worked.

Unlike a book swap or a clothing swap, this was a stuff swap, and anything was fair game. Gals did actually bring clothing and books, but there were also beauty items, home decor finds, kids’ stuff, paper products, and more. We limited everyone to bringing just ten items so it didn’t become overwhelming, but I think if the swap was the focus of your event, you could raise the limit!

Some of the goodies and the gals

Steph had set up a folding table in her living room, and as we arrived, we rather unceremoniously arranged our items wherever they fit. This was just fine, but again, if you were going all out, it could be fun to designate different areas for different categories or provide more surfaces/levels to “merchandise” the goods.

To decide who went home with what, we started with a snake draft. (A snake draft, if you’re not familiar, goes like this: person A picks, person B picks, then person C, C, B, A.) We did two snake draft rounds and then opened up the floor for everyone to choose any remaining items they’d like. No fist fights ensued, but there was plenty of QVC-esque marketing of items, ha!

Early picks included a countertop compost bin; a pair of Hunter boots; Anthro coffee mugs; pretty tea towels; the Floret, Elizabeth Holmes, and Annie F. Downs books; a cocktail shaker; heart-shaped cake pans; and a wooden charcuterie board. There were also cozy sweatshirts, a grab bag of greeting cards, candles, and even a few Drunk Elephant items.

For my part, I was pleased to snag a cozy cream sweater (above), jean shorts, a trio of glass candlesticks, and a leopard shift dress. Our youngest and most stylish member, Adelyn, brought the sweater, and even though it was an item she was getting rid of, I snagged it without a second thought, ha!

Any items that weren’t claimed went home with the original owner. It was a welcome opportunity to clear out a few things that felt too special to send to Goodwill but were no longer serving our closets or homes. And a lovely way to live out our article theme for the month: sustainability and green practices!

Have you ever been to a stuff swap? Or a swap of any kind? What kind of swap would you want to host? (I think a cookbook swap would be fun!)

P.S. Earth-friendly swaps in our home

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April 22, 2022 10:37 am

I think we should make this a regular thing at AC! Twice yearly or quarterly, maybe? Also, SO IN for a cookbook swap!!

April 24, 2022 3:27 pm

I haven’t done one…but how fun!
I do something similar with several friends regularly; we text pictures of things we no longer need and I’d say 90% of the time I find a home for the items. It makes me so, so happy to do this.

April 28, 2022 2:08 pm

Well THIS sounds like such a fun idea! Thanks for the inspiration, friend. You look adorable in your new cream cardigan snag! Xo

May 1, 2022 8:31 pm

I have been wishing something like this existed! and been brainstorming how I could make it happen in my community, haha. Thank you for sharing how you all did it. Definitely bookmarking this page. :)