Archive for the ‘Bartering’ Category

Now that we are going to Brazil, you can imagine what a hassle we’ve been trough trying to organize the move.

We’ve got a lot of stuff (furniture, clothes, appliances) “New York style” that won’t fit too well in Brazil. So it’s time to donate, give away to friends or swap!

There’s nothing more fun than clean your closets, grab your friends and trade your stuff at a party where everybody leaves happy and nobody spends a dime.

Here’s how it works:

1) Invite a few friends and ask them to bring items to swap;

2) Bring also some food and drinks!

3) Lay out the loot allowing some space and time for each person to browse;

4) Everything should be clean and in good condition;

5) Tag each item with price and description of the product;

6) Take turns choosing one new item for each item that you brought;

7) Box and donate leftovers to charity at the end of the party.


photo from internet.


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Donna Smalin gives us some easy and simple organizing tips in her book “The One-Minute Organizer”. If you have too much stuff, getting a bigger house or apartment is not the solution!

–  Accept that you can’t control life by holding on to things. The secret is to let it go.

– Decide to have a “giving away” party for inherited estate items. Invite family and friends to tag items they would like to take. Donate any untagged items after the party.

– What’s the point of keeping memorabilia in storage? No one can enjoy it there. Look for ways to display, and even use, cherished items.

– We often hold on to things we no longer use because we paid “good money” for them. But what is the value of a designer suit that just hangs in your closet, getting older and dustier every year? Zero. Donate that suit and it can be worth $30.000 a year to the woman who wears it to an interview and gets the job.

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A lot of us might be running short on cash but still have a lot of needs and wants! Barter can be the best solution; we can trade what we have for what someone else has. It’s a win-win situation, very simple, and it works like this:

1-      Make a list of your skills, anything you can do well. Are you a French native speaker? How much do you love babysitting? Are you a handyman? How about teaching piano lessons?

2-      Now make another list of services you would have to pay for. You need help with your garden; you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook; a personal trainer would be awesome!

Now that you know what you can offer and what you would like to get in return, talk to your friends about bartering. Maybe someone who you already know can offer exactly what you need.

I’ve just bartered my professional organizing services for graphic design lessons. I’m very happy about it; hopefully soon enough I’ll be creating my own holiday cards. 🙂

If you don’t know anyone who can help you, just advertise your skills and search for services online. Check out some bartering websites:

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It’s about time to clean that closet and put away things that we don’t wear anymore, right? (I have to admit that that skirt size 4 is not going to fit me anymore, it’s time to say goodbye…) But what you may not know is that it’s possible to have fun and also save some money by doing so. How? Just plan a Swap Party!

Why do it: Beyond being economical, eco-friendly, and an excuse to clean out your closet, a swap party with friends is far more fun than a yard sale with strangers.

Whom to invite: Friends with similar taste. For a good variety of merchandise, eight people is a manageable number, though anywhere from 3 to 20 is doable.

Be clear about what’s swap-worthy. Ask friends to bring clean goods in gently used condition (that is, no ratty gym shorts or a Scrabble set missing the letter Q). Guests should also come with an extra tote bag for carting home their finds.

Give guests room to spread out their items by clearing off surfaces, such as dining and side tables, and using bins and trunks to serve as display space.

Swap Options: Clothing and Accessories; Books, CDs and DVDs; Howsewares; Toys

If you only have clothes to swap i’ts a good idea to invite people who are roughly in the same size range. And let them know in advance if there is going to be a “fitting room” available or not, so they can come prepared.  A full-length mirror is a must anyhow.

I used to throw some swap meetings in Brazil and my dear friend Clarice named it “escambo” day! So much fun! Escambo is a Portuguese for the economic “metrics” used back in slavery time when cash was not available  and people traded whatever they had.

I once  swapped a pair of jeans with a friend and it fit me perfectly. After a while she told me the pants originally belonged to her sister, which means I had a “3rd hand” piece. Even more perfect! I still have it and I’m sure going to pass it on whenever I put some history into it.

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