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Press & Media » Common Ground

One For Me, One For You

Common Ground (Newspaper) - 2/1/2008 by Rachel Kaufman
Swapsites are the new do-good, feel-good sport
By Rachel Kaufman

No matter how well-meaning but misguided, you’d never toss a holiday gift (not even the heinous reindeer coffee mug from the office Secret Santa). And the whole re-gifting thing can be a serious faux pas if you get caught. But that doesn’t mean you should relegate those unmentionables to catching dust in the far corner of your closet.

To get what you really want, log online. For only the cost of shipping, you can trade video games, books, music and even clothing with people all over the world. Instead of having to barter directly with one person — where a successful trade depends on you having exactly what they’re looking for — most online swap sites give you points which can be redeemed for other items down the road. With no fees or commissions to pay, swapping may be the most economical way to breathe new life into your old stuff. And it goes without saying that trading is earth-friendly too: let’s keep the stuff we’ve got circulating instead of investing in something new.

Here are a few of the best places to get your swap on: At just a few months old, Swango is gaining momentum as the web’s clothing swapsite of choice. Free to join, the site’s policy is that buyer and seller go halvsies on shipping. Post ten items, and your first ten trading credits are free — additional credits rack up as your clothes are “bought” by other Swango users. Trade any book — not just paperbacks — with an ISBN for one of 1.5 million available. The site offers printable postage and delivery confirmation, a wish list and lively discussion forums. At BarterBee, trade for music, movies and games. It’s free and hundreds of titles are listed. Choose from 20,000 Xbox, Playstation and Wii games for $1 per swap. It’s free to join and list games, but to request an item, you need to spend points and pay your dollar. At the still-young PoshPoints, swap anything that can be mailed. The site doesn’t have much listed yet, but if it’s true that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, you might get good mileage here. (Recently listed: Three-pack of SpongeBob Squarepants underwear.)

And finally, don’t forget the classic standbys Craigslist ( and Freecycle ( These deal more in local, in-person swaps, but they’re a great way to meet neighbors who want to keep your old stuff out of the landfill as much as you do.
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