No-Spend Shopping: The Housewares Swap

Last week, we went to a clothing swap. The gist was this: A bunch of women got together to eat pizza, drink wine, and trade clothes that we otherwise might have taken to the thrift store or forgotten in the backs of our closets. Everyone got something new to her (even if old and boring to its previous owner) and no one spent a dime.

We thought the idea would work well for housewares, too...

In fact, we brought some red dinner plates we'd been meaning to donate to charity, and we happily gave them up to a friend whose sweater, corduroy pants, and espadrilles we'd already claimed. The whole evening was so fitting in this economy, when we're trying to curtail our shopping.

And while pots, pans, and utensils don't exactly change with the season (or get too small) like clothes, we think the concept would still work well for kitchen items. You've got a juicer you rarely use; your friend is newly into a liquid diet. Someone has an extra set of mixing bowls that don't fit in a new apartment, but she's on the hunt for a pepper mill.

At our clothing swap, we took turns showing off our wares and tossed each item to the first person who said, "Ooh! Me!" Our group was small and very generous; we encouraged each other to try on things, in the same way we might encourage a friend to explore baking in ramekins or use a microplane.

No one was greedy, and we all left with something new and precious that reinvigorated our wardrobe for zero money. How great would it be to experience the same with our cooking?

What do you think? Has anyone else tried this?

Related: Good Question: Can I Recycle or Fix Up Old Knives?

(Image: Flickr member dronir, licensed under Creative Commons)