Swap Positive is your go-to resource for Portland area swaps. A swap involves getting a bunch of people together to exchange clothes and other items you no longer need, and offering them free of charge to others by swapping them instead. Swap Positive Free Swaps are unique because they bring together coordinators who volunteer their time, venues that donate their facility for free and swappers who bring clean items in good condition. In return, swappers find ‘new’ items for themselves or to give as gifts. The remaining items go to organizations and individuals who give them away, in the spirit of sharing. No money ever changes hands. Everyone involved gets to play with other kind, generous, thrifty, sustainability-minded people. That is the mission of Swap Positive Free Swaps.
Barb Hughes, who started Swap Positive, said, “I began free swapping in 2005, starting as a swapper, then a volunteer swap hostess, then founding the Swap Positive Network to help coordinate all the free swaps that were popping up all over town. At each step I’ve enjoyed de-cluttering my home and hunting for treasure with like-minded thrifty kind people.”
She even has a swap philosophy that has evolved over the years and puts fun on the forefront. She now sees that free swaps are helpful to create community and make a positive difference in many ways. Barb’s swap philosophy includes these insights:
- Free Swaps keep usable items in use and allows all people to enter empowered and leave enriched. Most of us have something we aren’t using and with everyone invested in giving, we all participate in free frugal fun.
- Free Swaps allow people to play and friendships to spark. Women especially often spend their time and energy primarily on others. Barb wanted to provide a place where generous women could pamper themselves and play in a safe, fun, environment—while freeing their closets of clutter—meeting like-minded thrifty people and getting ‘new-to-you’ treats all at the same time! Of course, this concept has expanded to generous men, teens and children as well.
- Free Swaps offer businesses and organizations the opportunity to create mutual partnerships to improve the community in tangible ways. For example, People’s Food Co-op allows a free swap in their upstairs meeting room. After the swap, people can conveniently purchase a few needed items, additionally supporting the store. Since swap left overs go to organizations as donations to be given away, people in need receive items to better their lives through various social service agencies, food/clothing pantries and resource centers.
- Free Swaps provide hosts the chance to develop leadership skills in addition to creating connections and contributing to the community. The Swap Positive website has instructions on how to become a swap host, how to start a free swap in the size or category you want and ways to connect with other hosts willing to lend support and advice.
Swap Positive catalogs the swaps based on hosts’ interests—by sizes, locations and categories.
- Women’s clothing
- Children’s clothing
- Gifts (or re-gifted ones!)
- Family clothing swaps for men, women and kids
- Maternity clothes