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Shwop is your local membership swap shop

Shwop is your local membership swap shop

Shwop is a membership-based swap boutique for the whole family. It is the smart way to shop and swap your unwanted or unused items in your closet, drawers and jewelry boxes. Everyone shops, members swap!

Owner Marci Pelletier is celebrating both the shop’s seventh anniversary and a recent membership drive that reached 1,000 members. Marci is celebrating both highlights on April 20, 2019.

She found the current location in Sellwood in October 2018 after she outgrew a few other places in Portland. The inventory comes from members and takes items for the family, including men’s and kid items too. They don’t care about seasons and if it’s the right time of year (think sweaters in the summer!) like some used clothing stores do. And they aren’t brand or style specific, which also sets them apart from consignment shops.

The website includes a menu of accepted items, including:

  • Clothes – pants, shirts, sweaters

  • Shoes

  • Jewelry

  • Coats, jackets, fleece

  • Exercise attire

  • Belt, scarves, hats

Marci shares shop and volunteer needs through social media and frequent membership communications. There is structure around volunteering for those who have capacity to help and she welcomes volunteers to sort on Mondays, when the store is closed.

She has offered free pop-up stores for schools during conferences and worked with teachers on clothing drives, particularly in outer Southeast Portland. She sees a need to help others who may have fallen on hard times. Twice a year, she hosts free weekends with no questions asked.

She is hosting events, like tie dye and upcycled t-shirt workshops. These are free to members and open to the public for a small fee.

There is recycling, and reuse efforts made for items not sellable or wearable. Some textiles and fabrics find homes through relationships with artists; items like denim, flannel and cashmere that can be upcycled into usable, sellable goods.

Here are several ways to Shwop!

  1. Become a member: Swap to your heart's content.

  2. No-swap shopping: Just stop by and shop.

  3. Donate: Clean your closet of those items you're not wearing, and they'll donate a shopping voucher to others in need.

Curious about this membership-based swap shop? Learn more about Marci from a previous blog post, get your questions answered online or visit the store for yourself!

The Buyerarchy of Needs

The Buyerarchy of Needs

Are you already overwhelmed with stressful holiday errands and overspending? Worried about getting buried in all the packaging?

Consider a new low-waste way to approach the holidays this year that might save you some money and bring you a little more joy. The Buyerarchy of Needs is a visual guide to remind you of your other options besides buying something new.

As you look over your holiday lists, take a creative moment and ask yourself:

Is there something I already have I could use in a new way? Could I borrow or swap to get what I need? Maybe a thrift or resale shop has it? Can I make it?

Intrigued? Resourceful PDX is your local resource for tips and ideas to make simple changes in everyday choices. In fact, the Resourceful PDX map includes community-based organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials rather than throwing away or buying new.

Resolve to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year to save money and resources. Explore the website for more ideas and tips in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Learn how The Buyerarchy of Needs came to be by designer and illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic.

Make room at home and enjoy the holidays more

Make room at home and enjoy the holidays more

By guest blogger Casey Hazlett, Sustainably Organized, Inc.

Enjoy the holidays rather than just survive them: Consider these tips to create a plan.

Tip 1: Determine how much time you need to get ready for the holidays

No matter how much time you think you need – double it! This allows time for the unexpected and a little extra relaxation. Did Rudolph lose a leg? Consider how you can fix it before throwing it out. Make sure things (like gift bags) are stored properly so they can be reused each year. If you are planning to wrap gifts, consider creating a supply bin so you can just grab and wrap.

Bonus: Donate, give away or swap unused décor or supplies (like saved ribbon) that you hold on to but don’t ever seem to use or display. Organizations like SCRAP, Swap Positive or possibly family, friends and neighbors might appreciate them and it helps you clear the clutter.

Tip 2: Move furniture to display your holiday décor

Look at each room you’ll use during the holidays and think about it as an opportunity to declutter and reorganize. If you are moving a piece of furniture to fit more holiday décor in the living room, consider if any items can be donated. Check the Resourceful PDX map for options for resale shops and donation centers.

Tip 3: Plan for overnight guests

Use the guest room for guests, not storage! Consider giving yourself some time to make thoughtful decisions about where the best place is for stuff rather than hiding everything in a spare room or closet. If you still need that table or chair (or still love it!), discover a way to incorporate it into your home. 

Tip 4: Make space for new toys, games and stuff that comes home during the holidays

Now is the time to clear space to make room for the new stuff that’s coming in. What toys are no longer popular? Donate, fix what’s broken, or even consider having a party with friends to trade toys so you don’t have to buy new ones for your kiddos. PDX Toy Library is a local option for donation.

Tip 5: Take inventory of what you already have before heading out to shop

Gift wrap, holiday décor, baking supplies and presents that you’ve been saving to re-gift are just a few categories to check before you head out to shop. You’ll save time and money shopping at home first before heading out to the stores.

Bonus: Clean out the Tupperware drawer to reuse what you already own. If you are hosting a holiday meal and plan to send home leftovers with your guests, this is your chance to clear the clutter where you store durable and reusable items. Make sure you have the sizes you use (or can give away) and every bottom and top have a match. Use tins and baskets you’ve collected or buy used at a secondhand store.

Show your creative spirit this Halloween

Show your creative spirit this Halloween

Clever costumes and Portland seem to go hand-in-hand this time of year. One idea shared with Resourceful PDX was from a mom who created Halloween witch costumes for her two young daughters – out of a 80’s style, black lacy prom dress!

Start planning now for your own Halloween costume, and take advantage of all the great resources Portland offers for making, swapping or renting a costume.

Make a costume

Used clothing and reused craft supply stores allow you to create a unique and inexpensive costume of your own making.

  • Find cool homemade costume ideas online. Pinterest offers a wealth of ideas to inspire you! Explore ways to get crafty, adorn a costume, and make hair wreaths or masks.
  • Find all kinds of fabric and supplies at SCRAP for super low prices and costume ideas on their website.

Reuse a costume

There are great finds lurking throughout the city. Consignment, second hand and thrift stores are great resources for costumes, or clothes to make costumes. They also often have used costumes for sale leading up to Halloween.

  • Vintage clothing shops abound in Portland, with clothing options for all decades.
  • Many children’s resale shops have kids’ costumes as well.
  • Bonus! Chinook Book offers coupons for many Portland area resale shops and the Resourceful PDX map shows Resale Shops too!
  • Or attend or plan a costume swap – your friend’s costume from last year may be perfect for you this year.

Rent a costume

Short on time or crafty abilities to make your own? Renting gives you options for a stand-out costume.


Swap and share your way to savings for the school year ahead

Swap and share your way to savings for the school year ahead

School days are coming! Channel your creativity and resourcefulness to get kids off to a great start. Swap and share items you already have, but no longer need, to keep kids outfitted for activities inside and outside the classroom.

Host a clothing swap

Hosting a clothing swap with friends and neighbors is a fun and easy way to share kids’ clothes, toys, books and sports equipment, and donate anything that’s left. 

A clothing swap involves getting a bunch of people together to exchange clothes and other items you no longer wear, and offering them free of charge to others by swapping them instead. Swap events are a great excuse to get together with friends or meet new people, all while giving your stuff another life and helping everyone save money and avoid buying new.

Swap Positive is a local resource that provides all you need to know about attending, hosting and getting involved with swaps in Portland. There are options for family swaps and those specific to household stuff or clothes of every size.

Center for a New American Dream put together this video about hosting or participating in a clothing swap that can help you plan your own swap!

Find used sports equipment

Don’t forget about sports gear and equipment – items for school and recreation leagues can add to your budget. From cleats to uniforms, there are ways to find used items through swapping, borrowing and purchasing gently used goods through your friends, neighbors or Craigslist.

Join a swap and play space

Join one of the swap and play spaces around Portland to connect with other families with children. Swap and plays offer an opportunity to swap outgrown clothing, toys and gear, share community play space and also connect with other parents and kids in your neighborhood.

Portland swap and play spaces are membership organizations and vary in hours, activities, events and ways to get involved. They are Southside Swap & PlaySt Johns Swapnplay and Woodlawn Swap n Play

Check out other back to school resources in our previous kids in school posts.

Resourceful PDX in the news!

Resourceful PDX in the news!

The new map feature on the Resourceful PDX website, and some of the community partners listed on the map, have made news this week.

The Portland Tribune article "Want to borrow a tool, get some fix-it help, or share your stuff?" features several resources listed on our new map. 

In Portland, dozens of these free or low-cost resources — kitchen shares, toy swaps, tool libraries, bike fix-it-yourself shops and more — are just around the corner, for the taking. To some, they may seem like a secret society, not necessarily easy to find unless you already know someone who participates.

But now, the city has issued an easy-to-use map of 30 to 40 of these resources — a one-stop hub for sustainable living at the neighborhood level — on its Resourceful PDX program site.
— Jennifer Anderson, The Portland Tribune

KGW Channel 8 also featured Resourceful PDX and some of our community partners on their evening news.

The Resourceful PDX map includes community-based, not-for-profit or grassroots organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials.

The resources featured in the news pieces this week are PDX Time Bank, Repair PDX, Kitchen Share, Woodlawn Swap n Play and Know Thy Food Cooperative.

Do you have a community resource to add to the map? Share more resources with us!

To nominate a community-based, not-for-profit or grassroots organization for inclusion in this map, send us a message with relevant details about the organization, such as: name, location, website and contact information, plus a brief description of why it would make a good addition to the Resourceful PDX Map.

Swapping is more than give and take

Swapping is more than give and take

“I think swapping is invaluable to communities,” said Shay Mullins at the Spring Stuff Swap. “You are able to receive things you need and get rid of things that might otherwise be tossed out.”

Swap Positive has been hosting community swaps for 11 years in Portland. Swaps bring together volunteer coordinators, donated venues and swappers who bring clean items in good condition to share, at no cost. Items remaining at the end of a swap are donated.

Shay has lived in Portland for nearly 6 years. She grew up in Southwest Florida going to garage sales and “would dumpster dive after the Ringling School of Art and Design let out, and collect copious amounts of art supplies and other non-garbage items that were thrown away,” she said. “I used to use Freecycle, but here in Portland, the giving atmosphere is different and swaps abound, so I ended up moving into those circles rather than staying with what worked elsewhere.”

Shay has participated in and volunteered for dozens of clothing and ‘stuff’ swaps. She loves the culture of giving at community swaps.

“I participate in clothing swaps a couple times a year and have been coming to each biannual stuff swap for four years now.”

One of her favorite parts about participating at a swap is the possibilities. “I love finding things that I need or that someone I know needs. I actually ask my friends for things that they may need so I can keep an eye out for them at the swap.”

“I also like witnessing someone receive an item that they've been wanting for a long time, or needed but couldn't justify purchasing for whatever reason – that ‘paired up’ moment when someone finds something that they need, want, or love. It's elating!”

Another worthwhile element for her is knowing the items she brings that aren’t taken won’t be sold. 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 be with other kind, generous, thrifty, sustainability-minded people. That is the mission of Swap Positive Free Swaps.

Are you ready to swap? View our event calendar for upcoming events. Or visit Swap Positive's About Swaps page to learn more and get your questions answered on the FAQ page.

Find more stories about swapping in Portland. #sharingcommunity

Swap Positive offers free fashion and frugal fun

Swap Positive offers free fashion and frugal fun

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. 

Categories include

  • Women’s clothing
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Children’s clothing
  • Toys
  • Gifts (or re-gifted ones!)
  • Family clothing swaps for men, women and kids
  • Maternity clothes
  • Stuff

Are you ready to swap? Visit the About Swaps page to learn more and get your questions answers on the FAQ page.

Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge announces 2015 winners

Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge announces 2015 winners

Whether it's a neighborhood garden, a community swap, or a tool lending library, the Center for a New American Dream knows that your block, street, or neighborhood has an exciting project just waiting to come to life. That's why the Center for a New American Dream launched the first-ever Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge in 2013.

One of the 2015 winners includes a project from our neighbors up in Seattle. The project will create a free tool library in the Capitol Hill neighborhood with a workshop space, classes, and fixer’s collective to help build community and reduce consumerism. Read all about the five winners – and think about how you can get involved for the next round of grants.

Portland already has four tool libraries, available to residents of East PortlandNorth PortlandNortheast Portland, and Southeast Portland. In fact, they often partner with Repair PDX to host repair café events in their space, so residents can get items fixed for free.

Drop Resourceful PDX a line to ask questions or share what’s going on in your community and neighborhood. 

Pay it forward in Portland with Rooster

Pay it forward in Portland with Rooster

Rooster is a community of neighbors who share free resources together. It’s about borrowing things you need – and about making connections in your own community.

How it works

Become a member of the online community, then:

  • Ask for whatever you need: Give, get, lend, borrow, share, help or get together with like-minded locals.
  • Help whenever you can: See what neighbors need or have to offer, and help them make it happen.

One rule: Everything’s free, in the spirit of generosity and paying it forward.

How it started (with a Thanksgiving potluck)

When husband and wife Gil and Tali moved into their home in Palo Alto, California, they had few relationships with people in their area, and almost none that could be considered substantial friendships. Simple tasks like borrowing a drill to hang their shelf unit or finding a person who could help them set up their bike rack became frustrating, and they ended up buying tools they weren’t going to use in the long term and paying for professional services that could have easily been achieved with the help of a friendly neighbor.

Rather than spending Thanksgiving alone, they decided to reach out and find other individuals to share a holiday meal together. Over the weekend, Gil coded a mailing list and named it Rooster, with the thought of a rooster in your backyard, calling out to your neighbors. They invited several friends to join and also invite their own friends. The first thing they posted was an invitation to a Thanksgiving potluck, where eight Rooster members they hadn’t met before showed up and had a wonderful time celebrating the holiday and getting acquainted.

Soon enough the mailing list took a life of its own, as Rooster members began borrowing bikes, baseball bats and baby cribs, handing down used baby clothes and furniture and meeting one another to go jogging, fix a bike chain or have a language exchange. There are now 10,000 families who are part of the Rooster movement.

“Kindness amongst strangers is contagious,” says Tali. “By helping a neighbor on Rooster, you’re not only helping a single person, but inspiring a chain reaction of participation, giving and kindness throughout Rooster. You might also discover you’ve made some new friends along the way, as we’ve seen happen so many times before, by simply being there to lend a hand, rely on one another and smile while we do so.”

Rooster is now in Portland

Community-positive organizations all over Portland have joined in kicking off Portland’s pay it forward community on Rooster and are calling all sharing-minded individuals to join in. Learn more about the local organizations and how you can get involved in giving, sharing, helping and reusing as a way of life. Join Portland Rooster.