Do You Swap?

There's an interesting phenomenon occurring in my apartment building. It seems we've collectively decided to give our neighbors first dibs on our Goodwill piles. Without any discussion or organization, we've begun swapping stuff.

There's a large bureau in the lobby of the building that I've dubbed "no man's land." Residents leave their unwanted items, and it's first come first served. The interesting part is, in my rather antisocial building, I've never seen another person leave their goods. Things appear and I help myself if I'm so inclined, I leave things and they vanish (presumably into a neighbor's apartment). In this one little way, the building is united in a friendly exchange of goods, but it's never been arranged or even acknowledged. We swap magazines, books, home decor and countless other odds and ends, all anonymously.

And it's working — no one's abusing the system. We're clearing our clutter and sharing the wealth. I recently purged my kitchen drawers of all duplicate gadgets and now someone in the building is the new owner of my colander, veggie peeler and cheese grater. I must have created some good trade karma, because a week later, I was running out to buy an extension cord and lo and behold, there was a perfectly coiled 10-footer just waiting for me!

So far, it seems to be a perfect system. I've always operated under the notion that if my donated items are still hanging around after a day or so, I'll drop them at Goodwill, but it's never happened! There seems to be quite a brisk market around here for hand-me-downs, and I'm happy to oblige.

I'm curious, does your building have a swap area? Would you participate?

(Image: Shutterstock)