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Neighborhood Outdoor Free Swaps During Covid

parking strip free swap

Many of us are downsizing and de-cluttering. Some because we have the time on our hands and it’s enjoyable, some preparing to move to a smaller place, some because kids/families are growing and we don’t need/fit the items anymore.

At this same time, many of the places we usually drop off our de-cluttering donations are not accepting donations at this time, and indoor Free Swapping activities are mostly on hold. Where can we put all our de-cluttered stuff?

How about a Neighborhood Outdoor Free Swap? For an example, we live in a walkable neighborhood where there is lots of foot traffic. I’ve strung a line between our street trees and have been hanging up clothes I no longer need/use love, with a ‘free’ sign. I also have a large cardboard box in the parking strip with a ‘free’ sign. It’s fun to watch neighbors walk by and look through the goodies, and see the joy on their faces as they take things they can use/repurpose. If you are in a more rural area, having a ‘free neighborhood swap’ might do the same thing by having families bring items they have decluttered to a central location.

My husband and I go on evening walks through our neighborhood. I’ve noticed that more neighbors have started putting out ‘free’ boxes in their parking strips now. Some have hung clothes from the branches of their trees. Others have laid items out on their front lawns with free sign and arrow. It makes walks through the neighborhood feel like a scavenger hunt! It also keeps usable items out of the landfill, and occasionally allows some social distancing neighborhood visits.

Right now it’s beautiful, sunny, warm weather. However, when it gets rainy, cardboard free boxes and clothes hanging in trees won’t work. But this fun activity can last longer if we bring in the items if rain is in the forecast, and put them back out when it’s sunny. As long as neighbors are walking their dogs, walking in the neighborhood, then this will work. When we are in our homes keeping dry and warm will be the time to pack in the idea. Maybe by then there will be a Covid vaccine and we can begin inside free swaps again?

Many of us have appreciated the added free frugal entertainment of Neighborhood Outdoor Free Swaps during this strange time, having something simple we can do together that combines community building, de-cluttering, and treasure hunting fun.

Barb Hughes