Your own private consignment store
Have stuff you don't use? Here's a fun way not just to declutter but also to get something you WILL use.
If you don't want to have a yard sale, try creating your own private Freecycle Network -- but just for an evening.
Clothes-swapping parties have proved popular during the recession. They're like visiting consignment stores, except that everything is free.
Why not open that concept up a bit to include things like:
- Best-sellers you'll never re-read (a "gotcha" ending doesn't surprise more than once) or DVDs you'll probably never watch again (ditto).
- Clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories that seldom (if ever) get worn.
- Housewares. You thought you'd use that cupcake bakery or sushi mat a lot more than you actually did.
- Outdoors or sports gear.
- General tchotchkes such as vases, figurines, potpourri holders and candles.
Clear your shelves and closets in a single evening of fun. Here's how.
It's pretty simple, really: Just invite friends and/or family over for an afternoon or evening of socializing and swapping. Designate a bedroom or bath as the fitting room, group items by category and let your guests have at it.
That aromatherapy candle from the Secret Santa who didn't know you're allergic to fragrances might be just the thing for a stressed-out pal. The sweater your sister wore once would be completely new to you.
Emphasize that only items in good condition should be brought to the event. A beat-up pair of sandals or a sun-faded blouse should be given a decent burial, not swapped for someone else's like-new wares. (Post continues after video.)
- Don't swap items given to you by someone in attendance. No matter how you frame it, feelings are likely to be hurt.
- Keep track of the original owners of the things you take, lest you gift it back to them next Christmas.
- Set a per-person limit. Otherwise the early birds might snag all the best worms. Knowing that only five items can be chosen will require guests to select more thoughtfully.
Home-popped popcorn is inexpensive and also lends itself to tasty variations like Bombay Popcorn, Dilly Lemon Munch, Black Sesame Mustard Popcorn, Chipotle Lime Snack Mix and Cheesy Popcorn (which is actually vegan, made with nutritional yeast). See "The world's most frugal snack" for recipe links.
Incidentally, a swap is not the same as re-gifting. No one is forced to accept anything. So enjoy an afternoon or evening with friends, then watch your clutter walk out the door in the arms of excited new owners.
More on MSN Money:
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
WHAT IS FRUGAL NATION?
Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.
ABOUT DONNA FREEDMAN
Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
The popular online program lets you earn Amazon cards, PayPal cash and other rewards.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Occupy Wall Street bought and forgave the student loan debt of more than 2,700 Everest College students.