Online swap shops for unwanted goods

For those of you who don’t remember Multi-coloured Swap Shop it was a Sat­urday morn­ing kid's program with Noël Edmonds, Maggie Philbin, John Craven and Keith "Cheg­gers" Chegwin. The hap­less Keith would be dis­patched to out­side broad­casts in town parks across the country, trying to match up kids who wanted to swap toys. As often as not, it was raining.
It’s easy for the Swap Shop gen­er­a­tion to suc­cumb to misty-​​eyed nos­tal­gia, but the idea of swap­ping vari­ous things is still going strong, par­tic­u­larly online. Here are a few sites that aim to match up people with time, skills or belong­ings to exchange.


Prob­ably the best known com­munity recyc­ling site, Free­cycle star­ted a few years ago in Tucson, Ari­zona, and has spread to 75 coun­tries. Like all good ideas, this one is simple: anyone with a useful item they no longer need can offer it to their local Free­cycle group. Anyone who wants it can have it for free, but they’ll gen­er­ally need to col­lect it. The group says that each day across the world it keeps more than 300 tons of per­fectly good items out of land­fill sites. As the name sug­gests, it’s free to use.


No Cheg­gers, we’re afraid, but this Swap­Shop does a sim­ilar job for people with items small enough to be sent by post. Once you’ve registered, you tell it about all the items you’d like to swap, and it gives each a value in Swap Points. If another member con­tacts you to request one of your items, you stick it in the post. When it arrives with them, Swap­Shop cred­its you with the Swap Points you asked for.

Points don’t make prizes, but they can be exchanged for other users’ items. Using the site is free, but if you don’t have enough points for the Matt Bianco box set you can buy more.
(Originally posted on 18/0182012)

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