Swappi Sabi - ecoGURU
A fresh new season is here and with it comes an opportunity for rebirth. It’s a chance to cleanse, renew and clear out the chi in the dusty corners of our lives, creating space to breathe in the blessings that too often become buried under ‘stuff’.
In the spirit of Wabi Sabi, we’ve reached out to our friends at Swapsity to share their expert insights on how swapping can help one achieve simplicity.
Stuff, stuff and more stuff!
A whopping 72 per cent of Ontarians confess they are too emotionally attached to their stuff to let it go yet data shows that getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 per cent of housework for the average home. Do we really need all this stuff?
Less is more so why not turn your space into an uncluttered sanctuary instead.
Exposing the clutter:
Look in your closet. Do you have neglected clothing you haven’t worn in the last six months? Check your bookshelf. How many of your books stand untouched? What about your storage space? Is it crammed with cobwebbed boxes with stuff that has never seen the light of day? How many extra TVs, cell phones or other abandoned devices do you own?
Look the truth in the eye:
It’s high time you looked—I mean really looked—at your belongings to determine what no longer fits your lifestyle.
Decluttering is about creating space—space to move, space to breathe, space for a new perspective and, most importantly, space for new opportunities!
There are two essential steps to staying clutter-free:
Step 1: Pare down your stuff to essentials. For some resources, you can refer to www.swapsity.ca/decluttering
Step 2: Once you de-clutter, commit to maintaining a clutter-free lifestyle by embracing sharing and continually letting go of stuff that loses appeal.
Time to spring into action:
#1 Swap or Sell It!
To get de-cluttering, start off by categorizing your stuff into two piles: ‘sell/donate’ and ‘swap’.
One girl’s unwanted dress is another girl’s treasure! Don’t let perfectly good items end up in a landfill. Instead recycle stuff in your ‘swap’ category by hosting a swap party. Swap parties are a fantastic way to let go of your not-so-loved items. Use the “one in, two out” rule to keep yourself clutter-free and only fill your space only with items that fit your lifestyle. For more tips on throwing your own swap, take a look at the swap party guide.
Throughout the year, swapping communities like Swapsity and social enterprises such as The S.W.A.P Team host a variety of swap events in Toronto, Montreal and other Canadian cities. Come on out and participate! For example, on July 16 you can de-clutter your books at an Art Book Swap and on July 21st you can refresh your library at the Live Green Toronto Festival on Yonge-Dundas Square.
What about the stuff in your ‘sell/donate’ category? Why not get together with a few neighbours and host a garage sale. If you still have boxes of items left over, give them away to charity.
#2 Join a Swapping/Sharing Community
Swapping collectives’ rock! They are an inclusive, fun and fabulous resource.
Tap into the large swapping economy by joining a local swapping site. It’s a wonderful way to connect with eco-minded folks and an easy way to de-clutter and share stuff instead of always buying new.
It’s much easier to embrace a lifestyle of mindful consumption if you’re plugged into a kindred community. How can a swapping community like Swapsity help you unleash some of that baggage? Host an online garage sale! Pick up your video camera and give a tour of all the stuff you’re getting rid off of. Add brief on-camera commentary or demo some of the items. Or snap pictures of your pre-loved items and list it on Swapsity. Stuff can be swapped for services or given away for free. If you feel too overwhelmed by spring cleaning, hop over to Swapsity and barter for the services of a professional organizer. Another great habit is lending someone else your rarely used items (e.g. books, tents, tools) to help keep their lives clutter-free. Making swapping part of your lifestyle is great way to recycle and refresh your stuff. Just ask the Barter Babe and she will tell you enthusiastically how much goodness barter can ‘buy’!
# 3 Create a Sharing Group for Your Community
Would you buy all that new stuff y (i.e. potentially future clutter) if someone you knew already owned it? Bring sharing to YOUR neighbourhood!
Gather your friends, colleagues or neighbours and get them sharing stuff. As a community you can share ladders, tools, books, movies, magazines and even carpooling to the grocery store. It prevents you from having to always buy stuff and puts pre-loved items back into circulation. Plus, you'll grow a tight-knit community and make new friends. Think of the impact it will make on your budget and the environment! To get the ball rolling, you can set up a free sharing group through Swapsity Swap Groups or create a Facebook group.
With all that clutter gone, you’ll welcome new energy, clarity and space.
Now, that’s a true Swappi Sabi lifestyle.
Marta Nowinska is a social entrepreneur and the President and Founder of Swapsity, Canada’s leading swapping community. She traded in her Bay Street finance job to live her passion, driving the swapping movement in Canada. Visit her website at http://www.martanowinska.com/