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The best websites for swapping your stuff

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Got a surplus of stuff you don't need but can't be bothered selling? Trading your items on a swap site can be a quick and easy solution.

Woman on phone and clothes rail

Credit: GaudiLab, Lolostock, Nyoman ady sanjaya – Shutterstock

As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. That's not to say you should start rifling through your neighbour's rubbish bins in search of gold... but have you ever thought about swapping your unused items for something a bit more useful?

Swapping stuff online can be a good way of acquiring new things without spending a penny. You may not always get heaps of control over what you get in exchange, but that's part of the fun.

And, better yet, you could end up with something worth way more than the item you started with, helping you save money in the process. Here are the best swap shops to try.

If you'd rather sell your items, check out our guide to selling on eBay.

Top 6 swapping sites

Remember that, although no cash is changing hands when using these sites, bartering is still common.

If you have your heart set on something that the seller isn't willing to part with in exchange for what you have to offer, up your offer. Throw in an extra something else and they may just be convinced.

Here are the five best places to swap items online:

  1. Gumtree Swap Shop

    Gumtree logo

    You might have heard of Gumtree as a place for buying and selling second-hand stuff, but they also have a Swap Shop. Here, you can advertise things you want to exchange for other items.

    Gumtree is pretty well known. They have a large user base and, therefore, lots of swapping opportunities. You can filter by location or postcode to find swaps near you, including everything from cars to phones to trading cards and more.

    Visit Gumtree Swap Shop »


  2. Swapz

    swapz logo

    Swapz states that it's the UK's biggest and most established swapping marketplace. They've been running since 2004 and there are thousands of items available to be swapped.

    It's free to list items. Simply create an ad by selecting a category, adding some images and writing a description. Easy!

    You can also have a look at their 'Wanted' section. Here, people can post ads with specific items they're looking for. The website also has a 'For Sale' page, where you can find items that you can buy instead of swap.

    Visit Swapz »


  3. Depop

    Depop logo

    Depop is one of the quickest and easiest ways to sell your clothes online. Once you've downloaded the app, post items to sell, just as you'd upload an Instagram post.

    While it's primarily used for buying and selling, plenty of people also use it to swap items. Before you approach a seller for a swap (via a direct message) check their bio. Some people explicitly state 'No swaps' – in which case, it's a no-go!

    However, many people will state 'Open to swaps' which is a green light to start bartering. Typically, you'll express an interest in something in their store, and ask them if there's anything in your store they'd be interested in swapping for.

    Once you've haggled and agreed on a fair deal, you should also agree on a price for the items – an amount that you would be happy to receive if you were selling instead of swapping.

    You and the other seller list the items on your stores at this set price, and then buy each other's items, meaning you'll now both be covered by Depop's Protection Programme. This way, you'll essentially get your money back if the item doesn't arrive.

    Just keep in mind that you'll need to pay a payment processing fee (2.9% plus £0.30) and a marketplace fee (up to 5% of the item price plus a fixed amount of up to £1).

    Visit Depop »


  4. Vinted

    Vinted logo

    Swapping on Vinted works in a similar way to Depop.

    Vinted is mostly intended for buying and selling clothes, but it's also got a handy feature for swapping your things.

    When looking through clothes on the site, look out for items with a swap symbol. This means the sellers are willing to swap them.

    To swap clothes on Vinted, get in touch with the other person to agree on which items to swap. You can then both set the same price for your items and 'buy' each other's things.

    You'll get the money back from the other seller so it works out as a swap. But please note – you will have to pay for postage costs and the Buyer Protection Fee (3% – 8%, plus £0.30 – £0.80) for the deal.

    While you're at it, check out our guide to selling on Vinted for tips on maximising your profit when you're unable to swap.

    Visit Vinted »


  5. Freecycle

    Freecycle logo

    Technically this one isn't a swapping website. In fact, it's better than a swap site, because you don't have to part with any of your belongings to get free stuff.

    Freecycle is a website that lets people give things away to others without having to sell them.

    This could include large pieces of furniture that someone doesn't have a car to dispose of. Or, it may be that someone has small things that they don't see as worth their while to put up for sale on sites like eBay.

    What's unique about Freecycle is the fact that you can join local groups to see what's up for grabs in your area. People who live locally to you post what they want to get rid of. If it takes your fancy, message them and arrange to pick it up.

    By using Freecycle, you're not only gaining some cool free things, but you're also reducing your carbon footprint by not allowing unwanted items to end up in a landfill.

    Visit Freecycle »


  6. Craigslist

    craigslist logo

    Craigslist is a classified advertisements website, where you can post pretty much anything – jobs, items for sale, services you have, houses to rent or just topics to discuss. It's a bit of a maze to navigate, but you can find some gems on there if you keep searching.

    Simply upload your item to the 'Barter' section and see what offers you get. Craigslist is much bigger in the US than in the UK, so depending on where you're based, you might struggle to find a large audience for your advert.

    Finding a good trade might take some serious dedication, but if you stick at it, you could make some serious gains. In fact, someone has produced a TED Talk on how they managed to swap a paperclip for a house using the site (gradually swapping his item for something slightly better each time).

    Visit Craigslist »


Why go shopping when you could be swapping? It's a great way to get unique, useful or unusual items for free and could save you some cash.

Hoping to buy fewer new things? Find out how one recent student managed to only buy clothes second-hand.

Laura Brown

WRITTEN BY Laura Brown

Laura Brown, Head of Editorial at Save the Student, is an award-winning writer with expertise in student money. She project manages influential national student surveys and has presented findings to MPs in Westminster. As an expert on student issues, Laura has been quoted by the BBC, the Guardian, Metro and more.
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