Home Accessories Swap a Fun, Green Event

You know that one friend you have that leaves a trail of merriment wherever she goes? You know the one who can somehow smile and laugh when she’s stuck for an hour on a stalled subway train?

I just met two of those people.

Decorator Pillows at Home Accessories Swap

Seattle-area Interior Designers Piper Salooga and Sara Eizen have fun with what they do. At their latest Home Accessories Swap they scanned the crowd for toilet brushes, and had their referee whistles at the ready in case of a decorator pillow fight.

Thankfully feathers didn’t fly. “It’s a whirlwind. But, everyone was really good-natured and must have read our rule ‘No Bullies Allowed’,” said Piper.

With their design events series called ReDecor Revolution (formerly Sit + Sip), the design duo shows locals stylish and fun ways to go green.

Home Accessories Swap in Action

The Home Accessories Swap idea came to Sara one day when she was clothes shopping. She thought, “I need clothes and I don’t have much money to spend. I had heard of clothing swaps and wished someone I knew was having one.”

That’s was the lightbulb moment. She zipped off to meet with Piper and said, “Why aren’t we swapping home accessories??” Immediately Piper agreed and they went to work planning their first swap.

In their Seattle design firms, Piper’s Natural Balance and Sara’s Nest, they often show clients how just a few new accessories can freshen up a space. Thing is the pieces don’t have to be new—just new to the client—like what they’d find at a swap.

Home Accessories Swap Display

The swap meshes perfectly with the designers’ green motto: Reduce, Reuse, Restyle. “Rather than dump it, someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure,” said Piper. “And it’s a local event, so people don’t have to drive far.”

“Every level of green makes a difference. Complete sustainability is complex. But once you take that first green step, you feel more comfortable.”

About the swap Sara added, “Besides being green it feels so great to clean out and refresh our spaces and get something to turn us on.”

For their most recent event, about sixty enthusiastic swappers showed up, re-usable shopping bags and laundry baskets in hand. For the first hour, people dropped off their three or more items, and were allowed to preview other’s items and “plot their attack.”

Candles and Vases at Home Accessories Swap

Shoppers queued up and were released to enter the swap in timed rounds, based on the time they first arrived at the swap. The designers draped people with colored Mardi Gras beads for the Red round and the Blue round.

The event ran as smoothly as a pair of silk draperies, thanks to the designers thinking through in advance the logistics, and providing swappers tips and rules, like:

  • Plan beforehand what types of accessories you want, and bring a shopping list to target your hunt.
  • Bring masking tape and a Sharpie to claim larger items you find at the swap

Swappers knew the list of acceptable items:

  • Absolutely: Lamps, vases, table linens, small furniture, rugs.
  • No Way: Exercise equipment, large furniture, electronics, anything broken or damaged, and–ahem–no toilet brushes.
  • There’s more—read the full list here.

The designers were thrilled with the quality of swapping merchandise: “We got a really neat shaker martini set, and someone brought a Persian rug,” said Piper. “We have been so pleasantly surprised — Sara and I are amazed at the varying styles.”

And it was good for business. “I have new client that came from the swap,” said Sara.

Sara Eizen and Piper Salogga

So homes were freshened, landfills left alone, and merriment spread. Surprisingly, one woman found a vase that’s a perfect match for a treasured set of vases she had at home.

And thankfully, not a toilet brush in sight.

Here’s a video News report on the swap.

What do you think of the Home Accessories Swap concept? Do you think you might organize a small-scale swap for your friends and neighbors, or a larger community swap like Piper and Sara did?

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6 Comments for “Home Accessories Swap a Fun, Green Event”

Thanks for covering this Kathy! I love how simple and fun it is to pull the swap off and encourage others to jump on the band wagon — heck you could even do a home accessories swap birthday party… or a toy swap birthday for your kids :).

My Pleasure, Piper!

I adore your idea and would love to try it myself sometime.

Oh — the birthday parties be awesome! I do hope this spurs lots of other swaps.

Keep on designing and spreading joy,

This is a fantastic idea. I absolutely love it and would love to try it in Indianapolis.

Can you tell us what happened to the stuff no one picked up? Was it returned to the original owner? Or did it go off to Goodwill?

Hi Lesley,

I’m so glad you want to try it — I think it’s the kind of thing that can really take off!

I wondered the same thing about the remaining items. Amazingly, Piper and Sara only had less than a car’s trunk-full of stuff left after each swap, that they delivered straight off to the Goodwill.

Thanks for popping in!

This is such a great idea for cleaning, refreshing & recycling. Love it!

Hiya Nancy!

I know. These ladies had the right blend of organization skills and spunk to pull it off well. Makes me want to try this sometime.

Good to see ya!

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