Sustainable NE Seattle

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Bartering is a great way to recycle stuff.  But I see a few shortcomings on the way we do it here. 

People can post an item or two here in the Barter Forum, but it is mixed in with other postings about barter fairs, etc.  If they have a whole bunch of stuff, it gets buried in the posting itself and people would have to read the whole post, not just the title.

Barter fairs are limited to who can show up at the date and time, and by what they are willing to drag to the fair site.

What I propose is a sort of barter database, or listing.  One can list anything they have on hand, and add to it as they rumage through their basement or garage.  No need to collect it to bring to a fair, just leave it where it is stored.  Once up on the list, the poster can see if anyone wants it.  If not, just leave it until someone does.   So it forms an online virtual swap meet or barter fair that goes on continuously.

This brings up some interesting possibilities such as three-way bartering or maybe an IOU system where the IOU could be bartered.

One downside is one or two people would have to be in charge of keeping it updated.

For an example of what such a list would look like, go here:

(just keep in mind this was just quick and dirty, and imagine it being many times bigger.)


So does anyone have comments?   Better ideas?   Perhaps this should be a new group?

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This sounds like a good idea on some levels. As you stated, someone (or two) are going to have to keep it updated - are you interested in being one of those people? I would also add though that the other reason for doing barter face-to-face is the social and interactive aspect of trading and bartering. I wouldn't want to stop having our barter fair in October even if we did have this online option. This is very like freecycle and I hear from those monitors, that it can be pretty time consuming once it catches on and folks are trying to get rid of a lot of stuff. Some have discussed starting an alternative economy guild/group here that would further explore things like barter, trade, alternative currencies, investment opportunities that are atypical, that sort of thing. If you want to start such a guild/group, I think you would find others with that interest.

Joann, I see this as working in parallel with the October fair.  Some things can't wait for October.  It may reduce the turnout in October somewhat by keeping some folks home whose primary purpose is trading rather than social gathering.  Keep in mind if they do a trade via the virtual fair, they would still have to interact with the other party to complete the trade. 


I would be willing to start the file and maintain it, but if it got too busy, someone would have to assist.


I would not be interested in an alternative economy group/guild.  That's not a concern of mine.

Seems like this would be worth a try- just have to figure out how to keep the list updated and fresh, and to let people know when new stuff has been added. I guess it would be like a mini freecycle. Can the spreadsheet be updated by anyone, or only the administrator? I don't think making this a group will work- we have the tool share group but it isn't really functional. Maybe a link on the home page to the google spreadsheet, with a description of how the system works, would be good.
Susan, the problem I see with letting anyone make changes is it could be messed up by someone not knowing what they are doing.  The administrator could keep a mailing list of the people with items on that list (or anyone who wants to be on the mailing list) and send a notice out all at one.  For that matter, the sheet could be attached with no need for the "members" to go to Google Doc.  A periodic posting on the Barter Forum could remind other SusNE members that the barter spreadsheet exists, where to find it, how it works, and who the administrator is (thus putting it on the top of the page).  I think if this thing takes off, a new group would make some of this easier for the adminsitrator, but for now we could keep it low key as I just described.

This is a great idea. I wasn't able to make it to the Barter thing the other day, but I'm working on clearing out in preparation for selling my house, and I have gardening tools, and cooking and Fine Gardening magazines that need homes.


Does it need to be as formal as a spreadsheet? If it were a group, people could just put up posts and delete them when the items are gone.

Patti, You could post your items now on the Barter Forum.  But if most people are like me, they don't go there much because there isn't much there currently.


If you like, send me your items and we can have a joint sheet to try out as an experiment to see if people take notice.  You don't have to send it as a spreadsheet, just put tabs in to make columns, that would help me out, like this:


Have/want (tab) category (tab) item (tab)  quantity (tab) comments

Have/want (tab) category (tab) item (tab)  quantity (tab) comments

Have/want (tab) category (tab) item (tab)  quantity (tab) comments

Have/want (tab) category (tab) item (tab)  quantity (tab) comments


Also, a date when the item(s) will no longer be available can be added.


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