Most people who clean out their closets or wish to get rid of college dorm décor have a yard sale or donate to Goodwill. Not the case in many of our city’s apartment buildings, including my own. Instead, a mini, modern-day swap meet occurs.

There are unspoken swapping rules: If there’s something you want to get rid of that may be remotely of value to someone else, put it near the hallway trash chute or in the mailroom. And if you see something you want, take it. In my hallway, over the past few weeks, I have observed a bicycle wheel, a pair of men’s red sneakers, a CD shelving system and broken picture frames, just to name a few. And that’s just in my building. Imagine the gems you could find if you lived in one of those swanky, downtown high rises!

The things people pick up are surprising, and sometimes gross. For example, who out there really needs dusty VHS tapes or a macramé wall hanging? Apparently someone. I am actually guilty of participating in the swap meet myself. Thanks to whoever left the rad cream lamp shades! Oh, and to the proud owner of my old coffeemaker, you’re welcome.

Swapping occurs in other buildings as well. I know this because I’ve been an accomplice, once helping a friend move a semi-functional TV into her mailroom. Someone hit the jackpot that day, minus those lines that obstructed the picture.

So, if you’re looking for the best deal on apartment items, there’s no need to head to Crate and Barrel or Bed Bath & Beyond. Look no further than your building’s nearest trash chute or mailroom. You might be lucky enough to discover such treasures as an embroidered pillow or gimpy toaster. Or even these red sneakers. 

Anyone wear a size 10?

Feel free to share your fantastic or not-so-fantastic swap finds.


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Filed under Chicago, hallway, Swapping

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