Free swaps come in a variety of styles and methods of operation. These answers reflect *our* particular way of doing the Free SWAP.
Do I have to stay with the stuff I brought?
No. Free SWAP volunteers will help you unload your car and add your donations to a communal "store."
Do I have to collect my unclaimed donations?
No. At the conclusion of the event, any remaining donations will be packed up by Free SWAP volunteers and taken to various donation centers.
What do you do with the unclaimed donations?
Free SWAP volunteers categorize the remaining donations for appropriate delivery. Building supplies are donated to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore. Most of the rest of the donations are taken to either Savers thrift store or Deseret Industries thrift store. Cardboard boxes, plastic bags (from patrons' donations), or miscellaneous metals are recycled. On two occasions did we have to dispose of something (used twin mattress, box spring) at the local transfer station (dump).
Can I drop off my donations before the Free SWAP?
Since we are just a couple of volunteers we do not have the storage capacity, cargo space, or manpower to accept donations ahead of time. If you wish to donate but cannot attend the event itself, try to arrange for a friend, neighbor or family member to bring your donations during the SWAP hours.
Do I have to bring something to take something? Do I have to earn so many swap "credits" to "spend?"
No. Just come and shop. If you find something you can use, please give it a good home.
Aren't you afraid that some people are taking stuff to then turn around and sell?
Though we imagine that some of that occurs, we are not concerned. People are invited to donate with no strings attached; that means they cannot dictate how that item is then used/sold. If someone can improve his or her life by selling some of the items found at the SWAP then the SWAP has done its job. For the most part, though, we have found that people honor the overall spirit of the Community Free SWAP.
Are there limitations to what I can donate?
The most basic rule is: anything that can be carried by two people. If it requires special equipment, like a dolly for a refrigerator, we cannot take it. In the past, people have brought paper notices with the items listed and a contact phone number for private arrangement. (Update: please no mattresses/box springs; donation centers will not take them.)
I heard something about food bank donations--do I have to bring food to shop?
No. At earlier Free SWAP events multiple people asked if they could give some money; they insisted that they must give something in exchange. In response to that we set up the food bank collection. Guests are welcome to bring food but NOT required. All food is then donated to the Community Action Services and Food Bank.
How do I volunteer?
We love volunteers! Before the Free SWAP: you can pass the word around via email, social media, printed-out flyer that you post up at work, school, worship community, favorite businesses you patron, etc. We can also use help at events like the Provo Farmers Market the week prior to the September SWAP and other similar events. At the Free SWAP: help set up (starting at 6:30 a.m. for the June SWAP and 7:30 a.m. for the September SWAP), help take and sort donations during the event, help clean up and/or deliver unclaimed donations to area thrift stores. If you have connections to celebrities or people in the media, let's talk [email: desertgreengoddess (at) gmail (dot) com]. We like to diversify promotion of not only this local event, but the overall concept of freely sharing within communities everywhere.
If I volunteer can I still "shop?"
Yes! Volunteers absolutely can claim items for themselves.