Need Home and Garden Help? Try Bartering

Everyone has a talent, something you do well enough to earn money for it. Conversely, everyone has a need for something they aren’t able to get or do for themselves. If you put these two together in an equitable trade, you have bartering. When I lived in the country, I bartered regularly for all sorts of things. I wanted goats, and I had a field that wasn’t being used, so I let a neighbor put his goats in my field and got four goats out of the deal. If you need help with home repairs or garden chores, there are ways to barter with what you have or what you can do.

Find Barters on Online Sites

There is a complete bartering network online, but my favorite place to find trades is the Craigslist barter section, because it’s local and free. I’ve gotten several useful barters on Craigslist.

  • I set up a website for a nursery in exchange for fruit trees, which I then traded for a load of soil.
  • I’ve done a lot of “trading up” as well, where you trade for something small, then trade that up for something better, and keep it up until you get what you want. I started out once trading a book for a ceramic figurine and ended up 5 trades later getting my trees trimmed in exchange for a sofabed.
  • I traded a non-working tiller for two brand new sets of pots and pans.

What Do You Have to Trade?

Even if you don’t have a skill to trade, you can trade for things like babysitting, pet sitting or house cleaning.

  • I traded caring for a neighbor’s dogs while his wife was in the hospital for his repairing my shower and commode.
  • I cleaned up an overgrown and trashy area of a garden center for an expensive plant I wanted.
  • In the reverse, I had a friend who wanted some of my plants who helped me paint my bedroom in exchange.
  • I made custom tags on the computer for a small used furniture store in exchange for a wicker chair.
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I also like to get things from Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) or Craigslist and trade them for something I really want or need. I got 4 nice barstools from Freecycle that I traded for having my house pressure cleaned.

How To Know What’s a Fair Barter

I’ve always felt like a fair barter is one where both sides feel like they are getting what they set out to get. If you start looking at time and dollar signs, it’s going to mess things up. You’re never going to get a totally equal barter, down to the penny, unless you’re changing hourly wage services. If you come up a little short on one deal, you’ll be the winner in another. It all works out in the end.

Patience is a Virtue in Bartering

You may have to wait awhile for someone to come along who has the deal you want. Trading up is something that takes planning. I’ve had someone offer me a service for something I didn’t have, so I set out a plan to get what they wanted by exchanging one thing for another until I had it. There are times when that person will get what they want somewhere else, and you will lose out and be stuck with something you traded up for, but eventually, it will all work out so you get what you need.

Never be afraid to ask if someone will barter for what you need. Mom and Pop businesses are the best places to start.

  • I used to go into the local produce store every afternoon and help her close up in exchange for a box of produce she was going to toss out. We are still friends to this day.
  • I have helped people clean up overgrown areas of their yard for the extra plants. My first barter like that got me $300 worth of expensive bromeliads for a half-day’s work.
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Make a list of what you know you’re good at or what you have to trade and start bartering for home and garden goods and services today. You’ll be glad you did.