My Favorite Four-Letter Word Is …

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Susan Dromey Heeter

8th Annual Portsmouth Library Clothing Swap

By Susan Dromey Heeter
Joyful Musings

I muse joyfully this week on one of my favorite four- letter words: Swap.

Last Saturday marked the Portsmouth Public Library’s 8th annual Swap. The rules? Bring a bag of gently used clothes and/or accessories, leave them at the door and then search through those castoffs from other SWAP attendees.

Susan Dromey Heeter

Every year I gather clothes I no longer enjoy from my own closet, grab a coffee and head to this event midspring. I’m never disappointed.

And I love this event, not only because I always meet and laugh with friends, I love that I get to go shopping without a wallet, without an agenda, without sales clerks, without any overhead. And I’m doing something good – all clothes get donated after the sale, most donations enjoy wonderful new homes, go to new venues, celebrate new owners.

Every year, my 17-year-old daughter joins me and remarked this year, “This is my favorite day of the year.”

We laughed as she scored what I consider a horrible 90’s Reebok jacket, what she saw as retro-ly fabulous. She also found a wonderful dress she wore to a formal; thank you, SWAP, for saving me some cash; I adore the re-wear, celebrate that my daughter is fine with someone else’s dress.

The Swap itself is not for the faint of heart; it involves hunting and gathering, searching and massive investigation. There are mountains of clothes piled high, assorted by colors. The coats and dresses are hung separately – jeans, t-shirts, sweaters simply align themselves with their alike hues.

Shoes and accessories enjoy their own locations – scarves hang with bags and jewelry, wallets and hats are close by. I scored a lovely Alex and Ani bracelet this year, the birthstone is May’s emerald. My birthday is in April.

Do I care this does not match up? Not in the least; I’m enjoying my new bling and hope whoever scored my pearl earrings enjoy their find; I’d not worn them for years, I hope they’ve found new, fresh ears to carry them around.

And as I muse joyfully on this Swap, I invite you to organize your own. This is a great way to cleanse, to downsize, to share the wealth of stuff you may no longer wear, no longer find useful or fashionable to your tastes.

In fact, I just suggested this event to Dover High School’s Earth Action Group, perhaps one will be held next year prior to prom season, during the spring, allowing all to share their overflow, their excess – and who knows? Isn’t it lovely to think a landfill may stay empty?

So, do contemplate your own swap, your own way of sharing your goods. And next year do come to the Portsmouth Library Swap – bring your own gently used clothes and enjoy.

Maybe you’ll even find a lovely Alex and Ani bracelet.


Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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