Gifts and Household Items

There is a whole subset of the economy that trades gently used goods.  These exchanges happen between individuals or through vintage shops and once you tap into this economy, there are unending possibilities.  Looking for the perfect gift for someone? Do you need a new couch?  Want to trade your magazines for a new book?  Here are some places to check out:

Trading Sites

The internet has been a boon for traders. No longer does this need to be an in-person process. Now people can post the good they have to give away or trade, and others can ask for a good or claim one. There are a number of sites that facilitate this, the most prominent being FreeCycle.  Another site where you can borrow and receive stuff for free is Street Bank

Online Classifieds

While newspaper classified ads still exist, it doesn’t have to cost money to post an ad anymore. There are many online classified sites where you can advertize to buy and sell all manner of things. The most popular examples are,, and locally,

The Local Exchange

The Local Exchange is an online tool that connects people in Waterloo Region and facilitates the buying and selling of local goods and services in a way that values relationship. The website serves as a publicly accessible, dynamic catalogue of goods and services where you may buy and sell with your neighbours the things we make and do.  This community is a great network for getting gifts and household items that are made well by people in our community.

Thrift/Vintage Shops

There are many thrift and vintage shops throughout the community. Some specialize in clothes or books, while others, such as The Working Centre’s Worth a Second Look, specialize in house wares. There are even big box thrift stores which have a general selection of merchandize, such as Value Village and Talize. While thrift shopping may take a little more time and attention to detail to find the right thing, the rewards in the money saved (and diverting materials from landfills) are well worth it.

Creative Crafting

You can also make gifts and household items yourself.  The Green Door Arts Space is set up as a public space for people that want to make things for themselves.  Click the link above to learn more about contact information, times, location and possible craft ideas.   An online search can also provide inspiration and instruction.  Try searching homemade gift ideas, crafting, upcycling or “do it yourself”. 

Appliance Repairs

House of Friendship is able to provide assistance with repairs to major appliances to low-income persons in Waterloo Region. Families receiving social assistance may be eligible for subsidy from the Region of Waterloo Social Services Department for some repairs.  Families that do not meet the Region's requirements for subsidy may also be served by this program and can pay House of Friendship directly for more affordable appliance repairs.  To set up an appointment or for further information please call (519)-742-8327.

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