The gorgeous candlesticks went in a flash. The country accessories? They got left behind. That's how it goes in a "décor swap," such...

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The gorgeous candlesticks went in a flash.

The country accessories? They got left behind.

That’s how it goes in a “décor swap,” such as the one Lindsey DeWitte invited her girlfriends to a few weeks back.

The friends brought things from their homes that they were tired of looking at — or just plain tired of. Picture frames. Christmas ornaments. Artificial floral arrangements. Wine glasses. Even stationery.

They displayed them on DeWitte’s dining-room table in Waldo, Kan., drew numbers, then in turn each chose something they liked.

“We have done a clothes swap before, and it was kind of the same idea,” said DeWitte, an account supervisor for an advertising and public-relations firm.

She borrowed the décor swap idea from a magazine.

Swap tips


Incorporate a décor swap into a regular get-together. Lindsey DeWitte and her friends had a swap during their monthly girls’ night out. You could include one at the next book-club meeting.

Bring only items in good condition. Don’t use this as a way to dump torn or damaged items.

Serve food and drink. This creates a party atmosphere and gives your friends something to do while they check out all the “merchandise.”

Take turns. “We did it in fantasy football style,” DeWitte said. “We went 1 through 10, then in reverse order, 10 through 1.”

Limit the decision-making time. “We tried to time it so that you only had three minutes to make your selection. That’s why everyone needs to window shop when they get there.”

“I had just decorated for the holidays and there were a couple of things I noticed that had stayed at the bottom of the bin, and had stayed there for a couple of years,” she said.

So DeWitte invited her girlfriends over to turn one woman’s trash into another woman’s treasure. “The idea was to trade their holiday or home décor items that they’ve grown tired of in recent years but don’t have the heart to trash,” she said.

It’s particularly useful for people who like to change their decorating themes frequently, she said. “Some people cleaned out their closets. There were some who brought tons of stuff.”

While it might help to invite friends who have similar decorating tastes, that’s not always possible, she said. “And one thing about inviting people who have different taste — you might actually find something for your mom or your sister. I think there were a couple of instances where people said, ‘Well, this isn’t me, but my sister might like it.’ “

DeWitte offered about a dozen items. “I went through a couple Christmas boxes of things I hadn’t been using the last few years. I even had a few things I had purchased that I thought I would give away but hadn’t.”

The friends went through about six rounds of turn-taking before they reached the point where “everyone said they thought they were done or they were passing,” she said. “We were there for three hours, but I would say the swapping itself only took less than an hour.”

After the swap meet, DeWitte and her sister boxed up everything left unclaimed and took it to a Salvation Army thrift store — where it’s bound to become someone else’s treasure again.