Frugal Swap Box

bjornkarger

New Member
As per the suggestion of ylkim30, this is a new thread for the the discussion of a new frugal clothing-exchange system inspired by the tie-swap box. The basic idea is to create a relational database of all boxes/items and an open file (with Google Docs) for checking in / out of the various box lists so that you can have boxes mailed to you as needed. What we need first are some good MySQL database hackers and other web-devel programmers who might be up to the challenge. From a programming perpsective, the program is not more than an intermedia challenge, I'm thinking -- but the level of complexity is going to require some thought as to exactly how the database is going to be created to give it room for expansion and growth.As I said in another thread, the idea is to craft a quick, efficient clothing-exchange network that will increase our wardrobes, open us up to new items/styles and give a great new frugal way to make a huge impact on our personal wardrobes.The relational database with box lots for all particular items and measurements -- eg a 15.5 shirt box, a 32W pant box, a 12C shoe box, trad tie box, etc. I haven't got quite a handle on 'trad' yet to determine whether this is going to be specifically a 'trad' system or if other fashion subgenres would be included or if it's just general menswear; I suspect that the actual style favored by the system will be the one favored by the early adopters, but this is up for discussion. Once the software is streamlined and as expertise and interest demands, adding further granulation and categories is absolutely trivial: so then there can be a 32W 31L pant box, trad repp tie box, 15.5/33 OCBD shirt box, etc. Eventually the dream is to make (say) the 15.5/33 yellow OCBD box, trad repp (red primary) tie box, 12C gunboat box, etc.Everyone who joins enters the items they 'seed' the box(es) with into the database, x number of 'seeds' = y number of active 'borrows' and the whole thing is kept into postal circulation with the idea that no items are truly for an individual's 'keeps' but just for shortterm/longterm borrow from the pool. In this way we can all have a huge wardrobe but almost all of it at any one time is out there in the mails, not in our closets...In fact I think a good tagline for the project might be something along the liens of "Get rid of your closet" or "Your mailbox just became your new walk-in closet"...I'm picturing, too, a specified time limit for each clothing 'borrow' from any of the boxes. But none of this need be rigid: if it turns out you enjoy and use a given pair of chinos (eg), or need a seasonal borrow,there should be a way to extend the loan. There should also be a schedule-support, so that you can (eg) request a particular sport coat for a particular evening or weekend or day. All of this and much more is possible with the right planning and design. What I'm proposing is an 'in the clouds' model for clothing storage, and a general group-tagging clothing supply network, and when taken at the microcommunity level (like here) I think this model could be the wave of the future.
 

TweedyDon

Connoisseur
I'm just not sure how appealing the idea of borrowing clothing will be.... And I speak as someone whose wardrobe is almost exclusively "pre-loved"!
 
Frugality isn't much without simplicity, and this ain't simple.

Clothes themselves, along with people's expectations and use of them, are too individual for me to see this working well. Having access to, say, a box of red repp ties or 36R tweeds to pick from might be fun, but I'd rather build a relationship with my repp ties and my tweeds, rather than jetting them around all across the country, burning lord knows how much gas. I did like the idea behind your previous thread -- figuring out what the minimum is, so that building an individual wardrobe is simplified.

Also, not to condescend, but you'd get the cleverness of your ideas across better with paragraph breaks.
 

Flairball

Super Member
Too many sizing issues for shirts, jackets, and trousers if you ask me. And I'm not talking label size. We take our clothes to a tailor for a reason.
 

adoucett

Super Member
The technical theory behind the idea isn't bad, however in practice I don't see how it could be too cost effective. I think the most "frugal" idea is to just buy (and sell!) things on the trad exchange. Maybe if someone is interested (and well trusted) they could start thrifting "on commission", meaning, say YOU really want a certain item, you can pay them upfront for it if they have a better chance of finding one than you do, lowering the out of pocket venture cost for people looking to pick stuff up for sale on the exchange.

The swap box system works for ties because the sizing is fairly standard, but there must be hundreds of different size combinations when it comes to other clothing articles.
I would be in favor of increasing the prevalence of all items on the exchange, which by definition right now (but not always strictly followed) is supposed to be for trad items.

Once I find something though, I do very much like to take possession of it...I would certainly feel weird packing up part of my wardrobe every week and mailing it off to someone else...

It's an idea that has potential in some ways but mailing about boxes might not be the best way... Maybe put some of those web skills to work and develop a more searchable classified system for the forums where people could search by size or maker, but that's just a thought. I do enjoy to some extent the theory of what you want to do but in a physical sense it doesn't seem to be the most economical platform.
 
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HalfLegend

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Anyone here watch Parks and Rec? Reminds me a bit of Rent-A-Swag, anyhow, I'd love to join in on this! Count me in! (though the OP has a good idea, someone should try to make a well... more easily readable version?)
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
LOL. You fellows are going to create a lot of business for the USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.! Wouldn't you rather be spending that money on actual clothing items? Just a thought. ;)
 

TweedyDon

Connoisseur
LOL. You fellows are going to create a lot of business for the USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.! Wouldn't you rather be spending that money on actual clothing items? Just a thought. ;)

I think eagle's right. The cost of mailing will be significant, and better put to buying things on the Exchange. Not that I have any ulterior motive here....!
 

bjornkarger

New Member
The Exchange appears to be entirely unprecedented in online fora and sales; obviously unmatched by eBay, Etsy, Craigslist etc but also no other equivalent in other clothing fora exists. I'm puzzled as to why no other strata of clothing-style has adopted what the Trad Exchange has pulled off, but perhaps this has more to do with Trad values than other elements ..... in any even, there would be zero competition between the Swap Box System and the Exchange. Zero. As much 'competition' as exists between what's already in someone's closet and the Exchange ... in fact I see the Exchange and the Swap Box System clothing-exchange as being mutually beneficial, inspiring more purchasing & experimentation....What the Swap-Box System is going to do is put a handle on remote storage of group wardrobes. Since everything is indexed & databased, we'll have features such as realtime tracking of shipments, schedule requests, and priority loads.eagle2250, we're working on several aspects here that are going to make shipping costs fairly negligible. This is going to be a drop-shipment system and we can take advantage of parcel, ground, and bulk rates so it will be much more cost effective than (say) having to fit one blazer in a USPS medium-Priority box for ~$11. We obviously need to go much cheaper, but also keep in mind that the boxes are going to be larger. What I need to focus on now are the PHP-hacks to make realtime management possible. Am looking at https://zapier.com/zapbook/google-docs/mysql/
 

bjornkarger

New Member
Also, not to condescend, but you'd get the cleverness of your ideas across better with paragraph breaks.
Not happy about it either but will have to deal with this until the W3C finally adopts my ideas on single-bit spacing for par & breakline code (current standards retain the same single-byte values for every paragraph and linebreak!). With any luck we'll have it in the HTML6 spec. We can hope....
 
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