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Confessions of a Swapper: Carey

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseOct 20, 2021 | 14 comments

Confessions of a Swapper is a series that profiles MSA's top swappers. Want to share your own swapping experiences with the community? Details for how to get in touch are located at the bottom of the page. 

This week in "Confessions of a Swapper," we're going to meet Carey, who's completed over 800 swaps with a 100% positive feedback rating. Most of the swappers I've spoken with so far have talked about the importance of communication, but Carey had some other practical and useful advice to share with would-be swappers. She's figured out a way to save on shipping costs, and she shares her tips at the bottom of the interview. As someone who hates having to pay out of pocket for shipping, I found it really helpful!

Before we zoom on to Carey's interview, let's take a quick look at what the Swaps site is all about.

What is the MSA Swap site?

Image from MSA's Swap site.

The Swaps section of My Subscription Addiction launched way back in 2014, and it's a place where members of the community can exchange items they receive in subscription boxes. If you've ever wanted to get your hands on a subscription box item you missed out on, Swaps is the place to make it happen. Coveting the Teressa Foglia X Curateur "Lynn" Hat you missed in Spring's Curateur box? Looking to add the Library of Flowers Field & Flowers Luminary from Summer's Margot Elena Subscription Box to your candle collection? Swaps provides a platform where you can connect with other members of the community to trade for the items you can't stop thinking about.

To become a swapper, you'll need to sign up for a free MSA account and set up your profile. After you confirm your email address, you can navigate to the Swaps section and join the Swap site waitlist. Once you've been approved, you're ready to start swapping! (FYI-- your MSA profile is for more than just swaps. It's is a great place to keep track of your subscriptions, opt in to brand-specific emails, and create your subscription wishlist.)

You can browse the wide selection of items and request swaps from members of the community who've listed items that catch your eye. They'll then be invited to browse your listed items. Agree on items you'd like to trade? You've got yourself a swap! Each participant ships their half of the trade and provides tracking information. When the swap is complete, both parties submit feedback.

Over 20,000 swaps have been completed, and there are over 4,000 registered swappers. All members of the My Subscription Addiction community are welcome to participate.

Now, without further ado, let's meet Carey!

Confessions of a Swapper: Carey

Lindsey: Carey, thanks so much for being a part of this series! How long have you been swapping on MSA?

Carey: My first swap was on 5/11/2016!

L: How did you discover Swaps?

C: I found the site just browsing online after i signed up for my first sub, IPSY.

L: How frequently do you use Swaps?

C: I've had a record of 14 (!!) going out in one day a few years back, but now I say maybe once or twice a week. Depending on which boxes are just being received it could be higher.

L: What are your 3 favorite swaps you have completed? What made them stand out?

C: This is a hard one! I have 816 swaps under my belt and there were seriously soo soo many that were awesome. One of my very first swaps the other person sent me a very high RV eye cream I had on my favorites list as an extra. I was shocked and it absolutely made my day. While it's not a necessity, adding a small sample or other items is done quite frequently. Some people will wrap each item in tissue paper, and it's like a little gift when you open it!

L: What are the “holy grail” items on your swapping wish list?

C: I've been swapping so long and have been super lucky in that I have acquired most of the Holy Grail items like the Brandon Blackwood backpack, that was a HUGE swap, as well as my pink Rose et Marius tumbler. I would swap most anything for another Massi throw though!

L: When you receive a box, how do you decide which products to keep and which to swap? 

C: I have my own little system! I sort the items out in several categories. DEFINITE keepers, the second string which are items I will get to eventually like skincare, items for my mom (I send her care packages every month FULL of skincare items that she adores), then swap items and finally I have a bin for friends to go through whenever they come over or even mention needing something lol. I found that selling the items was more hassle than it was worth as there are so many listed and the selling prices aren't even close to RV so I tend to stay away from selling.

L: Do you upcycle in other ways?

C: I use packaging from my subscriptions to send out my swaps. I HATE to waste all those envelopes, boxes and sizzle. Just a small thing but it adds up.

L: What's your favorite thing about Swaps?

C: I love that things I will not use get used and/or loved by someone! To throw away the items is disgraceful and you can't always find a place to donate some things. I'll under swap on my end to get an item to someone rather than have it go to waste.

L: What's your favorite subscription? And what do you love about subscriptions?

C: Another tough one, lol. I have subbed to well over 100 different boxes and currently have like 20 so picking a favorite isn't easy. I love my Beauty Heroes, Boxwalla, and Boxy Boxes. FFF is a good gift finding sub, there's always a good holiday gift in each one. Maybe it's just me, but getting a box sent to me and opening it up is a treat! Even if I know what's in it, it's nice to get a gift isn't it?

L: What advice do you have for new swappers who are just getting started? What pieces of swap etiquette should they know? 

C: Everyone keeps saying communication, and they are correct! If there's any delays, you can't find a particular item, any problem with it, or anything at all just reach out. I'd rather you tell me you'll be a week late in shipping than have to wonder. 🙂  Another good note that no one has mentioned is shipping cost! It kills me when a new swapper spends $10 shipping something from the post office when it could have cost $4 using PayPal shipping, which is free. You just log in to PayPal, then type in PayPal.com/shiplabel/create. You can ship up to one pound via First Class mail, while if you go to the post office counter, it's MUCH much more because they make you ship it Priority Mail. Plus you can drop it off anytime.

Thanks so much, Carey, for taking the time to speak with me about Swaps. I really appreciate it!

Now, I want to hear from YOU. Are you an active swapper who'd like to share your swapping stories, tips, and tricks? Get in touch at [email protected].


Have a swap-related story to share? Or a question about Swaps? Drop a note in the comments section below! Eager to start swapping? Sign up here

Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle. 

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I’ve been using paypal shipping for years, but I always have the hardest time figuring out how to get directly to it. It’s easy when you sell something on ebay or wherever since it pops up, but trying to get there on my own from the paypal dash is so hard, thanks for that easy link.

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Thank you for the shipping info. As a new swapper, I’ve been making this mistake…

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If a swapper has sent the package from the P.O. I’ll inform them about cheaper ways. I’ve shown two swappers how to ship online. They had no idea that we can do this.Perhaps MSA could post a tutorial on this subject.

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Great idea! I’ve swapped and shipped a lot but I have no clue how to get cheaper shipping. There are FB swap groups too and I’m like how can you ship so cheap?!

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Stunned there is no response to this . Newer swappers, please be aware that some swappers will bring their oldest listings to the front of their swap list. Making you think it is a new listing, when in fact, it is 4-8 years old. Again , stunned this isn’t being addressed

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I had no idea this was happening, Sarah. My policy is to offer older items, about to expire, free with any swap. I don’t have to throw them away and someone who doesn’t mind can use them. I think it’s a good idea to regularly go to the last pages and check.If we can find an expiration date then it should go on the listing.

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Hiya Sarah!
I agree, there is a HUGE issue with expiration dates over in swaps. I’m lucky that I’ve been around so long I remember that one hand lotion from Popsugar that still gets swapped even now, like 7 years later. This one in aprticular stands out since I was sooo happy to swap for it, but 7 years ago. lol

I think a simple quick fix would be to run a report on the swap item database and pop out the items that are expired per the expiration field. This would make a tiny dent BUT it would weed out hundreds if not thousands in a few clicks.
The second step, which I had sicussed with Liz and Chris a few times was to have someone truly familar with the boxes over the past 8-10 years and could weed out the listings that were for sure expired, like food items from Popsugar and the ones that don’t belong in the first place ie: not from a sub box

Going forward, I think an auto fill field with “date listed” should be added. Again, not a huge programming thing, but absolutely help.
I hope they, MSA, read these comments! lol

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Nicole Tetreau

I am so bummed that people do this. I keep an eye on all of my listed products for expiration and I try to arrange swaps right away when I list items. This way I don’t have anything expired to remove. I also commonly list the box and month it’s from in my product description. Sad that people would knowingly swap product they’ve had listed forever.


Thank you so much for raising this issue! I’ll loop in the team and see if we can come up with a solution to weed out products that should no longer be getting used.


Carey is a good soul. I second the postage comment. It really makes me sad when a new swapper over spends on shipping at the post office. It makes them not want to come back.
But please, would some one address expiration dates? There are active swappers still peddling popsugar skincare from 2016! Not to mention, some boxes ( like Beautyfix) send out older products.I recently opened a beautyfix lip balm that was supposed to be clear, but it was green.
Having been on the receiving end of expired/ unsafe products in swaps, I’m very hesitant to want to swap anymore. I wish this site would address product age.2-3 years is the shelf life of skincare. And if you haven’t been around here a while, you have no way of knowing how old that product is.

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Yes, I have experienced this too. I went to use a product I received in a swap, and upon opening it discovered that it had clearly gone bad and was unusable. It never even occurred to me that someone would swap an expired item (well, without making that clear upfront). No expiration date was provided with the swapper’s listing, but it was very clearly printed on the box (which I checked after discovering it had gone bad) – and as it turns out, it had expired 2 full years prior to our swap.

I sent a message to the person, told them the product was expired (and when) and unusable, that there was nothing that needed to be done, and that I was sure it was an inadvertent oversight, but mentioned it only to suggest they double check on expiration dates going forward. While I truly meant it that nothing needed to be done, I thought I might at least be offered an apology. Nope, nothing. Complete radio silence. That was pretty disappointing (had I done the same thing, I would have been mortified, would have apologized profusely, and would have sent additional items to try to make up for my error.) I had already left my review for the swap so IDK what else I could have done about it. Well, other than decide to not swap with that person again, which I have. Interestingly, it was a swap with a person with a substantial number of swaps, i.e. someone who should be aware of expiration dates and such.

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Thank you, Carey.

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Hi Claire! This was super fun! I feel so important today! lol

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Wallow in it, Carey! It’s part of your self care. I think you are brave as I don’t think I’d dare to appear on MSA.