This week in 2005, a guy in Montreal had a red paperclip.

This week in 2006, that same guy had traded away the paperclip, and ended up with a house.

This is the story of Kyle MacDonald, who decided back in ‘05 that he was tired of renting and wanted to get his own house, only he wasn’t financially able then to do it in the usual way.

So he came up with a plan B based on an old game called “Bigger and Better.”

He went online and offered to trade a red paperclip to anyone who might offer something a little more valuable, and he said he’d travel to wherever they were to make the swap.

Two people in Vancouver offered him a pen shaped like a fish, which he then gave to someone who gave him a doorknob.

MacDonald traded up, and traded up, and along the way he also got to travel, meet new people, make some friends.

The more he did, the more buzz built up around his quest.

The trades got more and more elaborate: a recording contract, a movie role, the chance to hang out with rock star Alice Cooper.

And almost exactly a year after posting about the red paperclip, MacDonald got an offer from the town of Kipling, Saskatchewan, for a house.

He did live there for a time, but eventually he traded it to restaurateurs who created the Paperclip Cottage Cafe.

You can’t miss it if you’re in Kipling, there’s a big red paperclip out front.

And it all shows that Kyle MacDonald had it right when he said, “when you have a goal, especially a crazy one, people who dig it will step forward and help make it happen.”

Here’s another story of a notable switch, and it’s even got the color red in it!

Over in the UK, some small towns have found a new use for some of their big red phone boxes.

YouTuber Tom Scott found that these communities have turned the boxes into homes for lifesaving automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs.

Don’t try to call anybody on those though.

Paperclip Cottage Cafe (Tourism Saskatchewan)

From paper-clip to house in 14 trades (CBC)

How Small English Towns Are Turning Their Iconic Red Telephone Boxes Into Public Heart Defibrillators (Laughing Squid)

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Photo by Kyle MacDonald via Flickr/Creative Commons