It began with a bobby pin.
In May 2020, Demi Skipper offered up a lone hair accessory for trade on Craigslist. Eventually, the trades got bigger, from a small diamond necklace to a car.
It was all part of Skipper’s "Trade Me Project" on TikTok, which ultimately led to her trading her way into a new home. At the end of November, she made her 28th and final exchange: a solar-powered trailer for a house near Nashville, Tennessee.
Skipper, 30, who lives in San Francisco, documented her entire journey on her TikTok account, @Trademeproject, which has amassed about 5 million followers.
“It’s been so surreal,” she said. “Working towards something every day for more than a year and half, and now I wake up and think: ‘Is this actually real? Is this actually my house?’”
Skipper’s mission was modeled after that of Kyle MacDonald, who in 2006 traded a red paper clip all the way to a house.
In her last exchange before the house, followers criticized Skipper for trading three tractors for a Chipotle celebrity card.
Many of her followers deemed it the worst trade she had made — some said it would be unlikely for her to find a potential suitor who wanted the card. As luck would have it, Skipper did find someone.
In May, a woman whom Skipper describes as "Chipotle's biggest fan" emailed her saying she wanted to trade an off-the-grid trailer worth about $40,000 for the card, she said.
It took about six months to settle some issues to get the trailer over the U.S.-Canada border, Skipper said. But last month, she finally made the drive from San Francisco to the border to pick it up.
Late last month, Skipper got a message from a house flipper in Tennessee who had been following her journey and was interested in trading a house for the trailer.
On the day after Thanksgiving, Skipper got the keys to her dream house.
In a TikTok video documenting the big reveal, Skipper runs up to her brand new house and breaks out in tears in her front yard.
"Oh, my God," she says. "I can't believe this. A year and a half of trading a single bobby pin until I get a house, and I've done it.
"And look at it, this just shows you — it's possible!"
Skipper said the response has been "overwhelmingly positive."
"People really have doubted me, and I certainly did at times during the journey, too," she said. "But I learned a lot about myself in the process, and I was really amazed by my ability to stick with it."
What's next? In January, Skipper and her husband plan to move from California to Tennessee to renovate their new home — and go through the entire journey once again.
"I want to donate the next house I trade to a person who needs it, no mortgage, no rental," she said. "There's been a couple of people who have done this once, but no one's crazy enough to do it twice."