Organize a clothing swap to save money and share items

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With money tight during tough times it’s important to find ways to save – and share what you have. Why not organize a clothing swap with friends, family and acquaintances?

Here’s how to do it:

Clothing Swap: Location

First, you must choose a location. If you know of a community room or municipal building that is available for use check there. You might check with your church to see about using the fellowship hall or gymnasium. If the weather is nice, you could also go to a local park or host a swap in your driveway. You will need a location with plenty of room for everyone (including parking). In addition, be sure to consider if the location is kid-friendly as many participants may have children with them. You might want to suggest swappers bring things to keep the kids occupied (jump ropes, balls, board games, a few toys).

Clothing Swap: Choose a date

Decide if you want to hold the swap during the day or evening, during the week or on a weekend. Since the majority of swappers will be moms, you will probably have a better response by planning a swap during the week in the daytime.

Clothing Swap: Get the word out

I organized a swap with a number of other homeschooling moms. I am a member of a couple of Yahoo! user groups and I spread the word through these. You could organize a neighborhood or community swap, a church wide swap, a family swap, a friends swap or whatever suits you.

Clothing Swap: What can be swapped

It’s basically the organizer’s choice. The last swap I organized, we swapped clothing, shoes, household items, books, even some plants. You can narrow it down to only swapping kids clothes, or only swapping clothing of a certain season (spring/summer or fall/winter). The main thing to remember is everything must be free. No buying or selling and everyone is responsible for cleaning up whatever they brought.

Clothing Swap: How to set it up

If you are meeting at a church or park with tables available you can plan to set up swap items on tables. Separate and sort like items together.If you are meeting in a yard where there aren’t tables available, you can spread plastic tarps or assorted table cloths on the ground for sorted piles. Hand printed or computer-made signs can be used to indicate the tables or piles.

At the last swap I organized I had swappers separate items onto tables – one for girls clothing, one for boys clothing, one for adult clothing, one for books and magazines and household and miscellaneous items.If you wanted to organize even further you could separate items in sized and sexed groupings (Baby girls, sizes 0-2T, Girls sizes 3T-5T, Girls sizes 6-16, etc.), seasons (Boys fall/winter, boys spring/summer), etc.

Tell all swappers to bring bags or boxes to load up the items they want to take home.At the end of the swap, each swapper is responsible for bagging up and removing the items they brought with them unless prior arrangements have been made. At my last swap, I took everything I had left over to the Goodwill. Several others had the same intentions and two or three of us offered to load up items and drop them off.

You could provide a space (a bathroom or other small room) for trying on clothing if the swap is held at a home, community building or church and a full-length mirror if you have one.

Clothing Swap: How often

If you have enough interest, you can schedule a clothing swap for once a month, once every couple of months, once per season or whenever you feel the need. I prefer to schedule seasonal swaps but could easily switch to monthly swaps. It would basically depend upon the interest of the other swappers.

Holding a clothing swap is a great way to stretch your dollars and share with others, so organize one in your community or with your friends and see how much fun – and savings – it can bring.

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